The pleasant South Florida weather means it is possible to head out for a bike ride any time of year, but data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are cause for alarm. Key statistics include:
- There were 783 bicycle riders killed in the US in 2017. Of these, 125 victims were involved in incidents that occurred in Florida.
- In the majority of fatal bicycle accidents, the victim was killed because a driver failed to yield right of way to the bicycle rider.
- Around 20% of bicyclists ride in the opposite direction of motorized vehicle traffic.
With these statistics in mind, you can see that safety is a responsibility of bicyclists just as much as other motorists with whom they share the road. If you were hurt, you should talk to a Miami bicycle accident attorney about your rights. To reduce the likelihood of injuries, some important tips are also useful.
Two Keys to Staying Safe While Bike Riding
A wide range of factors may contribute to bicycle accidents, but you can protect yourself and your family by following two key tips.
#1: Wear Proper Gear
In a survey of bicyclists, more than two-thirds of respondents stated that they did not wear a helmet while riding. This safety gear is critical when you review additional statistics on bike accidents:
- In 1994, 796 bicycle riders were killed in accidents across the US. Just over 97% of them – 776 victims – were not wearing helmets.
- Fast forwarding to 2016, bike crash fatalities slightly increased, but more riders were wearing helmets. That year, 835 riders were killed, 424 of which did not have protective head gear.
- By wearing a helmet during a bicycle ride, you reduce the likelihood of suffering a head injury by 85%. You also lower the risk of serious brain injuries by up to 88%.
- Children who ride without a helmet are 14 times more likely to be killed in a bicycle accident than those who wear one.
#2: Follow All Traffic Laws
Many bicyclists are unaware that Florida’s Rules of the Road also apply to them. Violations of traffic rules and regulations increase the potential for deadly or injury-causing bike accidents. For instance:
- One in five riders travel in the direction opposite of traffic because they want to get a better view of oncoming vehicles. However, this is a violation of Florida’s traffic laws and puts the bicyclist’s life in danger.
- Bicyclist deaths are common where the rider does not yield right-of-way or disobeys traffic signals.
- Just 3% of all bike accident deaths occur in designated bike lanes, so this is the safest place for bicyclists.
Contact a Miami Bicycle Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Rights
While this information may be a helpful reminder about safety, there are threats all around every time you get on your bicycle. If you or a loved one was injured in a bike accident, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA today to set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach. We can explain your rights and legal remedies after reviewing your specific circumstances.
(image courtesy of Andrew Gook)