According to §316.2065, Fl. Stat., a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle, and as such cyclists must follow all the traffic laws, signs, and controls on public roads. Cyclists have the same privileges and rights as other drivers, and they also have the same responsibilities.
Despite these laws, drivers in Florida show a general disregard for cyclists which puts their safety at risk. Whether it’s the aggressive driver, the distracted driver, the speeder, or the angry driver, one thing unites all of them: a disdain for bicyclists.
Faulty Assumptions about Cyclists
One reason for this general disregard may be the misbelief that cyclists don’t obey traffic laws and that, therefore, most bicycle crashes are caused by negligent bike riders. However, the data show the exact opposite: Negligent and distracted drivers cause most bicycle crashes.
According to a 2018 report by the NHSTA, people tend to have a number of other misconceptions about the who, what, where, and why bicycle accidents happen.
The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes has risen from 41 in 2009 to 47 in 2018, with the largest number of fatalities coming from the 55–59 age group. Men make up a disproportionate number (86%) of those killed and injured in bicycle accidents across all age groups. The population-based fatality rate was 7 times higher for males than for females, and the injury rate was 5 times higher.
Light trucks (including SUVs, pickups, and vans) were the most common vehicles involved in fatal bicycle crashes (45%). Passenger cars also accounted for a high number of fatal accidents (37%). Both light trucks and passenger cars overwhelmingly struck the bicyclists with the front of the vehicle.
As is probably expected, the majority (79%) of bicycle accident fatalities occur in denser urban areas. However, two-way streets, three-lane roads, and narrow shoulders were much more dangerous than intersections. Only 29% of bicycle accident fatalities occurred at intersections, while 71% of fatalities happened at locations that were not intersections.
One might assume that many more bike accident fatalities would occur at night than during the day. Yet the rates are roughly the same: 50% of cycling accident fatalities happened during the dark and 46% happened during daylight hours.
Recovering from Your Injuries
If you have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident here in South Florida, you need to seek out an experienced Florida accident and injury attorney who will guide you through the claims process. The insurance company will have attorneys and insurance adjusters on their side to protect their interests—so should you.
The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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