Unfortunately, Florida has some of the highest rates of bicycle accidents and injuries in the nation. While the warm weather makes the state ideal for biking, road design, driver inattention, and other issues can result in serious injury.
Whether you bike on trails or on in streets in Parkland, Hollywood, or any South Florida community, you’re taking part in an activity that promotes fitness and a great way to view the natural beauty of the area. If you’re using a bike to get around, you’re also doing your part to reduce air pollution.
Preventing Bike Accidents in Parkland and Other Communities
For many children, learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage. It gives kids skills they can use for a lifetime as well as a way to stay fit and to get around with more freedom. Unfortunately, riding a bike is also one of the riskier things young children do. Each year, approximately 254,000 kids suffer injuries across the country and about 100 are fatally injured due to bike accidents.
E-scooter rentals have become very popular around Hollywood, Miami, and South Florida in general as a way to get around. Many companies, including Lyft, Bird, Lime, and Uber’s Jump now rent these small vehicles to tourists, who happily zip around the area.
Unfortunately, E-scooters are not without their dangers. They can easily topple over and when tourists use them incorrectly on sidewalks, roads, bike lanes, or in parks, injuries to pedestrians and other drivers can occur. When E-scooters are incorrectly returned and left on sidewalks, ramps, or even streets, they can also cause secondary accidents.
Helmets cannot prevent bicycle accidents in Hollywood or your community, but they can help you prevent serious brain trauma and can save your life. In a bike accident, head injury is one of the most dangerous injuries you can sustain. Without a helmet, there is nothing between you and the pavement if you fall or are thrown from your bicycle. Helmets are designed to absorb impact and prevent this from happening—but they can only work if you wear a helmet correctly each time you ride.
There are several steps you can take to ensure a helmet offers maximum protection:
In 2012 alone, over 700 bicyclists were killed in roadway accidents across the country. In South Florida, 1,539 bicyclists and pedestrians were killed between 2003 and 2012. In fact, Florida is considered among the least safe places for pedestrians and bicyclists. It is statistics like these that have led to awareness campaigns in South Florida – as well as calls for changes. For example, each year bicyclists hold an event called “The Ride of Silence” in memory of bicyclists killed or injured in traffic collisions.
A new report by the League of American Bicyclists sheds light on why bicycle accidents and fatalities occur. The report was compiled by examining bicycle accident fatalities reported largely in 2012 by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the League of American Bicyclists, however, the government needs to do more to gather information about bicycle accidents in Miami and across the country, as the group found that information about these types of collisions was lacking.
According to the League of American Bicyclists report, the most dangerous bicycle accident and the one most likely to lead to fatalities was the rear-end crash. This type of collision accounted for about 40 percent of the total number of fatal bicycle accidents. Bicyclists are also at risk of broadside collisions in Miami and other cities. According to the report, about 10 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents involved this type of crash. A further eight percent of fatal bicycle collisions involved head-on accidents.
The report found that many accidents – about 44% — occurred on city arterial streets while rural arterial streets were the site of 12 percent of fatal crashes. Rural local roads amounted to about 11 percent of total bicycle accidents. On city streets, intersection and intersection accidents were represented about equally, but rural road fatalities were more likely to occur away from intersections. In about 9% of fatal bicycle accidents, bicyclists were traveling on sidewalks rather than on roads. The report also found that bicyclists were wearing helmets in about 57% of fatal bike accidents, although data about helmet use was incomplete.
In terms of causes of bicycle accidents, the report found that many of the things that cause motor vehicle crashes in Miami and other Florida cities are also responsible for fatal bike crashes. About 42% of fatal bicycle accidents studied were caused by negligent driving while 36% involved hit and run crashes and a further 12% involved drunk driving. In about 23% of the accidents, bicyclists were traveling in the wrong direction while 17% of cases involved bicyclists failing to yield.
The report clearly shows that everyone plays a role in preventing bicycle accidents and fatalities. As the authors noted, one of the big problems with bicycle accidents is that relatively little information is gathered about these types of crashes and there is less anger and response to these types of accidents when compared with car crashes. The authors called for more action to prevent collisions in the future.
