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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has been working on a new campaign, “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow…Safety Doesn’t Happen By Accident” to reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents across Florida. The agency’s goal is to reduce fatal pedestrian traffic accidents 20% by the year 2015. If successful, this would help save about 15 lives annually.

The new safety and education campaign will make use of transit ads, TV, and social media to spread information and tips on preventing traffic accidents. The agency will also team up with local law enforcement and schools to help spread the message. FDOT has also said that it will step up traffic enforcement and reconsider engineering solutions to help reduce instances of traffic fatalities in the state. Experts hope that the new campaign will help prevent serious pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Miami and across Florida.

There is certainly room for improvement. According to FDOT, Florida’s rate of fatal pedestrian accidents is twice the national average. This means that across the state 10 pedestrians and 2.3 bicyclists, on average, are killed weekly. FDOT’s three-pronged approach seems promising because it will involve a focus on:

1) Engineering. Many car collisions in Miami and across the state are caused by poor signs and poor roadway conditions. Changing these conditions can help prevent fatalities, injuries, and expensive legal action caused by these poor road conditions. For example, adding sidewalks in areas where there are no sidewalks can help prevent some pedestrian accidents in Miami. Adding bicycle lanes is important in preventing bicycle accidents. Some research has also suggested that different types of signs may be more effective in helping to prevent traffic accidents.

2) Education. Educating motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists is vital in preventing traffic collisions in Miami and other communities. Motorists need to be taught to focus on the road and to avoid distracted driving. Pedestrians need to be reminded to take extra precautions when walking – especially when walking at night or when walking in higher-traffic areas without sidewalks.

3) Enforcement. Pursuing those who violate traffic rules is important in sending out the message that unsafe driving will not be tolerated in Florida. Vigilant enforcement can help prevent reckless driving and some drunk driving accidents in Miami.

Another issue that could potentially help protect bicyclists and pedestrians are legislative changes. Some experts and advocacy groups believe that changing laws – in order to ban texting and driving, for example, or in order to make penalties for reckless driving harsher – would help discourage unsafe drivers and would give injury victims more options in pursuing justice.

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Hövding is the name of an invisible helmet that has received much attention in the bicycling community in the past few years. Some experts believe that this helmet can help prevent injuries caused by bicycle accidents in Miami Lakes and other communities.

The helmet does not look anything like a typical helmet, in part because so many people sustain head serious injuries because they do not like the look of traditional helmets. This fact had Swedish design students Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt intrigued. Working together since 2005, they developed an invisible helmet.

The helmet is not magically invisible, of course. Instead, it looks like a large collar or scarf. The idea behind the helmet is simple: the collar contains an airbag that deploys in the event of a traffic accident in Miami Lakes (or anywhere) and covers the wearer’s head. Currently, the helmets cost about $515, although the manufacturers are working to lower costs by changing production in upcoming years.

In addition to price, another question that the manufacturers face is skepticism about the helmet. Florida bicycle enthusiasts wonder whether the airbags in the collar would really inflate reliably each time to prevent head injuries and spinal cord injuries. In Miami Lakes and other communities, after all, a car-bicycle collision means that airbags have to inflate in a fraction of a second to offer protection to the rider. In addition, the helmet would not protect bicyclists from overhanging obstacles and other potentially dangerous head injury types. Bicyclists are also concerned that the helmets – which are already much more expensive than traditional helmets – can only be deployed once. If the airbags inflate during a low-speed fall or a skid, the bicyclist will have to replace their helmet.

There is no question that the helmet is extremely interesting. It uses an algorithm to help detect when a bicyclist is moving in a way that indicates an accident. Inside the collar is a helium gas inflator. To activate the helmet, the wearer places the collar around their neck, closes the zipper, and pushes a button. The entire device weighs about one and a half pounds and in future years the company making the helmet plans to offer a range of styles and designs. In the event of a collision, the manufacturer of the helmet notes that the airbag device deploys in 0.1 seconds, covering the wearer’s head and protecting them from injury.

The manufacturers also claim that the invisible helmet is in fact safer than the traditional helmet. When the company sought to get EU safety certification, they approached Folksam, a Swedish insurer, for independent testing. Folksam discovered that Hövding performed at least three times better than twelve traditional helmets when it came to the hit/drop tests. In shock absorbance tests, traditional helmets had average acceleration results of 180-250 g, compared with 37 g for the Hövding. In addition, the invisible helmet covers more of a wearer’s head in an accident and can handle multiple impacts in one accident.

