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Florida leads nation in bicycle deaths

Bicycle riders on the road are at risk of being hit by motor vehicles, such as trucks or cars. Bicycle accidents may cause serious injuries or even fatalities, because people who ride bicycles are not as protected as those in other vehicles on the road. Florida authorities continue to educate drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on road safety. However, regardless of such programs and awareness, the national data on fatalities from bicycle accidents released recently may put residents of Florida in shock. They may find it alarming to read that according to a new report, Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicyclists.

According to the latest figures from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of bicycle riders killed in a motor vehicle accident across the country was 783 in 2017, and 125 of those deaths took place in Florida. The Tampa Bay area is top contributor to the problem and was found to be the worst city in the nation to ride a bicycle. Per the report, the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami claimed the first four places on the list of deadliest metro areas.

Florida law sets many guidelines for both drivers and bicyclist while on the road. It requires the bicycle rider to travel on the right side of the road and in a bicycle lane, if there is any, wear a helmet when riding, have a light on the front and back while riding in dark. For drivers of motor vehicle when passing a bicyclist, the law requires the vehicle must pass the bicycle at a safe distance of not less than three feet.

Florida attracts many tourists for its warm and sunny weather round the year. There are several factors such as reckless driving, driving under influence, distractions, speeding, failure to yield and cell phone use on the part of motorists that greatly contribute to the number of bicycle deaths each year. In such situations, if the driver involved in the bicycle accident is found guilty of negligence, the negligent driver may be held responsible for the injuries and costs resulting from the accident.

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