Many people in Florida are choosing to bicycle or walk to work because of the health benefits. The health benefits of bicycling, for example, are well documented. A 14-year Copenhagen study focused on 30,000 participants and concluded that people who bicycled to work lowered their risk of fatalities by 40% when compared to those who led more sedentary lives. An Australian study of 100 subjects found that people who switched some of their commutes over a year from car to bike lowered their risk of heart attacks and strokes while improving their fitness and cholesterol levels.
Many bicyclists in Florida who would like to make the switch, however, worry about the risk of bicycle accidents. In Miami, especially, the risk of traffic accidents involving bicycles is quite high and Florida has one of the worst records in the country when it comes to bicycle accident fatalities.
So is bicycling to work a health benefit or a health hazard?
Nation-wide statistics leave no doubt that there is some risk. In 2011 alone, 677 people died in car-bicycle accidents in the US. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that bicycles account for just 1% of trips but account for 2% of traffic fatalities.
A 2011 Barcelona study using computer models found that the benefits of bicycling outweighed the risk of injury and accident. A 2010 study out of the Netherlands concluded that bicycling accidents take away 5-9 deaths in a lifespan, while bicycling to work rather than taking a car adds 3-14 months of life. These studies do suggest that biking to work has many health benefits that are not outweighed by the risk of traffic accident in Miami. However, experts agree that more US-based studies are needed. They also note that many European cities have well-established bicycle laws are bicycling areas that motorists respect – something that bicyclists say is badly needed in Miami and other major US cities.
Experts and doctors agree that there are also many things that cyclists in Miami can do to further reduce their risk of an accident and serious injury. Wearing a helmet while bicycling for example, can reduce your risk of a head injury in Miami by up to 85%, according to some statistics. As well, staying visible, following the rules of the road, and bicycling in safer areas (in bike lanes or on bike paths rather than busy streets) can reduce your risk of a bicycle collision in Miami.
Have you been injured in a bicycle accident in Miami or any Southern Florida community? Contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free case evaluation. The Flaxman Law Group is a full-service law firm with a compassionate staff dedicated to helping accident victims from all walks of life. If have been injured, you may be eligible for compensation that can help cover hospital bills, health care costs, lost income, and more. To learn more, contact the Flaxman Law group today. There is no obligation with your initial case evaluation and your initial consultation is free of charge.