Hövding is now seeking to attain the U.S. CPSC standard, which will mean more tests. Bicyclists in Florida are no doubt watching the news for developments. The U.S. CPSC standard is considered by some to be tougher than comparable EU tests and the additional testing could help residents understand more about whether the helmet could help prevent head injuries in Miami Lakes and other communities.

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Florida is ranked as one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists. Due to the high traffic, larger cities such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami are considered especially risky for bicycle enthusiasts. There many advantages to bicycling. It’s a great form of exercise and a wonderful way to explore the warm weather and beautiful climate of Florida. In addition, bicycling is also a greener mode of transportation. If you want to take advantage of all that bicycling has to offer but want to stay safe, experts agree that there are five things you must do:

1) Stay visible. Staying as visible as possible ensures that other motorists can see you, which is important in preventing car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida cities. Wear bright colored gear, and opt for reflective clothing if you are bicycling in poor weather conditions or at night. Make sure that your bicycle is highly visible, too. Use reflective stickers as well as lights on both the front and rear of your bicycle. There are helmets that come with special reflective features and bright lights to make you even more visible. Where possible, make eye contact with motorists to ensure that they can see you. Many bicycle-related traffic accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida cities occur simply because a motorist does not see a bicycle in time.

2) Build your skills. Building your skills ensures that you have the flexibility and mobility to move quickly if you need to in order to avoid a traffic accident. Building your skills also means that you understand how to bicycle safely. If you’re just getting started with bicycling after a long break, work your way up to sharing the road with cars by bicycling on bicycle paths in parks. Then, when your skills have developed, you can try riskier paths and bicycle lanes on streets.

3) Know the rules. Stay in bike lanes where they are available. Follow all traffic signals. Bicycles are far more flexible than cars, but even though you can scoot in and out of traffic that does not mean it’s a good idea. Follow all traffic rules carefully. They are designed to protect you.

4) Do not ride distracted. Distracted driving is already a leading cause of traffic and truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale and across South Florida. While most distracted driving campaigns focus on the dangers of distracted driving, bicycling while distracted is equally dangerous. Listening to music, for example, can mean that you don’t get the important audio cues of traffic around you. Trying to text and bicycle is also extremely dangerous and is very likely to result in a serious accident. When you bicycle, make sure that your full focus is on staying safe.

5) Anticipate traffic. Scan the road around you and use mirrors to keep an eye on traffic behind you, as well. Keep a few fingers on the brakes when getting close to traffic. That way, you can react quickly if you need to.

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While a bicycle is a great way to get around Hollywood, bicyclists do face risks when they hit the road. Hollywood bicycle accidents cause serious injuries and claim lives each year, but according to experts there are many things we can do to help prevent these types of accidents from occurring:

1) Set rules with children about bicycle safety. Make sure that children know that is they break the rules – such as riding with no helmet or wearing a helmet without a chin strap — there will be consequences. Teach children to bicycle safely by going on rides with them and by setting a good example. Have a written list of bicycle safety rules at home and review them from time to time.

2) Hone bicycling skills. Experienced bicyclists are less likely to fall from their bikes or be involved in Hollywood traffic accidents. Develop bicycle skills slowly, sticking to flatter trails away from car traffic until your skills build. If it has been a few years since you have been on a bicycle, get adjusted to bicycling again slowly, giving yourself time before you try challenging routes and sharing the road with cars. There are many good online resources that can help you refresh your knowledge of bikes.

3) Choose routes carefully. Even if you are an experienced bicyclist, sharing the road with drivers and trucks is risky. Not all motorists pay attention and the chances of a bicyclist escaping serious injury in a Hollywood truck accident or car accident are not good. Sticking with trials and with quiet streets is often a good idea if you are just headed out for some recreation.

4) Always wear a helmet. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmet use can reduce the risk of brain injury by 85%. Since Hollywood head injuries are one of the leading causes of fatal injuries in bicycle accidents, this statistic is significant. Buy a helmet you love and wear it each time you ride. If something happens to your helmet and you cannot use it, walk your bicycle.

5) Stay visible. Wearing bright-colored clothing and using reflectors and lights is important in avoiding a collision. Always signal when making turns to ensure that drivers can see where you are headed. You are far less likely to be struck by a car if motorists can see you and can anticipate your next move.

6) Stay focused. Riding while daydreaming or listening to music will likely result in an accident. It is important to keep your full focus on the road and on any traffic nearby. Even riding distracted on a quiet trail can lead to a Hollywood pedestrian accident, so only hop on your bike when you are ready to give traffic around you your full attention.

