Florida Leads Nation in Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycling provides a fun way to keep fit for people of all ages. It is also a convenient and cost effective way of running errands or going to and from work and school, and is easy on the environment. While just about anyone can learn how to ride a bike with a little practice, you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious personal injuries due to collisions with motor vehicles. Florida has one of the highest rates of bicycle accident injuries of anywhere in the nation. The following offers important information about the potential risks, along with ways you can keep yourself safe.
Florida Bicycle Accidents
According to traffic crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 45,000 people suffer injuries as the result of bicycle accidents each year in the U.S. For more than 800 of these victims, their injuries end up proving fatal. In terms of bicyclist fatalities, NHTSA traffic figures rank us as the highest in the nation. With 150 reported bicyclist deaths, this number is 20 percent higher than in higher California, and more than double the neighboring states of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana combined.
The lack of protection bicyclists have in the face of accidents with motor vehicles accounts for the serious nature of these injuries. Many of these accidents occur due to reckless driving behavior on the part of drivers, such as the following:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Running red lights and stop signs;
- Disregarding crosswalk laws;
- Distracted driving, such as using cellphones and texting;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Preventing Bicycle Accidents and Injuries
Reckless behaviors on the part of bicyclists can also make accidents more likely to occur. This includes riding a bike after drinking or while taking medications, being distracted by playing music through earbuds or cellphones, and failing to obey traffic signals.
Head injuries are among the most common and potentially severe types of bicycle accident injuries, and wearing an approved bicycle safety helmet when riding offers invaluable protection. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that when helmets are properly worn, they can reduce the risk of bicycle fatalities by nearly 50 percent. Other safety tips the NSC recommends bicyclists follow include:
- Be familiar with traffic laws concerning bicycle riding;
- In addition to wearing a helmet, make sure you wear the proper shoes when riding;
- Wear light colored, bright clothing to increase visibility;
- When riding at night, make sure your bike is equipped with head and tail lights;
- Learn bicycle hand signals, and use them when riding in traffic.
In the event an accident occurs, notify local law enforcement and get medical attention, regardless of the severity of your injuries. To find out how you can hold reckless drivers responsible for the damages you suffer, call or contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III online request a free consultation with our Fort Pierce personal injury attorney today.