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Promotion of Florida Bicycle Commuting Raises Safety Concerns

Bicycle commuting could become more commonplace in South Florida, as a Silicon Valley start-up called LimeBike is expanding into Miami, offering yet another means to rent a bicycle during the daily commute. Already home to Citi Bikes, which have become prevalent in the areas of downtown and Miami Beach, Miami is poised to become a cycling destination. Citi Bikes require users to pick up and return the bikes to an existing docking station. LimeBike, meanwhile, offers an app that allows users to look up the location of nearby bikes that aren’t being used, along with an estimated walking distance to get to that bike. Cyclists use the app to unlock the bike and take it, and then drop it off and lock it up when they’re finished. 

The company has about 400 bikes in use so far in Key Biscayne, North Bay Village and Miami Shores and is exploring further expansion, possibly into Broward County as well. The bikes cost $1 an hour (50 cents for students), and monthly memberships are $30 for 100 rides. There are currently 10,000 of the bright lime green bikes in more than a dozen cities across the U.S., opening three to four new markets weekly. They’re being promoted heavily to students, tourists and residents alike.

Still, biking in Florida is not exactly for the faint of heart. As our bicycle accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know, bicycle lanes aren’t common place (though the city’s Complete Streets initiative is hoping to change that). We also know that Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents in the country. 

Nationally, there has been a 64 percent increase in the number of cyclists who commute to work from 2000 to 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The latest traffic safety facts report from that agency on bicyclists is that 818 bicyclists died in 2015 and another 45,000 were injured. This accounts for 2.3 percent of all traffic deaths, but it’s also disproportionate to the number of riders.

Florida reported 150 bicycle fatalities that year, accounting for 5.1 percent of its total traffic deaths. Both figures were higher than any other state (except Vermont, which reported 4 bicyclist deaths, but that comprised 7 percent of its total traffic deaths). When factoring in population, Florida is also highest – with 1 bicyclist death per 1 million people. The national average is 2.5. Bicycle accidents – particularly fatal ones – tend to occur most regularly in urban settings.

The most dangerous cities for cyclists in the U.S. are Orlando/ Kissimmee, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami/ Fort Lauderdale. As reported by the Miami New Times, between 2010 and 2014, 47 bicyclists died across Miami and another 3,600 were injured. During that time frame, the number of cycling deaths in Miami-Dade spiked by 260 percent, while injuries increased 34 percent. That’s partially because there are more riders, but it’s also indicative of the fact that our infrastructure and our driving habits haven’t caught up. Roads are largely dedicated to fast-moving motor vehicle traffic, with a lack of consideration for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Obtaining compensation for bike crash victims in Fort Lauderdale can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Our injury lawyers can help injured cyclists examine the availability of PIP (personal injury protection benefits), bodily injury liability coverage and uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Taking a Bike Could Be as Easy as Grabbing an Uber, Someday, Oct. 27, 2017, By Nancy Dahlberg, The Miami Herald

More Blog Entries:

Fighting Remittitur in Trucking Accident Case, Oct. 24, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer Blog

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