Better Focus on South Florida Cycling Safety Warranted

Officials in NYC may be on the right track in focusing their traffic safety efforts where it counts. According to the New York Post, Mayor de Blasio is pushing NYPD commanders for “zero” traffic fatalities in the big apple. They’re shifting some focus from robberies and shootings to include reckless driving.

After constant grief over the alarmingly high accident rates in their precincts, they’re moving to make a change. Traffic fatalities have replaced homicides, or are running neck and neck, as the top priority.

Our bicycle accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale understand that we need some of the same attention here in South Florida. Unfortunately, we continue to be the most dangerous state in the country for these kinds of accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the state of Florida, there were close to 150 bicyclist fatalities recorded in 2011.

According to Transportation for America, four out of the top five most dangerous metropolitan areas for bicyclists and pedestrians are right here in South Florida. These top four include Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano, Jacksonville, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Orlando/Kissimmee.

Many of these cities have experienced explosive population growth over the last decade or so. Struggling to keep up with increased demand while the Federal and State governments continue to slash infrastructure budgets has led to a boom in highways while bike and foot-friendly development is virtually non-existent.

The study states “these deaths typically are labeled “accidents,” and attributed to error on the part of motorist or pedestrian. In fact, however, an overwhelming proportion share a similar factor: They occurred along roadways that were dangerous by design, streets that were engineered for speeding cars and made little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on a bicycles.”

In part, this transportation study urges citizens to hold states accountable for creating communities that are safe for walking and biking. New streets must be built to be safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, and motorists alike. The most dangerous roads must be retrofitted for safety — which is exactly what we need more of here in the U.S.

Clearly, more work needs to be done to address pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, and you can do your part. If you’re driving, it’s important to be alert and aware, avoid distractions, follow speed limits, and yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians and bicyclists need also to be aware and assume that drivers often do not see them whenever they cross a street.

There is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect, but the law itself is simply a codification of the rules of movement that make all road users predictable to one another.

If you or someone you love has been injured, contact Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:

Broward B-Cycle Rider Safety in Focus, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2014
Bicycle Accidents in South Florida on the Rise, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, December 12, 2013

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