Bicycling is a year-round activity in Florida as cyclists can take to the road to enjoy the weather, exercise, or commute to work. However, with greater exposure to vehicle drivers, bicyclists are more likely to become involved in an accident, even though vehicle drivers are legally required to share the road with cyclists.
Bike Accidents in Florida
Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s statistics on bicycle accidents, Florida is considered the most dangerous state for cyclists. The bicycle fatality rates were greatest in the Sunshine State with cyclists making up 5.1% of all traffic fatalities.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, bicycle crashes, fatal and non-fatal, increased between 2014 and 2015. In 2015, more than 6,600 cyclists were injured in bicycle accidents.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released their findings on bicycle fatalities between 1975 and 2012. Florida had the highest cyclist mortality rate and the 2nd lowest percent decrease during that period, with cyclist fatalities only falling by 9.7%.
However, in 2015, Broward County cycling accidents decreased by 4.5%. Despite the decrease, thousands of cyclists were still injured in motor vehicle wrecks.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Although drivers are supposed to drive alongside cyclists, it’s common to see near-miss accidents between motorists and cyclists. Both motorists and cyclists must learn to share the road in order to prevent an accident. Some of the most common causes of a bike accident include:
- Right turn across the bicyclist’s lane
- The motorist turned left on a non-dedicated left-turn intersection
- Cyclist or motorist failed to stop
- A vehicle or cyclist passed on the right
About 7% of all bicycle accidents occur at intersections. Others also occur due to negligent behaviors, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
Another common type of bike accident is when a cyclist is “doored.” This means a driver or passenger opened the door in the cyclist’s path, causing the rider to crash into it.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Similar to motorcycle accidents, many cyclists will suffer serious, life-changing injuries after an accident. Even the smallest collision can cause a cyclist to be thrown off their bicycle and onto the hard concrete of a road or sidewalk. Even with safety gear, like a helmet and pads, cyclists can endure various injuries, including:
- Head trauma
- Broken bones
- Internal organ injuries (e.g. ruptured spleen, renal bruising, traumatic hernia, etc.)
- Road rash
- Dental fractures
Head injuries occur most frequently in cycling accidents, accounting for 47% of injuries and 60% of bicycle-related fatalities.