Did you know distracted driving injures and kills a large number of cyclists? That numbers are increasing? In 2013, Public Health Reports published an study analyzing pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. While motor vehicle fatality rates have decreased in the U.S. in the past five years, rates of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities have risen. And the incidence of bicyclists being killed by distracted driving accidents has gone through the roof – it has increased 30% in only 5 years. Another interesting fact – most cyclists were killed during day light hours, while the majority of pedestrians were killed at night.
On June 20, 2014, Florida cycling attorney, Chris Burns, and two renowned outdoor adventure athletes were interviewed by Huffington Post about why they love to exercise outdoors, as opposed to their local gym.
A nationwide study about pedestrian injuries and fatalities was just released. The 2014 “Dangerous By Design” Report finds that FOUR FLORIDA CITIES - Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami - are the four most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians. This is disappointing and tragic – but it should come as no surprise.
On Thursday, May 15, 2014, a large number of bicyclists in Jacksonville, Florida celebrated National Bike To Work Day. In my role as Chairperson for the Jacksonville Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, I accompanied Mayor Alvin Brown during Bike To Work Day, as he rode his bicycle through the downtown.
Many government and law enforcement officials (and most motorists) in Florida believe you have to be crazy to ride a bike on the road - you must have a death wish - because it's inherently dangerous. This doesn’t have to be. Florida can change its horrendous bicycle safety ranking. Our extremely dangerous cities – Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, etc. can become safer.
Many cyclists have now found an effective way to ensure they can prove how the motorist acted negligently and unsafely to cause their crash – proving the circumstances of the crash doesn’t depend upon eyewitnesses who may not exist or an insurance company or jury believing their story.
The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) just released its statistics for 2012 traffic crashes in the United States. Nationwide, the facts are particularly troubling for cyclists and pedestrians.
Jacksonville needs a bike-share program. We are way behind other similar cities in Florida. Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg all have or soon will have bike share. (Miami, Tampa and Orlando join us as previously ranked as the worst cities in the US for pedestrians and cyclists – but they are making fast changes!) Today more than 500 cities in 49 countries host advanced bike-sharing programs, with a combined fleet of over 500,000 bicycles. Yet, Jacksonville’s downtown configuration is more appropriate and adaptable to a bike share program than many other cities that already have highly successful programs. I hope you would consider supporting a bike share program. Even if we began planning for such a program now, it would take 1 -2 years for such a program to begin.