A 65-year-old Florida man was killed in Sarasota County this week when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle. The fatal car accident occurred sometime after 9 p.m. The rider was using a headlight and a taillight, as well as wearing a helmet when he was struck from behind by a Toyota Celica. He was less than a half a mile from home when tragedy struck.
Florida is among the nation’s leaders in bicycle fatalities. There are more than 4,000 bicycle traffic accidents per year, statewide, with roughly 100 of those accidents being fatal. In 2009, Florida led the nation in bicycle traffic fatalities with 107, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration. Many of the fatal accidents involve cyclists who were not wearing helmets at the time of the incident.
The problem has drawn the attention of the Florida Department of Transportation. A spokesperson for the agency indicated that the state is addressing the problem in several ways. Florida is working on ways to improve education, to help law enforcement, and to engineer a safer environment for bicycles.
Bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as any other vehicle. As with motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists may be endangered by distractions such as cell phones and headphones. Bicycle riders are highly vulnerable to motorists who are not paying attention or who do not have the proper mindset to watch out for cyclists sharing the road. Each additional tragedy should serve as a reminder to be safe and to respect the rules of the road.
Source: Herald Tribune, “North Port man killed in bicycle-car crash,” by Shannon McFarland, 13 February 2013