In a 2019 report, around 850 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents and approximately 50,000 bicyclists suffered injuries in the U.S. The report was based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) 2017 data, according to which 783 bicyclists died in traffic crashes, out of which, 125 bicycle deaths happened in Florida alone. That means bicycle fatalities in Florida made up over 15% of all bicycle deaths in the country.
The number of fatal bicycle accidents in the Sunshine State reached an all-time high in 2021 A recent Fox 4 News survey revealed that Florida is perhaps the deadliest state for cyclists, in comparison to all other U.S. states. The survey found that every day around 18 people get involved in a bicycle crash in Florida, and every two days, a victim dies from his/her injuries in a bike accident.
Highlighting the general riding behaviour of bicyclists, a 2019 AAA survey of 400 bicyclists in Florida depicted the following:
● 36% of bicyclists in Florida do not wear helmets
● 56% of bicyclists in Florida ride in traffic
● 21% of bicyclists in Florida ride against traffic, with three-fourths of them saying that they did so as they preferred seeing approaching automobiles.
Florida Bicycle Accident Fatalities
In the last four years, the number of individuals killed in bicycle crashes in Florida has constantly increased. In 2021, 183 bicycle accident fatalities happened in 6,399 bicycle accident cases, as per a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
For the last few years, Florida has consistently been named one of the worst and riskiest states for bicyclists. According to WFTV 9 News, it is not just bicyclists, but people crossing or walking along the road who are also at risk in the state.
Common Reasons behind Bicycle Crashes in Florida
Careless automobile drivers who don’t want to share the road with bicyclists are usually blamed for bicycle crashes in Florida. However, officials think that a large number of tourists visiting the state and the warm weather around the year also contribute to a whopping number of bicycle crashes in Florida.
Having said that, if you believe the majority of cyclists in the state, bike accidents usually happen because of the reckless or negligent behaviour of drivers on Florida roads. Some particular examples include:
● Distracted or texting drivers, who fail to pay attention and eventually collide with a bicyclist
● Speeding drivers who fail to slow down and avoid hitting a bicyclist
● Drunk drivers or people driving under the influence of a drug
● Drivers who fail to look for bicyclists prior to opening their car’s door (known as a dooring accident)
The harms suffered in a bicycle crash are generally severe, and the consequences may last a lifetime. Sufferers have recourse via the civil justice system, but at-fault drivers are often quick to blame victims, and insurance carriers are widely known to lowball bicycle accident sufferers when it is to settlement offers.
If you were hit by an automobile driver while riding a bicycle, talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Clermont, Florida as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Crash Prevention Tips from NHTSA
Below are some tips to prevent accidents from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
● Prepare yourself before heading out of your home with an appropriately fitted bicycle and all the necessary gear.
● Ride in a Defensive Manner: Be attentive while trying to predict what drivers around you might do. Ride with the traffic flow while obeying all traffic rules and signals. Assume that others are not seeing you, and avoid texting or listening to music while riding on the road.
● Ride Predictably: Try riding in places where other people expect to see you and look over your shoulder prior to taking a turn or changing lanes. Be extra cautious when on sidewalks as automobile drivers might not be able to see you or expect you while backing out of a driveway.
Another reason that makes riding a bicycle in Florida so risky is the huge number of uninsured auto drivers. Over 20% of Florida drivers don’t have auto insurance. This simply means, there is a 1 in 5 chance of not being covered by any insurance for your medical expenses or paying for your losses should you meet with an accident.
Tips for Bicyclists’ Safety in Florida
Here are some tips bicyclists can follow to ensure their safety while riding:
● Obey the Rules of the Road: A large chunk of bicycle-automobile crashes can be prevented if both cyclists and drivers follow traffic rules while keeping an eye out for each other.
● Use a Well-Fitted Helmet: While this is not required by law, everyone, regardless of their age, should wear a helmet while riding. Make sure you have the right size helmet for your head, and that you are wearing it in the correct manner, with perfectly fitted buckles, side straps, and chin straps.
● Adjust Your Bike to Fit: Riding a bike that fits you appropriately may help avoid an accident since a bicycle that is too large can be tougher to control.
● See and Be Seen: During the daytime, wear bright-coloured clothes, and at night, wear reflective gear. Also, place a white light and a red light at the front and back of your bike, respectively. Also, put reflectors on your bike for added safety.
● Avoid Riding During the Nighttime: It can be tougher for an automobile driver to observe you at dawn, dusk, and night. If you are riding at night, make sure you have appropriate reflectors and lights installed on your bicycle.
● Watch Out for Potential Road Hazards: While riding, watch out for broken glass pieces, animals, potholes, puddles, gravel, pedestrians, and palm tree leaves. These hazards may also lead to an accident.
● Use Nonverbal and Verbal Communication: While riding, keep making eye contact with drivers to ensure that they are observing you. Also, use right turn signals, and when you are passing pedestrians, make sure to say “on your right” or “on your left” before you pass. When riding with fellow cyclists, always point out hazards.
● Plan the Route: If you are planning to bike on the road, choose paths with slower speed limits and where traffic is relatively less. Bike paths or lanes are always a great option. Thankfully in Florida, you are allowed to ride on sidewalks.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney to File a Bike Accident Claim
Do not make the mistake of presuming that you will be fairly recompensed for your crash-specific costs if you were struck by an automobile while riding a bicycle. Bicycle accident claims can turn into complicated legal issues in no time. Therefore, it is important that you have expert legal representation by your side in order to protect your rights.
At MANGAL, PLLC – Clermont Personal Injury Law Firm, our highly experienced bicycle accident attorneys will ensure that all your rights are preserved and your bicycle accident claim gets the attention it deserves. We are completely aware of the law and how the legal system functions in Florida. With a solid track record of bringing justice to our clients, we know how to advocate for the recompense they deserve.
Find out how our qualified bicycle accident lawyers can help you. Contact us today to schedule the FREE Initial Consultation with an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Clermont, Florida. Having years of combined legal experience, we would be happy to assist you in your possible legal case.