Thursday, December 14, 2017
Public safety

Yet another study names Florida the most deadly place to be a cyclist

Riding a bicycle in Florida can be deadly, and and yet another study has put the state at the top of the list of the most dangerous places to take your bike out on local roads.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, with funding from State Farm insurance, published a study Thursday that shows Florida had the nation's highest proportion of bicyclist fatalities at 7.4 percent in 2015.

Researchers also found that bike deaths across the country are on an incline — 12.2 percent — and are outpacing the overall rise in traffic fatalities.

The study used 2015 data because it was the most recent complete data available.

READ MORE: Overnight crashes reinforce danger for bicyclists on Pinellas roads

Experts say Florida's roadways were built with cars in mind, not pedestrians or cyclists. Decades ago it used to be children who died most often in bike fatalities. Now, it's adults. The study found the average age of those who died in 2015 to be 45.

Tampa Bay is playing right into that statistic. On July 12, a 45-year-old was hit and killed in Clearwater after police say he drove his bike into the path of a car. The month before, a 42-year-old died after a car hit him and then fled the scene in St. Petersburg.

Time and time again, studies show the risks facing Florida cyclists.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis from 2008 to 2012 found the state had the highest rate of bicycling deaths in the continental U.S.

A report released this year by Smart Growth America placed the top seven most dangerous metropolitan communities for pedestrians in Florida, including Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 7.

The bulk of the incidents are blamed on distracted drivers. Often, those drivers are on their cellphones or texting while behind the wheel.

You can checkout the new report here.

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