SARASOTA, FL- On the evening of Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Bradenton.com reported that the intersection of Sarasota Square Boulevard and Beneva Road was closed to traffic due to a fatal crash involving a bicyclist. Police from Sarasota County assisted the Florida Highway Patrol in the investigation of the accident, which occurred around 8 p.m.
Florida leads the country in cyclist fatalities. The high number of bicyclists sharing the road with automobiles has contributed to the greater number of fatalities in the state. Other states with high numbers of cyclist deaths include California and Texas. While Florida had a reported 150 bicycle fatalities in 2015, no states other than California and Texas had more than 50. Florida’s rate per capita is also one of the highest in the country.
Also, while the number of cyclist deaths in Florida that occur during the day is about the same as the number that occurs at night, there are far more cyclists during daylight hours. This indicated that biking on the road after sundown presents additional risks to cyclist safety because of the lower visibility.
Despite the risks, cycling is a popular mode of transportation as well as recreation, especially in states where the weather is often favorable. Many Floridians have found that cycling to work saves them money, affords the opportunity to get daily exercise, and helps them reduce their carbon footprint.
Florida has made great efforts to increase cyclist safety on the roads but has struggled to gain traction in lowering the number of fatalities within the state. It is likely that a combined approach, addressing driver education, the aggressive enforcement of traffic laws, and better road design will be necessary if Florida wishes to make the state friendlier to cyclists.