A 52-year-old South Florida entrepreneur died of injuries sustained in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident after being struck by a sport utility vehicle on North Federal Highway.
At the time of the crash, he was riding in the designated bike lane. Broward injury lawyers see this as a perfect example of the fact that even having the right bicycle-friendly infrastructure isn’t enough to protect riders if drivers aren’t careful.
According to authorities, the crash happened around 9 p.m., with the rider thrown up over the hood of the vehicle. The driver never bothered to stop, while the cyclist, who owned a web design firm, was declared dead at the scene.
A witness to the crash followed the driver as he dialed 911. Investigators soon caught up with him. They identify him as a 23-year-old from Pompano Beach who appeared to be intoxicated. Toxicology test results are pending, but authorities say the windshield was heavily damaged.
The driver’s father, recently interviewed by local news media, and was quoted as saying that the cyclist had actually veered into the regular lane of traffic and cut off the at-fault driver. However, that account may be viewed with a fair amount of skepticism, given the intoxication level of the driver.
Recent traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that roughly 48,000 people are injured annually in bike accidents, and nearly 700 died in 2011. Florida ranked No. 1 in pedalcyclist deaths per 1 million at 6.56. The only other state to even come close was Louisiana at 3.93. Bicyclist fatalities accounted for 5.2 percent of the overall traffic deaths in Florida, and nearly 18.5 percent of all national bicycle deaths happened in the sunshine state.
A growing number of those incidents involved alcohol, usually by the driver of the motor vehicle. Alcohol impairment was cited as a factor in 37 percent of bicycle fatalities in 2011, an increase of 8.8 percent in just a single year.
Another trend that bicycle safety experts have noted in recent years is the larger percentage of older riders. Baby boomers are staying healthy and active longer in life, and bicycling is one way they do it, particularly here where the weather is great year-round. The NHTSA data reveals that 52.4 percent of all bicycle fatalities in 2011 were riders over the age of 45, with nearly 30 percent over the age of 55. The average age of a bicycle fatality victim rose from 36 in 2002 to 43 in 2011. Bicycle injury victims were slightly younger – average age of 28 in 2002 up to 32 in 2011.
While cyclists can’t avoid every crash scenario, they can and should ride defensively.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center recommends:
–Being predictable and visible to motorists at all times, particularly at driveways and intersections;
–Obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings and yield when appropriate;
–Try not to be hesitant or do things that motorists and other travelers might not be expecting;
–If you are riding in the dark, wear reflective materials, brightly colored clothing and reflectors and use headlights and taillights;
–Watch for turning traffic, and keep a watchful eye out for motorists who are turning right in front of you.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Bicyclist, 52, dies in Fort Lauderdale crash, April 29, 2014, By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Florida Cyclist, Pedestrian Problem Reflected Throughout the South, March 21, 2014, Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog