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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 04-29-09, 10:09 AM   #1
johnny99
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Florida is worst state in the USA for bicycling (again)

This article is based on 2007 data, which I believe is the most recent year with complete data from the NHTSA. The article was published yesterday on the Bicycle Retailer News web site. Two pieces of data in this article shocked me. First, Florida has more bicyclist fatalities than California, even though California has similar weather and double the population. Second, more than 1/4 of all USA bicycle fatalities occurs in Florida. Be careful out there.


http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/...tail/2644.html

04/28/2009 5:00 PM MST
Florida No. 1 Again in Bicycle Fatalities

TAMPA BAY, FL (BRAIN)—A Tampa Bay coalition of retail bicycle stores called SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) is requesting governments at all levels in Florida launch a campaign to fight the bicyclist fatality rate that is number one in the country again.

Florida had 119 bicyclists killed in 2007—the most in the country, according to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Second was California with 109 bicyclist fatalities in 2007, even though California has twice the population of Florida.

The total number of bicyclists killed in the country was 698 in 2007. Florida had 28 percent of all the bicyclist fatalities in the U.S. in '07.

Florida also had 6.52 bicyclists killed per million population—about three times the national average of 2.31 in 2007.

Second and third behind Florida in bicyclist fatality rates were Louisiana at 5.12 and South Carolina at 4.54 per million.

Texas, another warm weather state with more residents than Florida, had 48 bicyclist deaths in 2007—or a bicyclist fatality rate of 2.01, less than a third of Florida, according to the federal data.

"We need governments at all levels to encourage bicycling and also to design streets and roads that are safe for both bicyclists and cars to share," said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD, a coalition of eight retail bicycle stores and one lawyer in the Tampa Bay region committed to growing bicycling in the area.

"It's unacceptable that Florida continues to lead the nation year after year in not only the number of bicyclists killed but also the bicyclist fatality rate. Our bicyclist fatality rate is three times the national average and our governments need to do a better job at providing roads that safely accommodate bicyclists as much as they do cars."

Bicyclists accounted for 13 percent of all non-occupant traffic fatalities in 2007 and the 698 bicyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of the 41,049 traffic fatalities nationwide during 2007.

"The fact is thousands and thousands of Floridians ride their bicycles every day and we need to do everything we can as a state to make sure their rides are not perilous," Snel said.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:11 AM   #2
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there is a reason they call Florida, "God's waiting room for cyclists"
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Old 04-29-09, 10:15 AM   #3
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that's encouraging...
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Old 04-29-09, 10:18 AM   #4
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I blame old people with cars. I have no proof mind you, but it is their fault.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:20 AM   #5
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It's really not as bad as it sounds.

1) people ride here year round, so control for miles, and I'd be willing to bet the numbers are closer than calculated on population.

2) you can't generalize for the entire state. Given traffic, congestion and attitudes, I don't think riding in Miami would be a lot of fun. However, there's a lot more to Florida than South Florida.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:22 AM   #6
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I was TDY to Eglin AFB last week. All the roads on base had signs that said "No bicycles".

Eglin moved to the top of my "places Banzai never wants to be stationed" list.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
It's really not as bad as it sounds.

1) people ride here year round, so control for miles, and I'd be willing to bet the numbers are closer than calculated on population.

2) you can't generalize for the entire state. Given traffic, congestion and attitudes, I don't think riding in Miami would be a lot of fun. However, there's a lot more to Florida than South Florida.
People ride year round in lots of places. I ride year round in TX, which is NOT a cycling friendly state. I'd wager that AZ has a fair share of year round riders as well. And let's not forget CA. Most of those states are mentioned in the original article...so I think that throws your first hypothesis out the window.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
It's really not as bad as it sounds.

1) people ride here year round, so control for miles, and I'd be willing to bet the numbers are closer than calculated on population.

2) you can't generalize for the entire state. Given traffic, congestion and attitudes, I don't think riding in Miami would be a lot of fun. However, there's a lot more to Florida than South Florida.
People ride year round in California, too, and California has less than half the per-capita fatality rate. California has congestion, too.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:29 AM   #9
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It's really not as bad as it sounds.

1) people ride here year round, so control for miles, and I'd be willing to bet the numbers are closer than calculated on population.
That's why Texas and California were included for comparison. Being significantly worse than Texas is pretty bad.

