Just a handful of months ago, a 5-year-old boy on a bicycle in Boise, ID was seriously injured when he was struck and dragged by a minivan as he crossed at an intersection. The boy was wearing a helmet, but his injuries were life-threatening.
That prompted the Idaho Department of Transportation to take decisive action on the issue of bicycle safety in that state. Now, new drivers are going to have to educate themselves on proper interactions with bicyclists as they navigate roads throughout the state. Driver’s education curriculum will be updated to meet the criteria that will ask new motorists on license exams about things like right of way, minimum distance and blind spots.
While bicycle-related questions were always within the pool of possible queries motorists could be asked, it wasn’t a given and a fair number of tests lacked any bicycle safety questions at all. Then this little boy was nearly killed.
As a spokesperson for the state department of transportation said to the Idaho Statesman, “I think it’s fair to say this tragedy kind of opened up the discussion.”
Now, the next question our Fort Lauderdale bicycle injury lawyers would ask is: Why aren’t we having this discussion in Florida?
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were nearly 750 bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2013. That’s about 2 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- 68 percent of those who died were killed in motor vehicle crashes in urban areas.
- In Idaho that year, there were 3 bicyclists killed, accounting for 1.4 percent of all motor vehicle deaths.
- In Florida, there were 133 bicyclists killed that year, accounting for 5.5 percent of all motor vehicle deaths.
In January 2015, Florida unveiled a new written test for drivers and it was expected there would be some snags. But as the Tampa Bay Times reported, 3 out of 5 flunked the test in the first six months of 2015. In fact, there were some counties in which 80 percent of drivers failed it. This prompted officials to alter the test again, though they insisted this wasn’t to make the test any easier. Rather, they were simply trying to be more clear on the wording. But even after those updates, more than half of new test-takers failed the written test in June.
Tests are culled from a pool of 1,000 questions, but there was no assertion by anyone that there would be at least one or more questions related to bicycle safety, making it a lesser study priority.
Recently, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer requested a list of the top most commonly missed answers on driver tests in that state. Among those:
- When riding at night, a bicyclist must have a white headlight visible for: 500 feet.
- A driver should be extra alert for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians because: They are hard to see in traffic.
Other missed questions involved when it was necessary for motorists to turn on their headlights, when they are allowed to enter an intersection and when they have to report an accident.
To learn more about Florida bicycle laws, visit the Florida Bicycle Association’s website.
If you have been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident, contact us.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Idaho Adds Bicycle Questions to Driving Tests, Dec. 29, 2015, By Caitlin Giddings, Bicycling.com
More Blog Entries:
Florida Uber Passenger Killed in a Crash, Dec. 27, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney Blog