The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that nine bicyclists have been killed in the area in recent months.
Bicycle accidents in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton are a common danger through the winter months. As most of the rest of the country puts the bicycles away for the winter, the risk of a bicycle accident in South Florida actually increases with the increasing number of bicycles on the road. Tourists, winter residents and year-around residents all take to the bike trails to enjoy the cool breezes and mild temperatures of winter in South Florida.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Florida is the most dangerous state in the nation when it comes to bicycle accidents. In 2008, a total of 125 fatal Florida bicycle accidents were reported, compared to 109 in California, which was the only other state in the nation to report more than 100 deaths. Texas reported the third-highest number of bicycle fatalities, with 53 people killed.
Nationwide, more than 1 in 7 fatal bicycle accidents occurred in Florida. A total of 716 riders were killed in 2008 and 52,000 were injured. And, as cycling’s popularity has increased for recreation and fitness, so has the number of older riders, particularly men, who are seriously injured or killed in accidents.
In the latest Tampa accident, a 64-year-old rider was struck and killed by a Jeep on U.S. 41 — becoming the 9th bicycle fatality in Tampa in little more than three months. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the rider did not have lights and was not wearing a helmet.
The bicyclist was struck from behind and pushed into a power pole. The other riders killed recently have ranged in age from 30 to 52 and all but one has been male.
Safe Florida bicycling tips are available here.