Many of us leave our bicycles behind the day we pass our driving test;
we "graduate" from two wheels to four and never look back. We
should reconsider. Bicycling can be a cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly
transportation option or a healthy, calorie-blasting hobby. Sadly, the
viability of the bicycle as an alternative to the car is hampered by the
threat of bicycle accidents. At The Pittman Firm, we believe in making
the roads safe for all travelers, whether they use four wheels, two wheels,
or two feet. We are proud to serve as a law firm for bicycle riders in
Panama City and to represent injured riders and the families of riders
killed in Northwest Florida bicycle accidents.
A Reminder of the Reality of Cyclist vs. Driver Crashes
An article in the Tampa Bay Times captures the danger facing riders throughout
the state. A fellow rider refers to the moment an SUV struck the 56 year
old victim in Pasco County as "the most horrifying thing I ever saw."
The impact left the cyclist unconscious and struggling to breathe with
a broken back and broken neck. Even more shocking is the moment that followed,
when the driver slowed long enough to see that the rider was seriously
hurt and then stepped on the gas and continued on his/her journey.
The Most Recent NHTSA Cyclist Stats
While the picture painted in the Tampa paper is particularly disturbing,
the accident is far from an isolated event. This year the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") published its annual
overview of Traffic Safety Facts on Bicyclists and Other Cyclists using
data from 2012. The NHTSA found that 726 cyclists (the term "cyclists"
includes riders of non-motorized vehicles powered solely by pedals and
includes bicycle, tricycle, and unicycle riders) died as a result of motor
vehicle crashes in 2012, a 6% increase over the previous year and making
2012 the deadliest year for cyclists since 2006. An additional 49,000
cyclists suffered injuries due to motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012.
The "Average" Fatality - Age 43, Male, and a Floridian?
Who are the riders killed in motor vehicle accidents? They are overwhelmingly
male; 88% of riders killed and 80% of riders injured due to a motor vehicle
collision are men. The average age of these cyclist victims has been on
the rise for the past decade. In 2012, the average age for injured cyclists
was 32 and the average age for rider fatalities was 43. Interestingly,
the population group with the highest fatality rate is the 45 to 54 year
age range but the highest injury rate falls in the 10 to 15 year range.
Sadly, being in Florida appears to be another risk factor. Florida had
the second-highest number of cyclist fatalities in motor vehicle crashes
during 2012 with 122 deaths, only 2 fewer fatalities than occurred in
California. However, since our population is substantially lower than
California's, Florida holds the "top" spot as the state
with the highest rider fatality rate per million residents.
Representing Cyclists in Northwest Florida
Our temperate climate and beach culture probably means Florida has more
cyclists than most other states, but the fatality rate is still a "first
place" distinction we'd rather not hold. The presence of more
cyclists means drivers should be more aware and more alert for pedal-powered
travelers. Too many drivers are not only inconsiderate, they are also
endangering riders due to their negligent driving.
If you or a loved one was riding a bicycle in Northwest Florida and a negligent
driver caused a collision that left you injured or killed your love one,
call our Panama City bicycle riders' attorney. Experienced injury
attorney Wes Pittman can help you recover compensation and send a message
that drivers will be held accountable for failing to share the road.
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