A September 2018 report within the Wall Road Journal analyzed the newest knowledge from the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) and located the Larger Tampa Bay space as probably the most harmful place to experience bicycles within the nation, with Pinellas County because the deadliest of all space counties. The info from the NHTSA present that bicycle accident fatalities elevated about one third from 2010 to 2016 and the fatality price in Florida was greater than 50 % larger than the subsequent highest state. The Tampa area’s fatality price was 7 %, virtually some extent larger than Florida’s 6.2 % price.
Analysts report the excessive bicyclist fatality charges within the space are due to dense inhabitants, a big inhabitants of aged drivers, and vacationers who’re distracted as a result of they’re unfamiliar with native roads. It ought to be famous that the Wall Road Journal article depends on NHTSA knowledge throughout a 10-year interval to label Pinellas County as “The Most Dangerous Place for Bicyclist in America,” however the 5-yr evaluation and up to date knowledge inform a special story. Regardless, the overall development has been a yearly improve in accidents involving cyclists, making biking within the Tampa space, together with Pinellas County, a persistently dangerous proposition.
On this article, we look at common bike routes in Pinellas County and a few the ways in which native authorities officers have responded to harmful biking circumstances within the space. We additionally talk about widespread bicycle accident accidents and their potential dangers for cyclists in Pinellas County. Lastly, we talk about the steps to take in the event you or your baby have been concerned in a bicycle accident.
A Deeper Dive on the Knowledge
A better take a look at newer knowledge from the Florida Division of Freeway Security and Motor Automobiles (FLHSMV) reveals that in 2017, greater than 6,600 bicycle accidents occurred on Florida roads, with 128 fatalities; 26 of these fatalities occurred in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties mixed. The newest Visitors Crash Details report from the FLHSMV reported 140 bicycle fatalities throughout Florida in 2016; greater than 30 concerned drug and/or alcohol use and in 117 of the deadly crashes, cyclists weren’t sporting helmets or another security gear for his or her safety. Pinellas County noticed six fatalities in 2017, and 6 bicycle fatalities as of November 1, 2018, that are included in additional than 600 bicycle crashes within the county annually.
Pinellas County Excessive Crash Corridors
In an effort to create and enact insurance policies that scale back bicycle crashes and fatalities within the space, Pinellas County created a Bicycle-Pedestrian Grasp Plan. Over the past decade, the county has collected, researched, and analyzed knowledge to study points of bicycle accidents. In a 2012 report, the county recognized some key traits of motorcycle accidents in Pinellas County not already talked about, akin to that almost all of motorcycle crashes in Pinellas County contain these within the 15 to 24 age group.
The opposite key takeaway from the 2012 report was the identification of scorching spots the place bicycle accidents typically occur in our space. So-referred to as “Pinellas County High Crash Corridors” differ of their specifics year-to-year, however these basic areas are sometimes at or close to the highest of the record:
- From ninth Avenue South to 46th Avenue alongside 4th Road
- From Park Road to U.S. Freeway 19 alongside North Park Boulevard
- From Indian Rocks Street to 58th Road alongside West Bay Drive (State Street 686)
- From Belleair Street to Drew Road alongside Fort Harrison Avenue
- From Bay Pines Boulevard to Ulmerton Street alongside Seminole Boulevard
- From Orange Road to Race Monitor Street alongside Tampa Street
- From Gulf to Bay Boulevard, particularly on the intersections of Belcher Street, Previous Coachman Street, U.S. 19, and Park Place Boulevard
- A number of intersections alongside U.S. 19 (34th Road), together with 70th Avenue, 62nd Avenue, 22nd Avenue North, and fifth Avenue North
Pinellas County Bicycle-Pleasant Initiatives
Within the final decade, elevated bicycle accidents and the will to present various transportation choices have spurred tasks to create bike-pleasant cities and cities throughout the nation, together with in Florida. Pinellas County dedicated to a Bicycle-Pedestrian Grasp Plan in 2013, to improve greater than 950 miles of motorcycle lanes, shared-use trails and paths, and sidewalks. Pinellas County has upgraded roads, together with these in excessive crash corridors, to accommodate cyclists over the previous a number of years with the next enhancements:
- Shared use lanes – A shared use lane is a motorcycle path that shares area with a roadway. In Pinellas County, officers have put shared use lanes on roads which have velocity limits underneath 35 miles per hour the place different street enhancements aren’t possible. Moreover, shared use lanes aren’t sensible for residential neighborhoods with low velocity limits and low visitors quantity. Shared use lanes give bicyclists a delegated spot on busy roads and assist forestall accidents as a result of drivers can see the lanes and anticipate cyclists driving in them.
- Further pavement – Some spots within the county don’t have sufficient pavement for bicycles or sufficient room for bike lanes, so the county has added further paved shoulders in sure areas, serving to to curtail accidents by which a motorist turns right into a bike owner.
- Reconstruction – Some roads are utterly insufficient for cyclists and wish to be reconstructed to accommodate them. Pinellas County has reconstructed roads as a part of their Transportation Enchancment Program (TIP) and Lengthy Vary Transportation Plan (LRTP).
- Striping – Pinellas County has added striping to roads which have loads of room for bike lanes, however solely wanted striping to set up them.
- Re-striping – Re-striping roads provides the county the chance to make one of the best use of a street’s usable pavement. In some instances, the county may want to slender car lanes and or/medians and re-stripe the street to add a motorcycle lane.
- Markings and indicators – On roads which have striped shoulders and ample width, Pinellas County continues to add indicators and pavement markings to accommodate cyclists.
