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Cycling is an activity that is beneficial both to humans and the environment. However, some are still skeptical of shifting from riding an UBER to cycling their way to work and school. This is not surprising as not every place in the United States is a bike-friendly area.
Riding a bike indeed promotes physical health. It has been proven to enhance one’s posture and lessen symptoms of stress and anxiety. Regular cycling also improves cardiovascular health, and it is a great exercise to add on your workout if you’re trying to lose weight. However, engaging in this activity also means you’re making yourself prone to vehicular accidents. Since crashes are more deadly to cyclists and motorbike riders, many people are still unsure if cycling is indeed the right choice.
Florida’s weather is suitable for bikers, and with its panoramic views of the sea and nature, it is the perfect place to cycle and exercise. However, the toll of bicycle fatalities and injuries in the state is intensely alarming. There are indeed other states where bike accidents occur, but it is disturbing that Florida takes the lead in cyclist fatalities in the country.
Florida: How Unsafe It Is For Cyclists
Cycling accidents are an unfortunate trend in Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded that there had been 125 cyclist fatalities in the state in 2017. It has continued in 2018, where NHTSA recorded 6,586 bike accidents, which resulted in 148 deaths.
In 2019, Florida once again topped the list of the deadliest states for bicyclists in the US. In 2019’s first quarter alone, there have been over 1,695 accidents related to a bike that has been recorded with over 40 deaths. Florida tops the list once again as over 179 bike accidents and two recorded fatalities occurred in its Broward County alone.
If you are wondering why these incidents have occurred, below are the reasons why Florida consistently become dangerous for cyclists:
Lack of Designated Bike Lanes
Bikers are pretty much harmless on the streets, and the damage they can do to another vehicle is minimal though bikers are more exposed to dangers if some motorists become careless.
Florida is not very bike-friendly as cyclists have to share the road with motor vehicles. The problem starts with the lack of designated bike lanes in the state, and it highly contributes to the accident toll related to cycling. But even if this is the case, Florida has great weather, friendly communities, buzzing tourism, and amazing views that consistently attract cyclists.
With the increase of bikers because of tourists visiting the state, the chances of accidents also rises as bikers ride their way together with fast-moving cars and trucks on the road.
Irresponsible And Drunk Driving
Bikers are mostly unnoticed in Florida since there are no significant actions done by the state to increase the awareness of motorists on the number of bikers roaming their cities. Irresponsible driving is the other major cause of fatal accidents among bikers. Most accidents are usually caused by drunk and distracted driving, road rages, over speeding, and unawareness of bikers’ presence on the road.
Florida is noted for locals’ drug issues and substance abuse that can sometimes cause some motor vehicle drivers to lose composure and focus on the road, which can result in the death of cyclists.
How to Make Florida a Bike Friendly State
The US is a country wherein bicycles are widely used as a form of travel and exercise. Through the ongoing worldwide campaign against climate change and obesity among youth and adults, many states have started improving their roads and laws for cyclists.
Washington, Utah, Oregon, and Colorado are just some of the friendliest states in the US for cyclists. Aside from the availability of bike lanes in their streets and major roads, these states are also known for having exciting and popular bike trails. This increased not only the safety of bikers but their tourism, too. Bikers flock from all around the world just to experience their mind-blowing bike trails.
Florida must start diminishing the counts of bike accidents and deaths by acquiring the steps done by other states. The state must begin imposing road safety awareness to bikers and motorists alike. Most importantly, the local government should create bike lanes to ensure that bikers can ride their ways in a protected area.
Florida is undoubtedly beautiful, and promoting popular bike trails is also a great start to reduce the fatality rate of bikers in their area. This also helps their economy as it promotes tourism and healthy activities not only to locals but to foreign visitors as well.