In Florida, cycling is a big part of our community, and thousands of residents utilize it as a way to get exercise and stay healthy. There are numerous places around the Tampa Bay area where biking is also a great way to commute to work or just explore the natural beauty that Florida has to offer.

The number of people who enjoy biking in Florida rises each year, as exercise and environmental responsibility both become more popular. Unfortunately, for some, a peaceful ride may turn into a terrifying experience. Thousands of bike riders are struck by vehicles every year in Florida and throughout the country. Some of those injuries will be severe and permanent.

Florida is the deadliest state for bicyclists

Florida has the highest rate of fatalities for bicyclists in the country. An average of 110 people are killed while biking, each year, in Florida. There are 5.7 biking fatalities for every million residents.

What makes Florida so dangerous for bicyclists?

There are many issues that contribute to the dangers of biking in Florida. Too many bicyclists in Florida do not take the necessary safety precautions while riding. These failures include:

  • Failure to wear a helmet when biking
  • A bicycle is considered a vehicle, and the law dictates that you ride with the flow of traffic. Unfortunately, far too many citizens of Florida still ride against traffic.
  • Failure to follow traffic laws that apply to all vehicles

The factors that contribute to giving Florida the dubious distinction of being the most deadly place for bicycle riders include:

  • An aging population
  • Densely packed population centers
  • Inadequate bike lanes in areas where they are needed
  • Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A large number of tourists who are unfamiliar with Florida roads

What can cyclists do to stay safer on Florida roads?

Bicycle riding is a healthy and environmentally friendly means of transportation. To increase your chances of riding safely, follow the following suggestions:

  1. Ride on the roadway, or in bike lanes. Avoid riding your bike on the sidewalks.
  2. Remember that your bike should be operated like any other vehicle and follow the same rules of the road.
  3. Ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs and signals.
  4. Signal your turns well in advance to give other vehicles time to react.
  5. Always wear a properly fitted helmet when riding your bicycle.
  6. Wear bright colors during the day, and have reflective gear for low light situations.
  7. Stay alert and remember that you may be hard for a car to see if you are in their blind spot.
  8. Respect motorists, and concede the right of way even if you are not legally obligated to do so. Remember, your safety is what matters.

What should drivers do to make Florida safer for bicyclists?

Drivers have a responsibility to make the roadways safe for everyone, including bicyclists. Drivers in Florida should:

  1. Avoid distracted driving at all times.
  2. Yield to bicyclists when necessary. They may not have the right of way, but yielding is a much better option than being involved in an accident where someone is injured or killed.
  3. Check mirrors and blind spots for bicycles before entering or exiting a lane of traffic.
  4. Reduce your speed when passing cyclists.
  5. Avoid honking at a bicyclist as it could startle them and cause them to swerve into traffic.
  6. Give bicyclists at least three foot of clearance when passing.
  7. Be alert for children on bicycles. Children often behave erratically, so expect the unexpected when passing a child on a bike.