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Safe Streets Initiative

Posted in Bicycle Accident,News,Personal Injury on April 29, 2014

Florida has been named the worst state in the country when it comes to biker safety, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale report. A recent survey from the National Alliance for Biking and Walking analyzed data and fatality rates across the country, and found that bicyclists in Florida, along with those from several other states in the South, run a significantly higher risk for accident-related trauma, including injury and even death. 

The National Alliance’s 250-page study found that Florida has a 6.56 per 1 million people rate for pedalcyclist fatalities, compared to the national average of 2.17 per 1 million people. After Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia ranked among the bottom ten for similar low stats when it comes to non-motorist transportation safety, and by a wide margin, too. 

According to the report, the countries and cities with the lowest number of injuries and fatalities for bikers and pedestrian are also the places where the majority of the population walks or rides a bike for transportation. These countries also have the lowest obesity levels, and report that positive benefits come from a widespread encouragement of biking and walking as alternatives for travel. In the National Alliance’s report, the United States falls far behind many countries and cities across the world that have prioritized pedestrian and biker safety, as well as public health. 

In Florida, the distinct lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, along with the narrow shoulders and high speed limits, makes it hard for bikers and walkers to travel safely, despite their best efforts—wearing bright clothing, obeying traffic laws, paying strict attention to their surroundings. These conditions lead to a higher rate of injuries and fatalities, and the state is currently trying to combat a severe problem with hit-and-run accidents. Although bearing down on offenders is one option, changing the state’s street systems and the traffic situations is another good place to start, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale recommend. 

Lawmakers in the state are hoping to take the first steps towards turning the currently low statistics around, starting with a new initiative known as the Safe Streets Act of 2014, or S.2004 for short. The Act plans to implement a two-year program to make the state’s streets safer for bikers and walkers alike. If passed, the bill would require that all transportation projects using federal funds follow the “Complete Streets” model, which mandates that traffic engineers take into account the needs of all road users—walkers, bikers, and drivers. Right now, the state’s budget allots bicycle and pedestrian facilities only one half of one percent of the funds earmarked for transportation needs, including new plans for bike paths, wider shoulders, proper road signs, and more measures that would make it safer for these people to be out on the road. 

Your safety should be first and foremost when on and off the roads. At the Law Offices of David I Fuchs, our personal injury attorneys represent anyone in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas who has been injured—or who has lost a loved one—in a car accident involving a pedestrian or bicyclist.