Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as vehicle drivers, but they do not have the same protection in a crash. Vehicles also frequently do not treat them with the same caution and respect that they give to other motorists.
Perhaps this is part of the reason that the state has a reputation for dangerous roadways when it comes to bicyclists. However, bike safety should be a concern for everyone in the state.
Florida leads the nation in biking fatalities
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, there were 857 bicyclists who died in crashes in all 50 states put together. Florida bicycle accidents alone accounted for almost 19% of that total with 161 fatalities. Most of the accidents involved either a passenger car or light truck.
Data shows that early evening is the most dangerous time for Florida bicyclists to ride on roadways. Also, urban areas see a greater number of bike fatalities than rural areas.
Biker education increases safety for riders
The NHTSA publishes educational information on best practices for bike safety. The information stresses the importance of wearing a properly fitting helmet. It also states that a rider should make sure his or her bike is in good condition and is not too big or small.
Because motorists often overlook what they do not expect to see, bicyclists should make themselves stand out with bright or contrasting clothing, reflective tape and bicycle lights.
Florida can be a great place for bikers, but as long as there are careless drivers causing crashes, cyclists continue to have higher levels of risk.