Varieties of Bicycle Accidents
There are lots of situations which may lead to a bicycle crash, however some are extra widespread than others. In its Bicycle-Pedestrian Grasp Plan, Pinellas County identifies a few of the commonest sorts of bicycle accidents involving motor automobiles.
- Left hook crashes are the most typical forms of bike accidents throughout the nation. They occur when a motorist makes a left flip at an intersection in entrance of a bicyclist touring in the other way. The motorist may hit the bike owner or the bike owner may crash into the passenger aspect fender of the car.
- Proper hook crashes happen when a motorcar driver makes a proper flip and turns right into a bike owner within the adjoining lane or on the shoulder.
- A driver hits a bicyclist in an intersection whereas making a proper flip. The bike owner is touring in the other way crossing the intersection.
- Doorings happen when motorcar drivers and passengers open a door into the trail of a bike owner who doesn’t have the time to swerve and as an alternative collides with the door.
What Varieties of Accidents May Outcome from a Bicycle Accident?
In accordance to the newest knowledge from the Florida Division of Well being, visitors accidents involving bicycles resulted in about 850 emergency division visits in Pinellas County in 2016, with 84 of them leading to hospitalization to recuperate from accidents. Bike accidents may lead to many forms of accidents that vary in severity relying on particular person circumstances. Listed here are a few of the commonest bicycle accident accidents:
- Head traumas together with delicate to extreme traumatic mind accidents, particularly in those that aren’t sporting bicycle helmets
- Damaged, fractured, and crushed bones
- Neck accidents
- Again and spinal twine accidents, a few of which could lead to paralysis
- Scrapes, cuts, and street rash in accidents the place a bike owner is thrown from a motorcycle
What Ought to You Do After a Bicycle Accident in Pinellas County?
Even when you comply with all the visitors laws, put on a helmet, and keep conscious of your environment, you may nonetheless end up in a motorcycle accident. Typically, little fender-benders don’t require an lawyer and maybe not a police report, however many bike accidents end in damage. Listed here are some instant steps you need to take in the event you, or your baby, has been injured in a bicycle accident whereas cruising round in Pinellas County:
- Search medical consideration as quickly as potential. The timing of once you get checked out by a physician hinges on the severity of your accidents, clearly. Some accidents require a visit by way of ambulance to a hospital in Tampa, St. Pete, or Clearwater. Cyclists fortunate sufficient to have walked away from a motorcycle accident may profit from requesting an ambulance. Regardless of how extreme you assume your accidents are, nevertheless, it is necessary to search medical consideration quickly after an accident. Some accidents, particularly head traumas take some time to current signs. When it comes to your well being, it is much better to be over-cautious.
- File a police report. Hopefully, regulation enforcement has been notified and has gathered vital info for a police report. However, if not, it may be necessary to file a report with regulation enforcement as quickly as attainable after an accident. Whatever the format the report takes, it ought to embrace crucial info such because the make, mannequin, and license plate variety of the driving force’s automotive, and his or her identify, tackle, and insurance coverage info. In the event you can’t get this stuff immediately, or haven’t completed so already since you are hospitalized, your lawyer might help you.
- Take pictures. In case you have the chance, attempt to take as many photographs on the scene of the accident as attainable. This consists of pictures of the automotive, pictures of your bike, photographs of accidents, and another photograph documentation that you simply assume is perhaps helpful for an insurance coverage declare or a lawsuit.
- File an insurance coverage declare. As a Florida resident, you in all probability already know that each one automotive house owners are required to carry Private Damage Safety (PIP) insurance coverage, as a result of Florida is a no-fault insurance coverage state. This protection extends to you while you’re driving a motorcycle; it additionally extends to your minor youngsters. Beneath Florida regulation, PIP insurance coverage will cowl 80 % of your medical bills, similar to emergency providers, physician visits, x-rays, medicine, and so forth. It’s going to additionally cowl 60 % of misplaced wages due to lacking work from an damage. In the event you don’t have PIP insurance coverage (as a result of, for instance, you don’t personal a automotive), or when you have exhausted the protection limits in your PIP coverage, then you might also give you the chance to acquire protection for sure bills beneath your personal medical insurance. As well as, relying upon the severity of your accidents, you might also have the proper to search compensation from the motorcar driver’s insurance coverage service or immediately from the driving force.
It’s not unlikely that your insurance coverage firm or the driving force’s insurance coverage firm may deny your claims or attempt to shift blame to you for the accident. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, the place the courtroom reduces awards to the plaintiff based mostly on the extent to which the plaintiff bears a number of the fault for the accident. For instance, an insurance coverage adjuster may declare you weren’t utilizing correct hand alerts or following different visitors laws, thereby contributing to the accident, or the adjuster may attempt to recommend you have been working your bike whereas drunk or medicine.
As well as, insurance coverage corporations may attempt to tempt you with settlement provides which will sound like some huge cash, however aren’t truthful compensation for the losses that you’ve incurred out of your damage. When you, or your baby, have been injured in a bicycle accident, you could be eligible to file a private damage go well with in civil courtroom. A talented lawyer can advise you on the proper path ahead in your particular person state of affairs. Within the occasion that you simply file a private damage lawsuit, you may find a way to get well medical bills and misplaced wages that weren’t coated by your PIP insurance coverage. Moreover, you could make claims regarding future medical bills and misplaced wages for everlasting disabilities, in addition to non-financial prices similar to ache and struggling.
The expert private damage attorneys at Dolman Regulation Group have in depth expertise negotiating, settling, and litigating accident instances, together with people who contain bicycles. We perceive the bodily, emotional, and monetary stress that sustaining a critical damage brings with it for you and your loved ones. Our skilled staff might have the ability to assist. E mail us or name us in Clearwater at (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free session to talk about the small print of your case.
Dolman Regulation Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712