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What If the Traffic Signal Won’t Change? Run a Red Light?

Posted by Chris Burns in Florida Bicycle Laws on Friday, June 24, 2011.

​Recently, I was speaking to a bicycle club about cycling and current legal issues. I was asked an excellent question. I thought I would share the answer to this question, which may not be obvious. Consider this scenario: During a bicycle club sponsored training ride, the group of club cyclists approach a traffic light at an intersection. They want to go straight through the intersection or make a left turn. The traffic light is red. The traffic light won’t change to green. The cyclists and their bicycles don’t “trigger” the light to change to green. (Many traffic signals use sensors to detect vehicles before the signal turns green for cross-streets or left-turn-only lanes.

These “demand-actuated” signals cause problems when they fail to detect a waiting motorist, bicyclist, or motorcyclist. Drivers of small vehicles, such as bicycles, often have difficulty being detected by the sensors because the sensors are improperly designed or adjusted.) Are the cyclists allowed to stop, yield, and then move through the intersection, even though the traffic light is still red? What advice should the club ride leader give?

Bicycling Fatality Trend Around Gainesville, Florida

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling News on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

As a Gainesville cycling attorney, I am very aware and concerned about the safety of cyclists, including the more than 26,000 students who ride their bicycles on and around the campus at the University of Florida. Annual statistics for cycling fatalties in Alachua County reveal an alarming trend during the past five years. In 2005, there were no bicycling fatalities in Gainesville, Waldo, and the rest of Alachua County. From 2006 until now, there have been 15 or more bicycling deaths. In March 2011, Robert Paul King died while cycling in Gainesville during his participation in the Bike Florida tour. By comparison, Bradford County had only 1 cycling death in the past 5 years. Baker County and Gilchrist County and Levy County each had no bicycling deaths.

National Bicycling Crash Statistics Are Alarming

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling News on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

​In 2011, the US Department of Transportation published Traffic Safety Facts about bicycling for the year 2009. The facts are very sobering. In 2009, there were 630 cyclists killed and 51,000 injured in crashes with motor vehicles. That means there is one bicycling injury about every 10 minutes! The good news – 2009 cycling fatalities are about 12% lower than the prior year, and are at the lowest mark since 2003.

Florida is Considered the Worst State in the U.S. for Safe Walking

Posted by Chris Burns in Case StudiesCycling News on Monday, June 06, 2011.

​A national study has been released which shows just how dangerous the state of Florida is for pedestrians. The study is titled, “Dangerous By Design” and was produced by the Washington-based advocacy group called Transportation in America. The study refers to a “Pedestrian Danger Index”, which assesses the overal danger to walkers for each state. Florida has the highest (worst) Pedestrian Danger Index score in the United States. In the decade between the years 2000-2009, there were 5,163 people who were killed while walking in Florida. Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville were the four most dangerous pedestrian cities in the United States. During this decade, Jacksonville suffered 342 pedestrian deaths. The Orlando area had 557 deaths. Tampa had 905 pedestrian deaths. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area sustained 1,555 deaths. Jacksonville is located in Duval County. More than 19% of all traffic deaths suffered in Duval County were by pedestrians. Miami and Tampa exceeded 21%.

National Bike To Work Week

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Advocacy on Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

​The month of May is National Bike Month, and is officially sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. The League, a nationwide cycling advocacy organization, was formed by several prominent cyclists, including Albert Augustus Pope, in 1880. Mr. Pope was at the forefront of bicycle manufacturing in the United States. In the 1890s, he manufactured about 250,000 bicycles per year, and due to his patents, nearly every other bicycle producer in the U.S. had to pay him $10 per bicycle.

One of the Worst and Most Common Bicycling Crashes – The “Right Hook”

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Safety Tips on Thursday, May 05, 2011.

​Perhaps the most prevalent type of cycling crash my clients have suffered is the “Right Hook”. This is where the cyclist is riding straight ahead and a motor vehicle, on the cyclist’s left, suddenly turns right – directly into the path of the cyclist. A collision occurs when the cyclists can stopped fast enough, and the cyclist is usually injured.