Dangerous Business: Riding a Bicycle and Walking as a Pedestrian in Pinellas County, Florida

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In the 35 years that I have represented injured Floridians, I have helped a great number of bicyclists and a pedestrians who have been seriously injured by motor vehicles here in Pinellas County.

It should not come as any surprise that injuries to these folks are more severe than a motorist would sustain because they have less protection from a surrounding vehicle.  Florida in general and Pinellas County in particular have absolutely terrible rates of bicycle and pedestrian injuries. Indeed, the rate of fatal bicycle injuries in Pinellas County is 70% higher than the state average. Although the bicycle fatalities in Florida have been declining in recent years, Florida has the highest rate in the nation and the second-highest total number of fatalities, behind only California.

 

The highest rate of injury is in the 21 to 24 year age group, followed by the 10 to 15 age group, and the 16 to 20 age group. The pedestrian fatality rate in Pinellas County is almost twice the national average. The rate for fatalities is even higher in Florida as a whole.  Authorities have identified several high crash corridors in Pinellas County which include:

 

Fourth Street North;

Park Boulevard;

West Bay Drive;

Fort Harrison Avenue;

Seminole Boulevard;

Tampa Road;

Gulf to Bay Boulevard; and

US Highway 19 North.

 

It would sue it would certainly seem advisable to avoid these streets if possible. The following are several rules and regulations regarding bicycling in Florida that are important to follow:

 

  1. When riding on the street a bicyclist must obey the rules of the road just as a motorist would. The bicyclist must stop at signs, yield as necessary and use turn signals.

 

  1. When riding on the sidewalk, a bicyclist must obey all the rules that a pedestrian must observe and yield to pedestrians and give an audible warning when passing.

 

  1. When traveling slower than traffic, a bicyclist must ride to the right.

 

  1. Riders may never wear headsets.

 

  1. At night bicyclists must have a white light on the front, a red light and reflector on the rear, and it is always advisable to wear light-colored/reflective clothing.

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