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Cyclist & Pedestrian Accidents Are on the Rise


U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Fox, has launched the Department’s “Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative” after the significant increase in bicycle and pedestrian deaths in the past year. An analysis of the state traffic fatality report has revealed that Florida has one of the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the nation. In fact, our Tampa Bay area is home to two of the four most dangerous places to walk in Florida: Tampa and Clearwater.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a national study of bicyclists and pedestrian attitudes and behaviors. The study found that younger people in particular (i.e., “Millennials”) are driving fewer miles, waiting longer to get driver’s licenses, and using public transportation more frequently. The number of miles driven, alongside car ownership and licensing rates among young people, are at their lowest figures in decades. Ride sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are providing alternative mobility choices and reducing reliance on personally owned vehicles. Thus, younger people are either traveling by foot, or biking, to places that are a short distance away, and using ride share services for longer commutes. If Millennials continue to maintain these habits, there could be a significant change in national travel behavior, causing cyclist and pedestrian accidents to rise.

Bicycle and pedestrian crashes are a problem for all places, as they can occur anywhere people choose to walk or bike. However, the majority of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas, like Tampa or St. Petersburg. The Tampa Bay area boasts stretches of beautiful, scenic roadways, trails and sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists alike; however there are some safety measures that should be taken.

Pedestrians and bicyclists should always use well-lit trails and wear reflective clothing while traveling after the sun goes down. Three-fourths of all pedestrian and cyclist deaths occur after dark. Walkers and bike riders should also monitor how much alcohol they consume when out for a stroll or a bike ride. Being impaired as a pedestrian or cyclist greatly increases the risk of injury. Alcohol involvement by either the cyclist or non-motorist was reported in more than 37% of traffic crashes that killed a bicyclist and 48% of the traffic crashes that killed a pedestrian.

Millennials are not the only ones at risk for pedestrian accidents. Individuals who are 65 and older account for 20% of all pedestrian fatalities. A report recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that a greater number of pedestrian accidents occur during the second half of the year, which includes the late summer and early fall months, a time affectionately known as “Snowbird Season” in Florida. The number of senior citizens involved in pedestrian accidents is expected to increase as our nation’s population rapidly ages. By 2050, it is expected that senior citizens will outnumber school children for the first time in history.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a pedestrian or cyclist accident, please call Beltz & Beltz today at 727-201-9944 or 813-559-9090 to speak to one of our attorneys. The call is free.


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