Biking offers a number of benefits, including good exercise and the opportunity for recreation as well as an eco-friendly way of getting around. Bicycle accidents in Homestead and other Florida communities, however, are a major cause for concern. Many parents, especially worry about these crashes causing child injuries in Homestead or their communities.
There is no doubt that bicycle accidents can be very serious. Each year, bicyclists suffer brain injuries in Homestead and their communities as well as other serious injuries. However, new data shows that accidents are not the only cause of concern. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, recently published a study showing that children sustain ten times as many injuries in the groin and kidneys when biking as adult bikers.
The study was based on emergency room data spanning the years 2002 to 2012 and excluded injuries caused by car collisions. During each year studied, about 4000 patients were admitted with bicycle-related injuries to the genitals or kidneys. Men and boys represented about 61 percent of these injuries. In about 70 percent of these injuries, the injuries resulted from contact with the bike. About half of these injuries occurred due to contact with the top tube of the bicycle, which runs from the handlebars to the seat. Close to 30 percent of all the injuries studies were caused by falls from the bike or other incidents. Researchers stated that they didn’t make any safety recommendations based on the data, saying that more research was needed first.
Other safety experts and studies have also concluded that bicycle collisions are not the only causes of bicycle-related injury in Hollywood and Florida. Other causes of bicycle injury can include:
•Skin irritation or lacerations caused by defective bicycle parts of equipment
•Clothing getting caught in bicycle chains
•Injuries caused by excessive time on the bicycle
•Injuries caused by uneven ground
•Falls from a bicycle
Injuries from these types of incidents may not be as dramatic as the injuries caused by a collision with a car, but they can still be serious. Injuries from these types of situations can cause lacerations, fractures, and other potentially serious injuries. They have also led some to recommend everything from airbags on handlebars to differently designed top tubes to athletic cups for riders. So far, most experts agree that the most important things to keep in mind when preventing bicycle injuries is to wear a helmet, improve bicycle skills, and to follow the rules of the road. Injuries can also be prevented by:
•Wearing clothing that will not get caught in the chains
•Choosing a bicycle that is a good fit for the rider
•Keeping a bicycle in good shape
•Taking the bike trails or paths that are appropriate for the biker’s skill level
•Staying visible on the road and using a light to illuminate paths or the road when riding at night
If your child were in a bicycle accident in Homestead or your community, would they be protected by a helmet? Although many safety experts and pediatricians agree that helmets are vital in helping prevent potentially deadly head injuries, a new study suggests that only about 11 percent of children wear helmets.
The study, presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Florida this year, examined children who were treated for injuries in Los Angeles County following bicycle accidents. The study found that children over the age of 12 and children who belonged to a minority group or low income bracket were more likely to not be wearing a bicycle helmet. The study’s authors believe that other communities may also have a similarly low instance of helmet use, so parents in Homestead and other Florida communities may want to take notice.
According to study author Veronica F. Sullins, more needs to be done to target at-risk children to help prevent head injuries and bicycle accidents. Currently, Sullins notes, teens and children have the highest rates of unintentional injury of all age groups, so more effort is needed to address the problem.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 33 million American children ride bicycles and are on their bikes for a combines 10 billion hours annually – that is a lot of time for a serious injury to occur. According to the CDC, there are about 400 bicycle-related fatal brain injuries each year and about 150 000 brain injuries that require a visit to the emergency room.
According to safety experts, there are a few things that parents can do to help prevent bicycle crashes and related child injuries in Homestead and other communities:
•Buy a helmet that children will enjoy wearing. Ask children for their input when shopping for a helmet and consider buying more than one helmet if budget allows.
•Review bicycle safety rules often; simply wearing a helmet is not enough.
•Insist that children wear helmets when riding a bike or scooter, skateboard, or in-line skates. Refuse to allow children to take part in these activities without a helmet.
•Set a good example by wearing a helmet when bicycling. Consider showing children images of their favorite celebrities wearing helmets when bicycling – children and teens may be more likely to follow suit if they see someone they admire wearing a helmet.