7) Do not take shortcuts with traffic laws. Bicycles are a very flexible form of transportation, which is one reason why bike enthusiasts love them. However, while it may be physically possible to weave in and out of traffic, up and off the sidewalk, and ignore traffic signals and signs, it is very dangerous to do so. Treat your bicycle as a car, leaving plenty of space around your bike and obey all traffic laws and signs. Keep in mind that while bikes are very flexible and can move fast, vehicles around you cannot.

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According to the Florida Bicycle Association and the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida leads the nation when it comes to bicycle accidents. In 2009 alone, there were 107 bicycle accident fatalities in the state, a decrease from 125 in 2008. According to local biking advocates, Miami can be especially dangerous for cyclists for a few reasons:

1) Drivers in Miami tend to be from out of state and many are elderly drivers. While there is no exact consensus about whether elderly drivers are riskier than younger drivers, many experts do feel that the elderly are more prone to illnesses, such as strokes, heart attacks, dementia, eye problems, and other illnesses which can affect driving skills. At-risk elderly drivers may simply not see bicyclists, leading to Miami bicycle accidents. In addition, as a major tourist attraction, Florida sees many drivers who are from out-of-state and were therefore unfamiliar with the area. This can also mean an increased risk of Miami car accidents involving bicycles, since drivers who are unfamiliar with the roads may be focused on finding their destination and therefore may not spot a bicyclist in time.

2) Bicycling is possible year round in Miami. One reason why Miami bicycle accidents are so common is because bicyclists in Miami have the ability to ride their bicycles year-round. The beautiful weather does mean that more people are on bicycles for a longer period of time each year, increasing the risk of accidents.

3) Texting and driving is not illegal in Florida. Distracted driving – and distracted bicycling – is a serious problem in the city, leading to many Miami pedestrian accidents and Miami traffic accidents.

4) Some Miami roads were designed with little thought to bicyclists and pedestrians. While motorists and bicyclists are expected to share the roads, some roads are not designed for great visibility or for sharing, leading to Miami traffic accidents.

5) Motorists do not share the road in many cases. Some bicyclists feel that Miami motorists are especially aggressive and less willing to yield right of way or share the road. Unfortunately, aggressive driving does increase the risk of Miami car accidents and bicycle accidents.

6) Risk-taking. Some motorists feel that bicyclists in Miami take unneeded risk, including veering in and out of traffic or driving recklessly, which can lead to collisions. Unfortunately, after a Miami bicycle crash, it is common for there to be a disagreement about what caused the collision. Motorists will often blame the bicyclists and bicyclists will believe that motorists caused the accident. It often takes a Miami personal injury attorney and investigators time to determine the true cause of an accident.

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Many parents encourage the idea of their children bicycling to school. After all, bicycling is a good form of exercise and allows the child to get to school relatively safely. Bicycling is also more environmentally friendly than driving a car. However, to help prevent Miami Beach bicycle accidents, you need to review a few safety tips for back to school:

1) Make sure your child has at least one helmet they really like and are willing to use all the time. Your child is more likely to wear helmet if they have a helmet that they love. Help your child find a fun helmet that they actually enjoy wearing. Even if it costs little bit more, it is worth it if your child is actually willing to wear it. Make sure that your child wears their helmet each time that they ride their bike. According to many experts helmets can reduce the risk of Miami Beach head injuries by up to 80%.

2) Build your child’s safety knowledge and bicycle skills by going on family bike outings. Going out on family bicycle trips can help you teach your child will bicycle safety rules, and allows you to see how safe your child is on their bicycle.

3) Review your child’s route. Ride with your child to their school. Review the route that your child will take on their bicycle. Are there busy intersections? Is it a traffic heavy area? Look for routes that are relatively safe.

4) Have your child stop their bike in a safe zone. Where your child parks their bike and stops their bike can be as important as what route they take to school. In many cases, Miami Beach car accidents involving the school run occur near the school, where there is a great deal of traffic, due to parents dropping their children off. Locate the bicycle racks at your child’s school and make sure that your child knows where to hop off their bike and how to secure their bike safely.

5) Make sure your child is highly visible when on their bike. Reflective stickers, a highly visible helmet, lights, and light colors can help make your child more visible to motorists. In many cases, Miami Beach traffic accidents involving bicycles occur because a motorist failed to see a bicyclist. Children on bicycles can be harder to spot then adults, simply due to their smaller size. Therefore, making them as visible as possible becomes very important.

