Blog » 2015 » February » Don't Let "Just Going for a Bike Ride" Be the Last Thing You Ever Do

Don't Let "Just Going for a Bike Ride" Be the Last Thing You Ever Do

Fitness, convenience, affordability, environmentally-friendly transportation – all common reasons for people to choose riding a bicycle. What many don’t realize is that that choice comes packaged along with the high risk of involvement in a serious accident. Cyclists must share the streets with cars and trucks, the parks with joggers and other cyclists, and even dedicated "bike lanes" are often occupied by pedestrians. Far too many people these days are distracted – by music, phone calls, texts, etc., -- and inattention leads to accidents.

Bikes and Motor Vehicles

Here in Florida, the problem is especially significant.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), between 2007 and 2011, there were 532 fatal bicycle crashes on Florida roads and 21,935 injuries to bicyclists. The top 10 counties in Florida with the highest number of bicycle fatalities and injuries during this 5-year period were: Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Orange, Duval, Palm Beach, Pasco, Lee, and Alachua. These counties represented 62 percent of bicycle fatalities and injuries during that time.

Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2011 that although our state represented 6 percent of the country's population, we accounted for 17.4 percent of all bicycle fatalities. When compared to 2010, the 2011 bicycle fatality rate increased from 0.40 fatalities per 100,000 persons to 0.63, which is triple the national average.

In response to this burgeoning crisis, the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida prepared a strategic safety plan in 2013 aimed at reducing the rate of fatalities, injuries, and crashes of bicyclists. Areas for emphasis were identified as:

  • Data, Analysis, and Evaluation
  • Driver Education and Licensing
  • Highway and Traffic Engineering
  • Law Enforcement and Emergency Services
  • Communication Program
  • Outreach Program
  • Legislation, Regulation, and Policy

If you wish to know more about each area's goals, you may read the plan here.

Bikes and Pedestrians

Multi-use spaces like parks actually may be more dangerous for bike riders than city streets. In 2009, the University of British Columbia examined infrastructure types and crashes and found that multi-use spaces (those that mixed pedestrian and bike paths) posed the highest risk for cyclists.

A recent high-profile accident in a multi-use park involved Irish musician and U2 lead singer, Bono. While riding in Central Park in New York City, he was in a "high-energy bicycle accident [that involved an attempt] to avoid another rider." Although Bono says he blames himself fully for the accident, the issue of fault does not negate the seriousness of his injuries – loss of consciousness, an arm broken in six places, a fractured eye socket, a fractured hand, and a fractured shoulder blade. He now has a titanium elbow and fears he "may never play the guitar again." Clearly, an automobile is not a prerequisite for causing serious bike injuries.

Bikes and Us

Bicyclists are vulnerable road users due to their small size, limited visibility, and lack of protection in a crash. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, even if you think it's your fault, or if you have any questions about this topic, contact us by calling 305.643.3100 or filling out a free case evaluation form.

For more than 40 years, the Miami injury attorneys at Stabinski and Funt, P.A. have been helping Florida bicyclists hurt in collisions. We have recovered over $500 million for our clients who have endured personal injury or property damage because of someone else's reckless behavior. We understand that your situation is unique to you, and we pledge personal, confidential, and competent service.

DISCLAIMER: The information about past verdicts and settlements is based on the unique facts of each case. Every case is different, and future cases may not achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect the gross recovery (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).

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