Personal Injury Attorney Answers: How dangerous is road cycling in Florida?
Riding a bike in any state can be scary, with the potential of a bicycle accident always on the horizon. Many drivers don’t properly share the road, leaving enough space for bicyclists to operate without feeling unsafe. While there has been a huge movement in recent years, with cities adding bike lanes and other safety features to make riding safer, there hasn’t been much of a decrease in accidents and injuries.
Cyclists who ride in the bike lane and cyclists who ride in traffic are still experiencing injury and death at the same rate. These accidents most often occur because of:
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
Statistics on Florida Road Cycling Accidents
According to AAA, Florida has been labeled the most dangerous state in the US for cycling. Out of the 783 cyclists killed in the United States in 2017, 125 of those deaths occurred in Florida.
In the United States, Tampa Bay checks in as the biggest contributor to the problem, followed shortly by Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami before going out of state.
Florida is one of the more deadly states for a variety of reasons, but the leading causes include:
- Failure to wear a helmet (only 36% of Floridians wear a helmet when riding their bike).
- Riding against traffic instead of with traffic (21% of Floridians ride against traffic).
Florida-based cyclists state that they prefer to ride against traffic because they would rather see vehicles coming. This may be because of the bad rep that Florida drivers get, not sharing the road properly.
In more recent years, deaths have gone up, with 843 bicycle fatalities occurring in the United States in 2019. Deaths among bicyclists younger than 20 years old have declined by 90% since 1975, but deaths among bicyclists older than 20 have tripled in the same time.
Common Injuries Sustained by Bicycle Accidents
There are many different types of injuries that cyclists can sustain. Because bicyclists don’t have as much protection as someone in a motor vehicle, their injuries are more likely to be severe. Even wearing a helmet won’t fully protect one from a brain injury.
Neck and Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries are common, especially if the cyclist is hit from the side. A spinal cord injury can occur when the vertebrae and surrounding tissue are damaged. Spinal cord injuries may be lifelong, requiring treatment for an extended period of time after the injury.
Spinal cord injuries are also known to be very expensive because of the treatment they require. They can also greatly affect one’s quality of life, especially if the injury causes paralysis.
Head injuries like concussions are common, especially if the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet at the accident. Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity, causing minor inconvenience up to brain death or coma.
Types of traumatic brain injury include coup/contrecoup injuries, diffuse axonal injuries, concussion, contusion, and anoxic injuries.
Facial injuries are common in bike accidents where the victim is thrown off of their bike. This can cause broken facial bones, damage to the eyes, and more. Facial injuries often require reconstructions and can leave the victim with scars or disfigurement.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue and skin injuries are also common among bicycle accident injuries, especially when the rider is thrown off their bike. Like in motorcycle accidents, bicyclists may experience road rash. Road rash occurs when the victim slides along the asphalt.
The friction causes damage to the skin like a burn would. Road rash often requires a skin graft to heal and may require surgery, depending on how severe the injury.
Soft tissue injuries also include damage to tendons, muscles, and ligaments, such as strains and sprains.
Safety Tips for Florida Bicyclists
While most bicycle accidents occur because of motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists need to participate in bicycle safety. To ensure that you’re riding safely, follow these tips at all times:
- Always ride with traffic and stay as far to the right as possible.
- Ensure that your bike is in good working order before leaving.
- Wear a helmet (even though Florida state laws do not require it).
- Use bike lanes when you can.
- Wear neon or fluorescent colors when biking at night.
- Use proper hand signals when turning.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim For a Florida Bicycle Accident
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, please contact one of our talented attorneys here at Jones Law Group in Tampa Bay, Florida, for assistance filing your lawsuit.
Our attorneys have years of experience working on bicycle accident cases, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us before speaking with any insurance companies, as they may try to trick you into releasing information that could damage your case.
As for the lawsuit, we’ll take care of it, leaving you to relax and recover while we do all of the heavy lifting. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online using our chat box option or by calling us at 727-571-1333.