An 11-year-old South Florida boy was struck and killed while riding on his bicycle about a mile from his North Fort Myers home recently. The driver of the pickup truck that hit the boy reportedly did not see him, as the stretch of road is not illuminated and the boy’s bike was not equipped with reflectors. The boy was also reportedly riding on the wrong side of the road. He’d been working at a friend’s yard sale all day to help his parents buy his baby sister’s formula.
Fatal bicycle accidents in Florida – and across the country – are on the rise, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reports that in 2015, there were 13 million total crashes – 6.3 million of those reported to the police, 1.7 million resulting in injury and 32,200 of those being fatal (with a total of 2.44 million injuries and 35,100 deaths). It was the most dramatic increase in traffic fatalities in more than a decade. A major part of it had to do with an uptick in bicycle and pedestrian accidents, which are both at the highest in 20 years.
While the overall increase in traffic fatalities was up 7.2 percent, the number of pedestrian deaths was up by 9.5 percent and bicyclist deaths had increased by 12.2 percent. Meanwhile, passenger deaths were up by 5.7 percent and large truck occupant deaths were up by 1.7 percent.
Specifically with regard to pedestrian accidents, that 9.5 percent increase represents the highest number of deaths in that category since 1996. More than two-thirds of those occurred in urban areas. Most occurred at non-intersections and most were at night. Seven in 10 pedestrians killed were males, most between the ages of 50- and 54-years-old.
With regard to bicycle accident fatalities, that 12.2 percent increase amounted to the highest number of bicyclist deaths since 1995. Here again, most occurred in urban areas and at non-intersections, though they occurred equally in daylight and the dark.
Back in 2006, the average age of bicyclists killed in fatal crashes was 41-years-old. Now, it’s 45, which is an indicator of the fact that people are becoming more active as they get older, and bicycling is better on the knees than running. Eighty-five percent of those killed in bike accidents in 2015 were male.
Bicycling accidents correlated strongly with warmer average monthly temperatures. The warmer it got, the more bicycle fatalities there were.
And whereas bicycle and pedestrian accidents comprised 13 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2006, they made up 18 percent in 2015. That means almost 1 in every 5 people killed in a traffic crash is either on foot or on a bike.
As far as the cost of these incidents, we know that the total economic impact for all crashes is $242 billion, while the society harm (which takes into account pain and suffering, loss of life, etc.) is calculated to be at $836 billion. If we consider that bicycle and pedestrian accidents account for 18 percent of that, we can estimate that these types of accidents cost us $44 billion in economic costs and $150 billion in societal harm.
Our bicycle accident attorneys seek to help families recover financially to some degree. It can never bring back a loved one lost, but it can help with financial stability and accountability.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7777 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
North Fort Myers boy dies after being hit by vehicle, Nov. 28, 2016, By Gabrielle Shirley, NBC-2
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Davis v. Baez – School Bus Driver Liability for Student Injury, Dec. 9, 2016, West Palm Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog