Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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A fast-traveling pickup truck recently hit and killed a high school-aged bicyclist, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. After the accident, the teen was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition, according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). He later died from injuries sustained during the accident.

The accident happened on a road that posted a 55 mph speed limit for motorists. The road also had no shoulder or sidewalk available for bicyclists or pedestrians. It’s merely a four-lane highway that’s divided by a tree-lined grassy median.

Bicycle accidents in West Palm. Parkland and Wellington have once again landed Florida at the top of the list for most dangerous states for bicycles, according to Transportation For America.
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Our bicycle accident lawyers in Royal Palm Beach and Pahokee understand that four metropolitan areas in the state of Florida were ranked as the most dangerous areas for bicyclists. We understand that our bicycle riders face so many dangers in our area because so much of the state has been constructed to accommodate the automobile and fast-moving traffic with little regard to on foot and two-wheeled travelers.

The teen bicycle accident is still being investigated. A FHP spokesman says that he was unable to confirm whether or not the teen’s bicycle was equipped with a light. In the state of Florida, law requires riders to use lights on their bicycle when riding after dark. He was also reported to not be wearing a helmet, which is a law in Florida for all riders under the age of 16.

“It’s sad that these deaths and accidents are happening right now. It’s just
all about being aware of your surroundings, letting drivers know what you’re doing. A lot
of motorists feel like we as cyclists are intruding on their territory, but state law says that
we’re entitled to the road as well,” said Christine Prokosch, president of the Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club.

According to 2008 statistics, more than 17 percent of bicyclists who were killed in traffic-related accidents were killed on Florida roadways. Florida only carries about 6 percent of the country’s population, according to USA Today.

Florida has been ranked in the top three for most dangerous states in the country for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities every year since 2001.

Factors contributing to fatal bicycle accidents in Florida:

-Population growth: Florida has nearly seven times as many people now than it did in 1950. The population has increased from less than 3 million to nearly 19 million.

-Tourists: In 2010, more than 80 million people make Florida their vacation spot.

-Weather: Since Florida has beautiful weather year round, more bicyclists and pedestrians can be found traveling outside taking advantage of our climate.

-Driver behavior: Drivers oftentimes disregard the presence of these travelers. Driver awareness may be one of the most effective ways to reduce the number of these accidents.
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The inflated gas prices the last few months have motorists considering whether biking is a more viable option when it comes to commuting to and from work and in and around the city streets and roadways.

The expense of bicycling is much more cost efficient but there are other things to consider, like the risk of being involved in a bicycle accident in West Palm Beach. Injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can often be severe or even fatal so our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys want to remind cyclists to use caution when opting to bicycle to work.
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May is Bicycle Safety Awareness month so in order to increase awareness, Florida Today reported about the recent promotion of National Bike to Work day where commuters swapped from four wheels to two.

League of American Bicyclists, an enthusiasts group based in Washington, D.C, urged workers to get a free ride to work by bicycling instead of driving to both, enhance public health and save money in the family budget.
In 2008, approximately 800,000 people opted to bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. Today, bicyclists represent .5 percent of commuters sharing U.S. roadways. Improving safety would likely get people to bike more, especially with gas prices on the rise and no clear outlook of them every getting back to what they were.

Florida is no stranger to the danger involved with bicycling accidents as our state lead the nation in the number of fatalities reported in 2008 as we posted previously on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog. Florida reported a total of 125 bicyclist fatalities in 2008 which was significantly higher than any other state.

Naples News recently reported that improving safety with the addition of bike lanes will lead more people to cycling as a means of transportation. Naples contains over 200 miles of bike lanes throughout the city which makes it easier for bicyclist to get away from vehicles and maintain a safer ride. The reasons for opting to bike to work rather than drive are plentiful and many online resources offer assistance in motivating this effort. These resources include:

-Counting how many calories you burn during your commute at Livestrong.com.

-Counting how much money you saved on gas at commutebybike.com.

-Calculate how much carbon dioxide you freed the atmosphere of at Metro.net.

No matter what your motivation is, the following are tips to keep in mind while bicycling to work:

-Pick a safe route with less traffic congestion or cycle to work during non-peak rush hour traffic.
-Make riding fun by picking a scenic route or finding a friend to ride with to work.

-Ride a bike that is comfortable, fits your size and height, and properly maintained with air in the tires and reflectors properly located on the bike.

-Keep a set of clothes at work to wear so all you need to tote is a small bag while you are biking.

Motorists and bicyclists are reminded to share the roadways in order to reduce the risk of bicycle accidents in Florida by being cautious and aware of each other on the roadways.
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Florida leads the nation in fatal bicycle accidents, according to the most recent statistics by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers frequently report about the dangers that cyclists face when traveling on roadways in South Florida. A solution needs to be found in order to keep bicycle accidents in West Palm Beach and elsewhere from occurring so frequently.
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One possible solution, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, is to create separate bike-only lanes. A recent study showed that cyclists utilizing separate bike-only paths, away from the flow of traffic, have fewer accidents than bikers riding right next to motor vehicles on roadways.

In fact, the injury rate was 28% lower when comparing the two scenarios. It is not suggested that there is no risk of injury since one key element is making sure the bike tracks have well-designed intersections with green and red signals that determine which traffic has the right to proceed.

In 2009, the NHTSA reported a total of 630 cyclist fatalities in the United States. This equated to about 2% of all traffic fatalities for the year. There were another 51,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes for that year. In 2009, 70% of bicyclist fatalities happened in urban areas, 67% occurred at non-intersections, and 72% of fatal bicycle accidents occurred from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. It was reported that 87% of cyclist fatalities were male in 2009.

