According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts for 2007, the 119 bicycle-related deaths was tops in the nation. You might say that makes sense because of our larger population, but we also ranked first in Bicycle Fatalities per Million Population at 6.52. The national deaths per million was only 2.31.
The League of American Bicyclists ranks Florida at 20 in the rankings of Bicycle Friendly States, which in all honesty surprised me. But according to their website the reasons for our ranking are: Florida has an excellent complete streets policy. However, the state has no cell phone use restrictions and high crash and fatality rates.
NHTSA has some important safety reminders for bicyclists:
- Always wear a helmet. It’s the best way to prevent a head injury in a crash.
- As "vehicle operators" they are expected to and should obey all traffic laws.
- Increase your visiblity with bright colored or flourescent clothes.
- Put a front and back light on your bike for night driving.
- Use reflective tape on the back of the bike and your clothing.
For automobile drivers, NHTSA reminds us we need to share the road.
- Leave 3 feet between you and the bike when passing.
- Look behind you open the door or leave a parking space.
- Yield to bicyclists at intersections or when signs tell you to do so.
- Watch for bicyclists when turning left or right from your driving lane.