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What can be done to protect bicyclists in Florida?

Bicycling is a great way to get around. It is inexpensive, healthy and good for the environment. Unfortunately, those who choose to ride a bike in Florida are putting their lives on the line, as this state is the most dangerous for bicyclists.

This article points out some of the more troubling statistics when it comes to bicyclist safety in Florida. Among them are the fact that Florida has the highest death rate per capita for bicyclists and that last year, the rate of fatal bicycle crashes increased after decreasing the year before. Considering how big of a problem this is in this state, we must ask ourselves what can be done to prevent cycling accidents?

There is no one answer or solution to this problem. There are many things that need to -- and should -- happen to prevent bicycling accidents. 

Steps drivers can take

Motorists have perhaps the greatest opportunity to prevent bike accidents. They can do this by:

  • Educating themselves on the laws regarding sharing the road with cyclists
  • Giving riders plenty of room (at least three feet) when passing
  • Putting down phones and other distractions and focusing on driving
  • Obeying speed limits and traffic signals

Steps riders can take

Riders should take as many precautions as possible to stay safe and make it easy for others to see them. This includes:

  • Using reflective clothing and appropriate lighting
  • Complying with traffic laws regarding bicycling
  • Refraining from wearing headphones to stay alert
  • Wearing helmets and other safety gear 

Steps others can take

Local organizations and governments can also improve rider safety in Florida. While they may be very difficult to put in place, these measures have great potential in protecting riders. They include:

  • Adopting protected bikeways
  • Improving education for motorists
  • Installing better lighting along streets
  • Enforcing and adopting traffic laws to penalize reckless drivers and protect riders

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work we can do to protect cyclists in Florida. Unless and until that happens, riders are still in serious danger of being in a bicycle accident. Should this occur, there is nothing that anyone can do to undo the damage. However, victims and their families can examine the legal remedies that may be available to help them recover.

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