Every time you get on a bicycle and ride alongside vehicle traffic, you put yourself at risk. However, it turns out if you live in Florida, the risk is much higher than in other states. Florida leads the nation in bicycle-related deaths with 6.7 fatalities per million residents. There’s no telling how many people sustain injuries as a result of a bicycle accident on the road.
The state of Florida enjoys beautiful weather most of the year. It’s no surprise people enjoy riding bikes to get around or for exercise. But why is Florida such a dangerous place to ride? If you’re a biker, understanding the potential dangers is a great way to avoid injury. Let’s go over why The Sunshine State poses such a threat and what you can do to protect yourself.
Reasons for the High Fatality Rate
Cyclists are extremely vulnerable on the road. A bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle is much more likely to result in serious injury or death. This risk goes up when distracted driving is involved. Unfortunately, Florida is much more lenient when it comes to texting and driving. While lawmakers are trying to strengthen regulations, right now drivers must be pulled over for a secondary offense to be cited for using their phones while driving. This has led to more distracted driving, which puts bicyclists at risk.
Another reason for the high fatality rate is due to the number of elderly drivers on the road. Florida has the highest population of people over 65. This means more motorists with slower reaction times. In addition, Florida has a huge tourist industry. While this is great for the state’s economy, it results in more drivers who are unfamiliar with the roads and the driving behaviors of Florida motorists.
Protecting Yourself While Cycling
Yes, Florida is more dangerous for cyclists than other states. However, there are plenty of precautions you can take to avoid injury. When riding in traffic, it’s best to take a “defensive cycling” approach. Some tips for safe riding include:
- Remain alert – Many bicycle accidents occur because a driver fails to see a cyclist. To protect yourself, you need to always pay attention to other cars. Make sure you acknowledge brake lights, turn signals, and drivers pulling out of parking spots.
- Always use hand signals – Alerting drivers of your intentions is a great way to avoid accidents. It’s imperative to learn and use the correct bicyclist hand signals. These will tell motorist which way you’re about to turn so they can yield.
- Safety gear – Every time you ride in traffic, you need to wear proper safety gear. In a bike accident, a helmet could mean the difference between a minor injury and extensive head trauma. In addition, you should always wear bright, reflective clothing. While biking at night, make sure you use lights to alert motorists of your presence.
- Stay in bike lanes – If there’s a bike lane on the road you’re riding on, use it. Bike lanes put some distance between you and other vehicles.
Contact a Daytona Beach Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to the carelessness of a driver, you have a right to seek compensation for medical bills. It’s important you work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate the details of the accident and fight for a proper settlement. Contact Zimmet & Zimmet at (386) 255-6400 to set up a free consultation.