Our beautiful weather brings people outside in high numbers, including a large number of bicyclists. However, we also have a high number of bicycle fatalities as a result of bike-auto crashes. And unfortunately, Florida leads the country in per-capita bicycling deaths.
In Brevard County alone, we’ve seen an average of 200 bicycle-vehicle crashes each year over the past five years. In a recent article in Florida Today, local bicyclists agree that the roadways are unsafe for bicycles. Some say that roads in Brevard County are “bicycle unfriendly”, and have even faced abuse from motorists, like being yelled at or having rocks thrown at them.
Drivers are at fault
A recent Florida study found that most vehicle-bicycle crashes were the result of driver error, not errors from cyclists. The research followed 100 bicyclists for 2000 hours using cameras, GPS monitors and proximity sensors and the results suggest that drivers were at fault 75% of the time.
Drivers are required to give cyclists a minimum of three feet when passing them on the roads, yield to them when turning and check for a biker before opening a car door, but not all do.
Stay safe on your bike
Most cyclists are already obeying the law-but that doesn’t mean they aren’t vulnerable road users. Any defensive mechanism while riding is helpful toward staying safe.
- Wearing reflective clothing to be seen.
- Wearing a helmet and protective gear.
- Paying attention and not wearing headphones.
- Riding in the same direction as the traffic.
- Obeying all the traffic laws.
County officials remind drivers that the roadways should be a safe place for all users. Bikers have as much right to the roadway as motor vehicles and drivers need to be more cautious and aware.