Ten year old a recent victim in the most dangerous state for bicyclists, Florida, says Boca bike accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Florida is notorious for frequent accidents involving vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Whether it’s due to poor road design, inattention, distraction or just plain bad driving the state’s bicyclists seem to be second class citizens when it comes to safety. Boca bike accident lawyer Joe Osborne says these accidents are preventable and negligent drivers need to be held accountable.
A recent victim is a ten year old Pensacola girl who was struck and killed by a car while riding her bike, reports the Pensacola News Journal. The girl was using a bike lane last month when the driver of a Ford allegedly failed to see her, didn’t provide her the right-of-way and struck her, causing fatal injuries. She was airlifted from the scene to a hospital, where she died. According to the newspaper criminal charges are pending against the driver, a 47 year old Pensacola resident.
While the girl’s family grieves her loss, the carnage continues on Florida’s roads. A 2015 report issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Florida has the country’s worst rate of bicycling deaths (0.57 per 100,000 people) more than twice the nationwide rate (0.23 per 100,000).
The CDC also found that while many other states have sharply reduced bicyclists’ deaths over the last 30 years, Florida has barely made a dent, cutting the number by less than 10%. Only Wyoming is doing a worse job.
Nationwide bicyclist safety is getting better. The number of deaths per 100,000 people decreased 44% during the two time periods measured, from 1975 to 1979 and 2008 to 2012. The sharpest decrease was for children younger than 15. Despite this good news bicyclists die on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel is only about 1% percent of all trips for all types of transportation.
The Florida Department of Transportation and the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research put out a plan to address cyclist safety in 2013. It stated solving the problem boiled down to engineering, education and enforcement.
- Roads are not engineered and speed limits were not created to accommodate cyclists and their safe travel. The report suggested widening bike lanes from four to seven feet. In the long term the plan suggests roadways be engineered to match their location where the busier the area, the more narrow the vehicle lanes and the slower the speed. With lower speeds, the easier it is for drivers to make the right decisions in busier areas with more cyclists.
- Education and enforcement may address many Floridians’ attitude that they don’t need to share the road with bicyclists. Under state law bicyclists have a right to use roads as much as those driving vehicles.
Plans for a safer future are great but right now bicyclists face a dangerous present. If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a bicycling accident involving a driver or dangerous road conditions, contact Boca bike accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.