Florida averaged approximately 2 cyclist deaths per week in 2009, reporting a total of 107 fatalities for the year. This equated to approximately 4.2% of all traffic fatalities in the state. The fatality rate per million population in Florida was 5.77 which was second in the nation only to Delaware whose population is 2.5 times less than Florida.

Based on the statistics, American cyclists have reason to fear riding alongside traffic on roadways. Cyclist fatalities are often adult males because women, children, and senior citizens are too afraid. Other countries have established separate bike lanes removed from traffic lanes, unlike the U.S. where a painted stripe on pavement indicates where a biker is supposed to ride next to motor vehicles.

For instance, the Netherlands has about 18,000 miles of separate bike tracks established compared to the U.S. which only has about 20 miles of similar bike-only paths in the entire nation.

Many cyclists use their bike as a mode of transportation to get to and from work. In a time when gas prices are skyrocketing, I think more Americans would choose to bicycle rather than drive their motor vehicle if they felt it was safe to do so. The recent study indicated, when given the choice, bikers were 2.5 times more likely to use a separate bike only path than to ride alongside motor vehicles in traffic.

We are still a long way away from implementing separate bike-only paths for cyclists to use. Motorists must respect a rider’s rights to the road.
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Florida has the unfortunate distinction of reporting more fatal bicycle accidents each year than anywhere else in America. With Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade consistently reporting more accidents than anywhere else in the state, the winter tourist season is a dangerous time for bicycle accidents in Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.

The Palm Beach Post recently reported that Segway rentals are also becoming more popular with tourists and can lead to Segway accidents. Whether Segways or bicycles, riders are at increased risk during the busy winter tourism season.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 716 riders were killed in bicycle accidents in 2008 and more than 53,000 were injured. About 1 in 6 of those accidents occurred in Florida, where bicycle accidents claimed 125 lives. California was the only other state that reported more than 100 deaths, with 109 fatal bicycle accidents.

Last year, 8,000 children were among the more than 50,000 injured.

Safe Florida bicycling tips include:

-Wear a helmet

-Make sure your bicycle fits you properly and is well-maintained

-Learn and follow the rules of the road

-Be predictable — act like the driver of a vehicle

-Be visible

-Drive with care and share the road.

-Stay focused and stay alert

Download a safe cycling brochure here.
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Car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, according to the latest information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our West Palm Beach injury lawyers know there are many reasons for these tragic accidents, including lack of proper seat belts, safety seats and booster seats, speeding, distracted driving and even, tragically, accidents involving drunk drivers.
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Buckle up your kids…it makes a difference. In an effort to save lives, child safety seats or seat belts should be used at all times when traveling in passenger vehicles with children accompanying you. The Florida Highway Patrol requires any child under age 18 to be secured while traveling in a passenger vehicle.

The NHTSA reports infants who are secured in safety seats can reduce the risk of fatality or serious injury by 71 percent. In addition, toddlers who are secured can reduce risk by 54 percent.

In 2009, approximately 309 children avoided fatal injuries due to the fact they were restrained by child safety seats or seat belts. Reports also show in 2009, children under the age of 14 accounted for 4 percent of the fatal accidents in the United States.

Other findings of the new report:

-Florida car accidents claimed the lives of 110 passengers under the age of 4 from 2005-2009

-42 fatalities occurred in Florida for unrestrained children riding in a passenger vehicle

-Estimated 90 lives were saved because of child restraints and safety seat belts in the state of Florida.

-244 kids under the age of 14 were killed in pedestrian accidents last year.

-74 children were killed in bicycle accidents in 2009.
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As we mentioned in an earlier post to our South Florida Injury Lawyers blog, 2009 was a banner year for safe driving across the country. The number of people killed in fatal car accidents dropped to its lowest since 1950, reaching almost a 10 percent decline in car accidents fatalities compared to 2008. Motorists injured in car accidents are down as well.

In fact, across the board, riding in or driving a vehicle – four wheeled or two wheeled, motorized or not – even walking on or near roadways in the U.S. is the safest it has ever been, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. In Florida alone, the number of fatal Florida car accidents has dropped more than anywhere else in the country, reporting 422 fewer fatalities in 2009 than in 2008. Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Georgia also saw more than 200 fewer fatalities. Overall, just 9 states saw the number of fatal car accidents go up.
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However, Florida remains one of the nation’s three deadliest states, along with Texas and California. And motorists are more at risk of a serious or fatal car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami than anywhere else in the state.

Throw alcohol into the mix, and again, numbers are down in 33 states and Puerto Rico. Fatal car accidents in which alcohol played a factor declined by 7.4 percent, claiming 10,839 lives in 2009 – 872 fewer than in 2008.

Among the findings:
Total Traffic Fatalities: 33,808 — down 9.7 percent from 37,423
Passenger Vehicles: 23,382 — down 8.2 percent from 25,462
Large Trucks: 503 — down 26 percent from 682
Motorcycles: 4,462 — down 16 percent from 5,312
Pedestrians: 4,092 — down 7.3 percent from 4,414
Bicyclists: 150 — down 12 percent from 188


Injuries were also down across the board:

Total Injuries: 2.217 million — down 5.5 percent from 2.346 million
Passenger Vehicles: 1.976 million — down 4.6 percent from 2.072 million
Large Trucks: 17,000 — down 26 percent from 23,000
Motorcycles: 90,000 — down 6.3 percent from 96,000
Pedestrians: 59,000 — down 14 percent from 69,000
Bicyclists: 51,000 — down 1.9 percent from 52,000
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