Edit: beaten like a mule.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:31 AM   #10
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You have to compare actual biking hours to automobile traffic to get a real picture.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:32 AM   #11
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any statistics supporting my theory that this is directly related to the population of rednecks in florida?
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Old 04-29-09, 10:34 AM   #12
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I suspect it has a lot to do with the cyclists here. Most of the people here who ride bikes do it on the sidewalk, against traffic, no regard for traffic signals, etc. I have seen some crazy drivers, but I have also seen people do things on bicycles that seem absolutely suicidal.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:41 AM   #13
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I suspect it has a lot to do with the cyclists here. Most of the people here who ride bikes do it on the sidewalk, against traffic, no regard for traffic signals, etc. I have seen some crazy drivers, but I have also seen people do things on bicycles that seem absolutely suicidal.
Chicken and the egg: clearly designated bike lanes and paths do much to alleviate that problem, and as a result do much to reduce fatalities. I'm not familiar with the urban planning in Florida but in a state with no income tax I'm going to guess that there's not much dedicated to protecting cyclists. Is that true?
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Old 04-29-09, 10:42 AM   #14
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fyi - here is the state-by-state data from the NHTSA web site:
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810986.PDF
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Old 04-29-09, 10:44 AM   #15
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In Miami there are only a few areas that I know of that have dedicated bike lanes. These roads get pretty crowded. There are a few rural areas in the SW Miami-Dade county that you can ride and feel safe as well. The worst part is having to drive anywhere to ride as well as everything being super flat.

Looking at that list I note that California only has 10 less fatalities, thats not that wide of a margin.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:48 AM   #16
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smells like A&S to me...
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Old 04-29-09, 10:49 AM   #17
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any statistics supporting my theory that this is directly related to the population of rednecks in florida?
That's pretty much Jacksonville year round when it comes to cycling in public.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:54 AM   #18
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Florida is worst state in the USA
Agreed.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:55 AM   #19
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Looking at that list I note that California only has 10 less fatalities, thats not that wide of a margin.
With twice the population. The rate is far lower.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:55 AM   #20
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Chicken and the egg: clearly designated bike lanes and paths do much to alleviate that problem, and as a result do much to reduce fatalities. I'm not familiar with the urban planning in Florida but in a state with no income tax I'm going to guess that there's not much dedicated to protecting cyclists. Is that true?
I ride in the Lake Worth- West Palm area. Most of the routes I ride are on roads with bike lanes that are in urban areas. I would guess 90% of the other riders I see are sidewalk bicyclists, even on roads with bike lanes.
The only guys I see riding on the road or in bike lanes look like recreational riders instead of people who ride for transportation.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:05 AM   #21
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I blame old people with cars. I have no proof mind you, but it is their fault.
Old people account for nearly all of my close-calls. They either don't pay attention or don't care. I'm guessing that it's more the former than the latter based on the lack of any reaction when "thank" them loudly while skidding out of the way. This gets better during the summer because many of the problem drivers move back north.

In my area, almost all of the new roads (including modified and re-worked roads) and newer shopping areas have nice bike lanes and reasonable provisions for cycling. The older areas are horrible, though. Narrow roads, no shoulders, and/or dangerous lanes. I will say, though, that most motorists in my area seem to be fairly respectful (if not overly cautious) around cyclists. I try to stay off busy roads, though, so maybe that plays a big part.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:07 AM   #22
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Florida is the worst state in the USA


fixed it for ya
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Old 04-29-09, 11:13 AM   #23
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old people behind the wheel. a few years back, an elderly woman ran a red light, hit me and than ran off. Yes a hit and run. I actually rolled up on the hood of her car and into the windshield. In court she claimed she did not notice that her windshield had been smashed in.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:40 AM   #24
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After moving to Orlando from New Orleans a few years ago, I beg to differ. I agree there are a lot of first time drivers down here, but as far as actually being able to ride decent roads I have no complaints. I said a small prayer every time I left the house just because of the road conditions and traffic flow back home.
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Old 04-29-09, 11:40 AM   #25
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Quote:
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People ride year round in lots of places. I ride year round in TX, which is NOT a cycling friendly state. I'd wager that AZ has a fair share of year round riders as well. And let's not forget CA. Most of those states are mentioned in the original article...so I think that throws your first hypothesis out the window.
Virutally all of Florida is temperate during the Winter. Large portions of Texas, and Calfornia don't have a climate that leads to recreational riding all year long. Doesn't Dallas get ice storms in the winter?

Certainly you can ride in Texas in the winter, but that doesn't mean there are a lot of casual cyclists and children doing it ,and those are the groups that make up the bulk of the fatalities. I'm pretty sure on a given January day there are more people cycling in So Fl than in say Dallas.

The "warm weather state" is an extremely rough proxie for level of cycling participation. Until you control for either miles, or hours, you can't have a completely accurate picture.

We also lead the nation in lightning strike deaths, because people are outside a lot in Florida.
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