6) Keep your child from riding distracted. Distracted bicycling can easily lead to a Miami Beach bicycle accident. Ensure that your child is not trying to text or listen to music while riding their bike. Your child’s entire focus should be on the bicycle route and on staying safe.

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Many communities have launched initiatives to create bicycle lanes and bicycle paths in order to help prevent bicycle accidents. Bicycle paths are usually in parks and green spaces and in many cases bicyclists share the paths with pedestrians but not with cars. These paths allow even less experienced bicyclists to ride in an area without any car traffic. Bicycle lanes, on the other hand, allow bicyclists to share the road with vehicles by creating a separate space on the road for bicyclists. These lanes are for bicyclists only and ensure that drivers of other vehicles know to expect bicyclists in that area of the road.

As bicycles become more popular for transportation and recreation, many communities are considering additional bicycle paths and bicycle lanes. However, can these initiatives help prevent South Miami bicycle accidents? Some people believe so, noting that bicycle paths and lanes keep car traffic and bicycle traffic apart, ensuring that much larger passenger vehicles cannot collide with bicycles as easily. Bicycle paths and lanes also ensure that bicyclists of all experience levels have a chance to hone their skills before sharing the road with traffic.

Not everyone agrees that bicycle lanes and paths will reduce the number of South Miami traffic accidents involving bicycles. Some argue that bicycle lanes, for example, do not keep bicycles far enough away from cars. In many cases, cars can easily move into bicycle lanes and still cause serious South Miami bicycle accidents. And, of course, bicyclists often bicycle along city streets to get to bicycle paths. Since there are so many streets and relatively fewer bicycle-only lanes and paths, bicyclists still need to spend a considerable amount of time sharing road space with larger vehicles.

It is important to note that bicycle lanes and paths alone will not prevent South Miami car accidents involving bicycles. Bicyclists still need to take precautions to prevent accidents. Even in bicycle lanes, for example, bicyclists need to watch out for cars, stay visible, and be prepared for traffic that does not share the road correctly. On bicycle paths in parks, bicyclists are at risk of South Miami pedestrian accidents and collisions with in-line skaters as well as others who are sharing the path. Staying alert and anticipating any hazards can help prevent these mishaps.

While bicycle lanes and paths help bicyclists share urban spaces more safely, they cannot replace common sense and good bicycle skills. Whether a road has a bicycle lane or not, motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians all have a role to play in keeping South Miami safe.

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Fixed-gear bicycles are very trendy right now, but some safety experts caution that the bicycles could lead to more bicycle accidents. Fixies, as they are sometimes known, are bicycles with no changeable gears and one speed. Fixed-gear bicycles are different from traditional bicycles because they lack a free wheel. This means that the pedals of the fixie move while the bicycle is in motion, preventing bicyclists from coasting.

Of special concern to safety experts is the fact that some bicyclists riding fixies do not use brakes because the bicycles come to a stop soon after the bicyclist stops pedaling. Than Chen Munn of the Safe Cycling Task Force feels that bicyclists on fixies are more prone to running red lights because the bicycles have no brakes and are therefore harder to control than traditional bicycles. He is especially concerned because fixies are popular among younger bicyclists, who already have less experience on bikes and may be more vulnerable to accidents. These features could easily lead to Davie bicycle accidents if a bicyclist runs a red light and causes a Davie car accident.

Doctors are also concerned that fixies could lead to many other Davie personal injuries, not just those caused by Davie traffic accidents. Since the bicycles have no brakes, bicyclists on fixies generally stop the bicycle by using their feet and legs to stop the motion of the bicycle. According to some doctors and physiotherapists, this can cause damage to the feet and legs, and especially to the ligaments. Bicyclists who are riding fast and attempt to stop with their legs are especially vulnerable to damaged ligaments.

So far, there have been few serious reported accidents involving fixies, but experienced bicyclists and safety experts are concerned, especially with the popularity of fixies skyrocketing over the past two years. Experienced bicyclists as well as the Safe Cycling Task Force recommend that bicyclists who buy fixies get to know the bicycle first and understand its mechanics first. Gaining experience in a secure environment – such as on low-risk bike trails with no traffic – is a good idea at first. Bicyclists may also wish to consider having more than one bicycle – a fixie for lower-risk conditions and a traditional bicycle for riding on streets with traffic. Having a bicycle with multiple gears and brakes is important when sharing the road with cars and vehicles, since a bicycle with brakes gives bicyclists more control over the motion of the bike.

