Florida Cities Becoming Bike Friendly – Helmet Usage Key to Safety

bicycleIn Florida bicycling is a year-round activity. Usage varies widely from people communing to work, children riding to school, racers on training rides (racing, touring, triathlons) and more. Whether for health, exercise, fun, recreation or commuting, bicycle usage is on the rise.

Unfortunately, Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the nation for cycling, accounting for 1 in every 6 cycling deaths nationwide. Florida had 2,978 traffic fatalities in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and 125 were bicyclists. Nationwide, 716 bicyclists died in 2008, and 52,000 more suffered a cycling accident-related injury.

Common causes of bicycle accidents are vehicles that don’t share the roadways, distracted drivers and unsafe conditions or premises, such as an uneven sidewalk, poor roadways, and unmarked curbs or crosswalks. Some cycling accidents are also caused by defective equipment – helmets, handle bars, seat posts, etc.

Many communities like Boca Raton, Weston and others are committed to promoting and encouraging bicycling. These communities strive to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists () as a “Bicycle Friendly Community.” These bike friendly communities have been widening bike lanes, posting signage and creating miles of bike lanes/paved shoulders and trails. Cities across the United States are also implementing bike sharing programs.

While approximately 800 deaths and more than half a million emergency room visits related to bicycling occur in the United States each year; head injuries account for about two-thirds of hospitalizations and three-fourths of deaths, according to Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.  He says that helmets would prevent about 85 percent of head injuries.

Bicycle laws vary by state. In Florida, by law, a bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet. Remember to always wear your bike helmet, avoid distractions, maintain safe speeds and always obey traffic signals and rules of the road.

If you have or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a bicycle accident due to a negligent driver, a distracted driver or defective product, let us help you seek justice. Contact the attorneys of Farmer, Jaffe Weissing today.