Last month, we wrote about the Florida Department of Transportation’s "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow…Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident" safety awareness campaign for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. As you know, several urban areas in our state are among the most dangerous in the country for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the DOT is working with safety advocates to make the new campaign reach as many people as possible. Elements of the program include increased public awareness of the scope of the problems, safer street design, additional bike paths and stepped-up police enforcement. However, organizers say that in order for the campaign to be successful, it will require everyone who uses Florida roadways to rethink how they use and share the road.
Eric Carr, an analyst with the Florida DOT, says that everyone shares the responsibility to make Florida roadways safer.
"We’re trying to change the habits of the drivers as well as bicyclists and pedestrians," he said.
The campaign is funded by $7.5 million in state and federal grants. Trenda McPherson, DOT’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, reinforced her colleague’s statement that it is incumbent upon all Floridians to make our streets and highways safer.
"Everybody that uses the roadway needs to be thinking about pedestrians, thinking about bicyclists," she said.
The Orlando Sun Sentinel compiled some alarming Florida bicycle accident statistics from more than 5,000 accidents statewide in 2010. Here are some of the newspaper’s findings:
- Most bicyclists are struck from the front. Relatively few accidents involve a bicyclist being struck from behind.
- Around half of all Florida bicycle accidents occur in or near intersections.
- Approximately 27 percent of bicycle-automobile collisions occur when the vehicle is turning right, 10 percent occur when turning left and 43 percent occur when an automobile is traveling forward.
- Nearly 78 of bicyclists injured and killed in accidents were traveling forward when the accident occurred.
- A motorist failing to yield and driving carelessly were listed as contributing causes to accidents 23 percent and 10 percent of the time, respectively. These were listed as contributing causes on the part of the bicyclist 16 percent and 7 percent of the time.
Orlando bicycle accident lawyer James O. Cunningham knows that it will take time for drivers to adjust their approach to bicycle and pedestrian safety in our state’s car-centric culture and infrastructure. However, he applauds the DOT’s new campaign and any efforts to reduce our state’s grim pedestrian and bicycle accident statistics. If you are injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver and want to learn more about your rights and legal options, call 800-425-2004 to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Cunningham. Getting an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney on your side could be one of the most important phone calls you will ever make!
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident, call toll-free at 1-888-FLA-Auto (1-888-352-2886).
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