Florida Bicycle Injury Reduction Goal of Safe Streets Initiative

A bicyclist who was paralyzed after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in Fort Lauderdale shortly before Christmas has died of his injuries.
Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle injury lawyers understand the 53-year-old victim had been on his way to work when he was hit by a car. The cyclist landed on the back window. Rather than stop, the driver allegedly drove two miles home before dumping the cyclist behind a garbage bin in the parking lot of his apartment complex.

That a person could be so heartless is tough to comprehend. That it happened in the first place – perhaps not so unbelievable, particularly considering Florida is the worst state in the country in terms of bicyclist safety.

Crashes like this are the reason behind theS. 2004 initiative, which seeks to implement more safety features for cyclists and pedestrians in new transportation infrastructure.

The 250-page benchmarking study released by the National Alliance for Biking and Walking indicated that Florida was the most dangerous place for cyclists (with a pedalcyclist fatality rate of 6.56 per 1 million people, versus the national average of 2.17 per 1 million people). Southern states in general had horrendous bicycle and pedestrian safety records.

Also ranked in the bottom 10: Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina. These states are more dangerous by a wide margin.

It’s not just that we tend to have more people on bicycles because of the nicer weather. The rate of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries is extremely high. We have a major hit-and-run problem, but there is also a lot to suggest that traffic infrastructure is part of the problem.

Our cities and streetscapes have been designed with the motor vehicle – and little else – in mind. This has historically meant that those traveling by any other type of transportation did so at their own risk. Look around, and you will find on many of Florida’s thoroughfares a lack of sidewalks, narrow shoulders, few crosswalks, high speed limits and no median islands.

Lawmakers are now trying to change that with the introduction of the Safe Streets Act of 2014, also known as S. 2004. If passed, this measure would within two years of passage make it mandatory for all federally-funded transportation projects to be modeled in the “Complete Streets” fashion. This model requires that traffic engineers design roads that reflect the needs and safety of all users – not just those behind the wheel of a car.

Currently, the state of Florida allocates one half of one percent of its transportation budget to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including bike paths, wider shoulders. crosswalks, etc.

Meanwhile, bicycle safety advocates believe the best way to improve safety is to increase the number of riders – the reasoning being that there is safety in numbers and lawmakers are more likely to take action. But it’s difficult to encourage people to take up cycling when it’s already so dangerous.

Perhaps by improving traffic safety infrastructure, more people will be encouraged to ride.

Call Fort Lauderdale injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:
Cyclist Paralyzed in Fort Lauderdale Crash Dies of Injuries, Feb. 24, 2014, Staff Report, NBC Miami
S.2004 – Safe Streets Act of 2014, Congress.gov
More Blog Entries:
Broward, Miami-Dade Most Dangerous for Bicycles, Feb. 25, 2014, Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Injury lawyer Blog

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