Tampa Bay Bicyclists Are Saying “Enough!” The Push to Make Pinellas Streets Safer
Pinellas County has long been in the running for one of the most dangerous areas for bicyclists. A recent Wall Street Journal article and some updated numbers have shown that the Tampa Bay area is indeed the most hazardous for those on bikes. While in the past five years the number of deaths has diminished some, Florida is still responsible for more than double the national average of fatalities of bicyclists, with the majority of those fatalities being in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times is all too familiar with this statistic: https://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/Is-Pinellas-County-really-the-most-dangerous-place-in-the-nation-to-ride-a-bicycle-_172134999/
Residents in our area are asking “Why?” What makes the Tampa area so risky for those on bikes?
While there is no definite answer to this question, regardless of research being done by those attempting to improve safety for bicyclists, there are a few factors that could be to blame. Our dense population, excessive road use by tourists (who are unfamiliar with streets in the area), large numbers of elderly residents, and demographics could lead to the issues with bike safety. Also, the fact that many neighborhoods and communities haven’t prioritized bicycle safety and the need for protecting our local bicyclists is a contributing factor. Regardless of the reason behind the high number of fatalities and injuries caused by bicycle accidents, one common conclusion is this: we MUST do something to improve these statistics and make our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. How?
- Installing lights along sidewalks and common biking areas would make them more visible at night. For areas that already have lights, making sure they are functional and bulbs are changed out regularly is key in protecting those on bike and on foot.
- Bike paths along local main roads would allow bicyclists to ride in their own “lane” alongside main traffic instead of in the midst of the various cars and trucks on the road or being forced to squeeze in alongside them on the main roadway. Some roads already have these in place, but many busy roads have yet to implement this idea.
- Building awareness! Common sense goes a long way, but we could also benefit from offering materials and training for both bicyclists and motorists on sharing the road, the importance of looking multiple times before making a move, understanding right of way, etc.
Do you have ideas for keeping bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area safer? Contact your local officials and community leadership and let them know. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle related accident, Sessums Law Group is here and ready to help.
We represent clients throughout Tampa Bay and have experience in getting optimal results and compensation for bicyclists injured by someone else’s irresponsible action or oversight. We don’t just represent your case, WE STAND FOR YOU! Contact us today.