Bicycling has increased throughout Florida, including in the Miami-Dade area. More people are using bicycles for transportation and exercise. In addition, tourists ride bicycles to sightsee and enjoy the warm weather.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents can cause traumatic injuries and deaths. Improvements to Florida’s bicycle infrastructure have helped reduce serious bicycle accidents in the Sunshine State. Still, additional efforts are required to reach the goal of zero fatal or serious injury bicycle accidents.
Accident Statistics for Miami-Dade County
There were a total of 43,486 traffic accidents reported in Miami-Dade County during 2019. This number represented an increase of 0.72% over 2018 figures.
Other traffic statistics for the area include:
- 828 bicycle accidents
- 16 bicycle fatalities
- 771 bicycle injuries
- 341 alcohol-related traffic accidents
- 1,023 motorcycle crashes
- 1,644 pedestrian crashes
The number of bicycle accidents in 2020 totaled 757, including 15 bicycle fatalities. There was a slight decrease in the number of bicycle crashes from 2019 to 2020, but even one bicycle death is one death too many.
Bicycle Safety in Miami, Florida
Miami created a Bicycle Action Committee in 2008 to form policies for the creation of bicycle-friendly infrastructure. The goal was to make Miami a Bicycle Friendly City by 2012. The city developed many programs and initiatives to create safer streets for bicyclists.
Goals and objectives of the Bicycle Action Plan from October 2008 included:
- Develop an effective bicycle network and support facilities for safe bicycling in Miami
- Initiate community outreach and education to improve bicycle safety
- Develop and implement plans for routine accommodation of bicyclists in city programs and programs
- Develop and implement a process to collect, review, and improve bicycle initiatives
The city’s comprehensive bicycle network includes greenways, bicycle lanes, neighborhood routes, and shared streets. Specific area plans include downtown Miami, Little Havana, Overtown Wynwood, and the health district.
In the Spring of 2021, funding was approved for the city to begin work on a new Bike Master Plan.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Miami?
Many factors contribute to the cause of a bicycle accident. However, many bicycle accidents are avoidable.
Factors that contribute to Miami bicycle accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Passing cyclists too closely
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Drowsy and fatigued driving
- Impaired driving and cycling
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Dangerous road conditions
- Improper lane changes
- Inexperienced drivers and bicyclists
Identifying the causes of a bicycle accident can be important for government agencies. This process can lead to changes in bicycle infrastructure and reduce the risk of future bicycle accidents.
Improving roads and developing bicycle infrastructure benefits everyone. The consequences of bicycle accidents can be devastating for individuals and families. There are also consequences for the City of Miami. If you were involved in an accident, you might want to reach out to a bicycle accident lawyer to find out if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim.
The Consequences of Bicycle Accidents in Miami
The immediate consequence of a bicycle accident is physical injuries to the rider. A bicyclist does not have any protection from the force of a collision with a motor vehicle. A rider may be thrown hundreds of feet or crushed by a vehicle.
A bicyclist may sustain catastrophic injuries that result in permanent impairments and disabilities. In addition, the rider may incur substantial financial losses in addition to the pain and suffering caused by the crash.
However, the city also incurs costs when a bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle. For example, the city incurs expenses for police officers, fire departments, and other first responders who report to the accident scene. In addition, if the bicycle crash causes property damage, the city may incur expenses to repair public property.
Additionally, high accident rates have a negative impact on tourism. When a city has a reputation as a dangerous place to ride bicycles or walk, tourists may choose another vacation spot.
What is the Community’s Role in Improving Bicycle Safety in Miami?
Designing and implementing safe roads for bicyclists is crucial for the city’s plan for safe streets. However, motorists and bicyclists play an essential role in bicycle safety.
Drivers and riders need to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. Avoiding dangerous behaviors, such as being drunk or distracted when driving or cycling, can reduce the risk of being involved in a bicycle accident. Educating teenagers and children in safe bicycling and driving is also essential.
When everyone works together, Miami streets can be safe for all users.