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Bicycling is a great form of exercise and when it is used as a means of transportation, it benefits the entire community. Using a bicycle rather than a car reduces traffic congestion, promotes healthy exercise, helps fight obesity, and reduces vehicle emissions. Unfortunately, Miami has a bad reputation among some bicyclists due to the number of fatal Miami traffic accidents involving bicyclists that take place each year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are many things that can be done to help prevent Miami bicycle accidents:

1) Always wear a helmet when you hop on your bicycle. According to the NHTSA, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of serious Miami brain injuries by as much as 85-88%. It can also save your life, since brain injuries are one of the leading causes of fatalities in bicycle accidents. However, it is not enough to simply throw on a helmet. The helmet must be properly fitted and correctly worn each time. As well, the NHTSA recommends getting a helmet that is clearly labeled as meeting the standards established by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

2) Always use the right bicycle. Make sure that your bicycle is correctly fitted to you, as a bicycle that is too large or too small will be harder for you to control easily. Adjust the seat if you need to get a better fit. As well, check your bicycle regularly to ensure that it is safe to ride and in good condition. Problems with the brakes or tires can cause an accident, so visit a good bicycle shop regularly or learn to tune up your own bike.

3) Follow the rules of the road. On the street, you are considered a regular vehicle when you are on the road, so you must follow all traffic signals and signs, just like any other car. In addition, you need to be certain that you signal as needed to let other drivers know where you are turning.

4) Choose where you ride your bike carefully. Busy streets can be dangerous, but so can off-road and hilly areas. Consider parks in your area or bicycle paths, if they are available. If you decide to bicycle on a sidewalk to avoid a busy road, be aware that you will need to be extra alert so that you do not cause a Miami pedestrian collision.

5) Stay alert. Avoid wearing headphones, listening to music, or using a mobile device while on your bike. You will not be able to perceive dangers ahead of you and you may not hear important auditory cues (such as beeping or trucks backing up) as you ride. Avoid riding your bicycle under the influence – it can make you susceptible to Miami traffic accidents. Keep your entire focus on the road when you ride to stay safe.

6) Make it easy for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to avoid a collision with you. Stay visible by wearing reflecting clothing and by ensuring that your bicycle is equipped with reflectors and a light. When riding, make eye contact with drivers and with pedestrians to ensure that they can see you. Use signals to ensure that drivers know when you are turning or changing lanes. As well, ensure that you drive in a way that is predictable to others who share the road with you. If you are biking on a road, that means traveling with the flow of traffic, on the farthest right-hand side of traffic.

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Much has been written in recent years about the dangers of distracted driving. Indeed, distracted driving is blamed on many Florida car accidents and traffic accidents each year. However, bicyclists also need to use caution when riding distracted, according to police. There are many distractions that can contribute to Florida bicycle accidents:

1) Riding with headphones. Listening to music or any audio while riding a bicycle can isolate a biker and make it difficult or impossible for the biker to pick up important audio clues – such as the flow of traffic or car horns. Using headphones is very dangerous and can cause a traffic accident. While many bicyclists use music to drown out the noise of traffic with headphones, police note that the noise of traffic is often an important clue that can help bicyclists avoid a collision.

2) Visual obstructions. Anything that blocks a bicyclist’s vision is a distraction and a danger because a bicyclist concentrating on poor visibility is not focusing on traffic. Long hair, poorly fitted bicycle helmets, and poorly fitted glasses or sunglasses can all contribute to visibility problems and distractions. A good helmet is vital, because it can help keep hair out of the face and can provide improved visibility while also providing the best protection possible against brain injuries. Good helmets also can be used in conjunction with specially-fitted glasses or sunglasses. These are less likely to slip and also provide protection against glare or debris.

3) Mobile devices. While Florida does not currently have a texting while driving or riding ban, there is little doubt that bicyclists should not be texting or talking on their phones while riding. Using a mobile device takes your mind off the road and causes you to ride with one hand, which provides less control of your bike if you need to act suddenly to prevent a traffic crash or Florida pedestrian accident. Using a mobile device also causes bicyclists to take their eyes off the road, which is dangerous. Finally, talking and riding at the same time has the same effect as wearing headphones – it isolates bicyclists from the important audio clues of traffic.

4) Poorly fitted clothing. It is important to always wear proper and correctly fitted clothing when riding. Loose clothing can get caught in the gears while uncomfortable clothing can cause you to lose focus on riding, as it is a distraction. Shoes are especially important, since incorrect shoes can make it easy for your feet to slip off the pedals, causing you to lose control of the bike.

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