Thursday, February 4, 2016

Clearwater Bicycle Accidents

The Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan, prepared by The Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of Southern Florida, the 2011 Florida pedestrian fatality rates were nearly double the national average and bicycle fatality rates were nearly triple the national average. Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts reports, Florida had the highest pedestrian fatality rate among all states in 2011, 2.60 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 persons. While the Florida pedestrian fatality rate declined slightly in 2011 compared to 2010, the bicycle fatality rate increased from 0.40 fatalities per 100,000 persons, to 0.63.  Further, Florida represented six percent of the U.S. population in 2011 but accounted for 11 percent of all U.S. pedestrian fatalities and 17.4 percent of all U.S. bicycle fatalities [1].

Between 2007 and 2011, there were 532 bicycle fatality crashes on Florida roads and highways, and 21,935 bicycle injuries. The top ten counties in Florida with the highest number of bicycle fatalities and injuries during this time period were as follows: Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Orange, Duval, Palm Beach, Pasco, Lee, and Alachua. These counties represented 62 percent of bicycle fatalities and injuries in Florida from 2007 through 2011. 

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan suggests that alcohol plays a key role in both pedestrian and bicycle accidents:

“Alcohol impairment is a contributing factor to pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Florida. Based on the Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Reports, the crash rates for Florida residents involving impaired driving, impaired operation of motor vehicles by persons under 34 years of age is a very serious problem.   Further, according to the impaired driving data by county analysis from the FDOT, the total numbers of pedestrian fatalities, injuries, and crashes caused by impaired driving from 2009 to 2011 were 336, 778, and 924, respectively. Alcohol consumption by pedestrians is also recognized as a significant contributor to pedestrian crashes. Based on the Florida DHSMV 2008-2010 data, approximately ten percent of all pedestrians involved in crashes had been impaired. Alcohol consumption by bicycles [2] is also a problem in bicycle crashes according to the 2010 Florida DHSMV data. In 2010, 6.43 percent of all bicycles in crashes had been impaired.”

Bicyclists must take precautions

Spring is almost here making it a good time for bicyclists and pedestrians alike to begin to take extra precautions.  With the warmer weather of spring, there will be even more bicyclists which, in turn, leads to an increase in vehicle versus bicycle accidents.  

Even in a minor collision, the bicyclist is in danger and susceptible to serious harm and injury.

For those who are driving, it is important to know and understand the laws that protect bicyclists:  

·      Right to a lane:  In all fifty states, a bicycle has the right to a full lane on the road and a motor vehicle is not allowed to prevent a bicyclist a full lane. 

·      Sidewalk driving can be dangerous:  Statistically, cycling on the sidewalk is the most dangerous as it involves crossing driveways.  If you are a motor vehicle driver it is important to always double check for bicycles and pedestrians when leaving out a driveway. 

·      Traffic signs:  Bicyclists must observe traffic signs and signals like a motor vehicle. 

·      Florida law:  In the state of Florida, Title XXIII, chapter 316 discusses bicycle law and specifically refers to the requirement that bicycle drivers and passengers under the age of 16 required to wear a helmet [3].

Clearwater Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center [4] provides that in 2013, 4,735 people were killed in pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes, more than 12 people every day of the year.  Additionally, 743 people died in bicycle/motor vehicle accidents every day which is nearly two people every day of the year.  The approximate amount of bicycle/motor vehicle accidents totals 48,000 annually.  These statistics remind us that both the pedestrian/bicyclist as well as the motor vehicle operator must take precautions.   
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to speak to a Clearwater bicycle accident attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900