With its great weather and scenic roadways, it seems like Florida would be the perfect place to ride a bicycle. However, Florida has by far the highest per capita death rate for bicyclists in the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pinellas County is the most dangerous county in the state. A six-mile stretch of Park Boulevard in Pinellas County has been the scene of several deaths and dozens of injuries and is one of the most dangerous roadways in the country for bicyclists.
Pinellas County has many large, multi-lane roads which can be especially dangerous to cyclists. The county’s infrastructure is not particularly conducive to cycling and is very much oriented towards cars as the main form of transportation. The designers of many Florida cities had cars in mind and did not account for pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
There are a large number of cars on the road in Pinellas County, and Florida drivers are some of the worst in the country. These factors taken together with the fact that the number of bicyclists in the county is on the rise, offer another explanation for the high fatality rate. In addition, Florida has a deeply rooted car culture, and there’s not much respect or space given to bicyclists on the road.
The state and the county have recognized the high rate of cyclist deaths and plan to take steps to improve the situation. Since 2009 Pinellas County has added miles of bike lanes to its roadways. Park Boulevard, one of the most dangerous roadways, has no bike lanes and a majority of cyclists are forced to ride on the sidewalk. In addition, many bike crashes occur because cyclists don’t use crosswalks. The county is hoping to curb this problem by installing three mid-block crosswalks on Park Boulevard with signals that can be activated by pedestrians and cyclists with a push of a button. There is currently no guarantee that drivers will stop at a crosswalk without a red-light signal but there’s hope that accidents can be reduced.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.