Advocates concerned proposed law could increase risk of South Florida bicycle accidents

Cyclists are urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a law that would require them to remain in unobstructed bicycle lanes whenever possible, the Florida Times Union reported.

Florida bicycle accidents killed 125 riders in 2008, making Florida the deadliest state in the nation for cycling accidents. In fact, 1 in 6 fatal bicycle accidents nationwide occur in Florida. In 2008, 716 bicyclists were killed and 52,000 injured nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

South Florida is among the most dangerous areas in the state. As we reported recently on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, a Cape Coral bicycle accident killed a young boy headed to the park, while a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident injured a 65-year-old man who was struck by a police vehicle.

The proposed law headed to Gov. Crist gives local governments the authority to require bicyclists to remain in bicycle lanes, unless they are littered with glass, debris or other hazards. Cyclists are concerned the law will embolden motorists to act aggressively around cyclists who are not riding in a bike lane.

Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R- Cape Coral, wrote the bill and said cycling groups are overreacting.

The proposed law has a number of other provisions of note to those concerns about traffic safety:

-Allow crash victims to view police reports as soon as they are written.

-Require drivers of vehicles carrying passengers for hire to stop at railroad crossings.

-Permit drivers convicted of a fourth DUI to regain driving rights (current law requires life-time suspension of driving rights for a fourth drunk driving conviction).