Bicycle accidents can cause traumatic injuries and deaths. Riders have no protection from the force of an impact with a motor vehicle. After all, bicycle helmets and safety gear are no match for a collision with a speeding vehicle.
Community leaders, local governments, law enforcement officials, and organizations throughout Hillsborough County are working together to make Tampa and the surrounding cities safer for bicyclists. Efforts to improve bicycle safety in Tampa include education, traffic enforcement, and safer street design for all users.
Traffic Crash Statistics for the Tampa Bay Area
Hillsborough County has the highest traffic fatality rate among large counties in the United States, based on per capita numbers. Approximately 1,800 people died in traffic accidents in Hillsborough County from 2012 through 2018.
The crash stats for Hillsborough County for 2018 through 2020 are:
- 82,359 traffic accidents
- 37,120 crashes involving injuries
- 576 fatal accidents
- 1,535 bicycle accidents
- 1,875 motorcycle crashes
- 1,888 pedestrian accidents
- 1,414 DUI accidents
- 19,386 hit-and-run crashes
Approximately one bicyclist is involved in a traffic accident each day in the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa Bay Named a Dangerous Place to Ride a Bicycle
AAA named the Tampa Bay area as the deadliest top metro area in Florida for riding a bicycle. Additionally, Florida was the most dangerous state for bicyclists, according to AAA. However, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County have invested time, resources, and money to improve bicycle infrastructure throughout the area.
The goal is to eliminate bicycle accidents by:
- Improving roads
- Educating motorists
- Implementing speed management strategies
- Proactive enforcement measures for traffic laws
- Expand trails, greenways, and crosswalks
- Provide additional pavement and signage for shared lanes
- Adding bicycle and pedestrian facilities linking the Westshore District, Downtown, and the University of South Florida
- Focus on high-injury areas for pedestrians and bicyclists
- Increase the number of protected bicycle lanes throughout the city
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Tampa?
Improvements in bicycle safety in Tampa can reduce the number of bicycle crashes throughout the city. However, many bicycle accidents occur because of negligence by a driver or a bicyclist. These accidents could be avoided if individuals choose safer driving and cycling behaviors.
Common factors that lead to bicycle accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted driving and bicycling
- Riding a bicycle or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperienced drivers and cyclists
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Failing to obey traffic signals and stop signs
- Improper lane changes and failing to yield the right of way
- Dangerous road conditions
- Following and passing bicycles too closely
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
Identifying the most common causes of bicycle accidents can help city officials develop strategies to reduce the number of crashes. In addition, knowing the cause of a bicycle crash can assist a bicyclist in filing an injury claim for damages after an accident.
What Are the Consequences of Bicycle Accidents in Tampa?
For a rider, the consequences of a bicycle crash may be catastrophic injuries and significant financial damages. In the worst-case scenario, a bicyclist may not survive their injuries. Other riders may sustain permanent disabilities or impairments. With help from a bicycle accident lawyer, injured riders might be eligible to file a personal injury claim and get compensation for their injuries.
However, bicycle accidents may be costly for the city, too. For example, if a defective street or government negligence contributed to the cause of the bicycle accident, the rider might sue the city or a government agency.
When bicycle accidents increase, the city must invest additional resources to protect riders. They must install additional measures to prevent bicycle accidents.
Additionally, a high number of bicycle accidents is not suitable for tourism. Being named a dangerous place to walk or ride a bicycle could result in fewer visitors.
Working Together is the Key to Bicycle Safety in Tampa
To realize the goal of zero bicycle fatalities and serious injuries, everyone must work together. Bicycle safety is a community issue. City officials can only do their part to make city streets safer for riders. Bicyclists, motorists, parents, businesses, and organizations must also do their part.
Bicycle-friendly businesses encourage people to ride their bicycles to run errands. Organizations that educate the community about bicycle safety are essential.
Each time we travel Tampa roads, the decisions we make can increase bicycle safety or put riders in more danger. Working together, we can improve bicycle safety throughout the city and county.