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).