Friday, August 14, 2015

[UPDATE] Pedalcyclists in the State of Florida: way too many fatalities occurring and what is FDOT's plan to solve it?

[UPDATE: Lulu Ramadan at the Post has this article which appeared today (8/14) on the front page. She interviews 'Rafael' Clemente (his name was misspelled, should be 'Raphael') and others for an excellent article about the dangers of bicycling here in south Florida. In a day or two will post some excerpts from the article. Below is a post from this blog on 8/7 on this very subject.]

Recently a West Palm Beach resident named Jesse Bailey scored a victory with FDOT concerning bike lanes for a new bridge being constructed. A significant victory in the fight for bicyclist safety. One of my Twitter followers however, Florida Massacre, sent me this troubling data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): "Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities".

First, here is how the NHTSA defines a 'pedalcyclist':
Pedalcyclists, as defined for this fact sheet, are bicyclists and other cyclists including riders of twowheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals. A traffic crash is defined as an incident that involved one or more motor vehicles where at least one vehicle was in transport and the crash originated on a public traffic way, such as a road or highway. Crashes that occurred on private property, including parking lots and driveways, are excluded. Pedalcyclist crashes in this fact sheet will not include bicycle wrecks that do not involve motor vehicles.
Here is the data from 2013 (note, we're only dealing with fatalities, not injuries):
  • Total of ALL traffic fatalities in the U.S.: 32,719 
  • Total pedalcyclist fatalities: 743
  • Percentage pedalcyclist fatalities of total: 2.3%
From the data you could see why the concerns of bicyclists, for example, wouldn't be a high priority for DOT's around the country. But now it gets interesting especially if you live in Florida. Of the 743 pedalcyclist fatalities in the U.S., 133 occurred here in Florida in 2013, or 18% of the total number.

Now for the scary part if you live in Florida, Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population (all states over 3%; 5 states had no fatalities):
  • Maine: 3.01%
  • New Hampshire: 3.02%
  • Louisiana: 3.03%
  • South Carolina: 3.14%
  • Oklahoma: 3.38%
  • California: 3.68%
  • Arizona: 4.68%
  • Total pedacyclist fatalities per million in the U.S.: 2.35%
  • Florida: 6.80%
I'm sure many explanations can be proffered for Florida's extremely high percentage of fatalities: climate, tourists, retirees, etc. But to not acknowledge Florida has a huge problem is delusional; and Florida's road designs are a large part of that. Take for example the recent sad death of Austin Gilliam here and another article from the Broward New Times about recent pedalcyclist deaths there.

I know many people will have something to say about this; feel free to contact me with your thoughts.