In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Florida led the US in bicycle accidents. Although the numbers of bicycle accident fatalities in the state has been dropping slowly since 1991, the state still sees many such accidents and according to at least one Florida newspaper, twenty percent of traffic fatalities in five Florida countries (Broward County, Indian River County, Martin County, Palm Beach County, and St. Lucie County) in 2009 were attributed to pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
There are many things that cause Florida car accidents involving bicyclists. One problem is that there are many motorists and many bicycle enthusiasts in Florida, which means two very different types of vehicles sharing the road. Some counties have been trying to build more bicycle-only paths and lanes to keep bicyclists and cars apart. In May 2011, for example, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties proposed a new trail for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-car traffic.
The summer is an especially dangerous time for Florida bicycle accidents. More cyclists take the opportunity to head outside and more tourists can mean more car traffic in Florida, as well. Vacations and time away from work also mean more chances for people to hop into their cars or on their bikes, meaning more traffic. Luckily, we can all work together to prevent Florida car accidents and bike accidents this summer.
Bicyclists can help by riding safe. That means riding on bicycle trails or bike lanes where possible. When no such options are available, it is safest for bicyclists to ride with the flow of traffic on the far right, closest to the right hand side of the street. Bicyclists can also wear reflective clothing, maintain good eye contact with drivers around them, and use hand signals to ensure that drivers are aware of their intended direction.
Motorists can help by staying alert for bicyclists. In many car accidents involving passenger cars, motorists claim that they simply did not see a bicyclist in time. Stay alert when passing popular areas for bicyclists and never drive in the bicycle lane. Give bicyclists plenty of room and become familiar with the hand signals that bicyclists to indicate turns.
Both bicyclists and motorists can avoid traffic accidents by driving sober and alert. While motorists tend to be the focus of awareness campaigns, both bicyclists and motorists are dangerous on the road when driving under the influence or when driving tired. Both on a bike and in a car, you need good response times and a good focus. If you are tired or intoxicated, take a cab or get a friend to drive you safely home.