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America's most dangerous place for cyclists: Pinellas County in Florida

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America's most dangerous place for cyclists: Pinellas County in Florida

Old 09-25-18, 10:02 PM
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vol
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America's most dangerous place for cyclists: Pinellas County in Florida

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ride-bike.html (poorly edited article)

Pinellas County in Florida has the highest cyclist death rate in Tampa Bay, which has the highest rate of any metro region in the United States.

A total of 95 cyclists were killed in motor-vehicle crashes in the Sunshine State so far this year and fatalities will total 130 this year, which is the highest number since 2010

A range of likely reasons explains the rise in deaths, including more overall vehicular traffic and driver distractions, according to people who track transportation trends.

Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the non-profit National Safety Council said texting by drivers remains a big problem.

Florida’s population is older and more densely packed, and the state gets a steady influx of tourists unfamiliar with local roads, said transportation-safety consultant Pam Fischer, who wrote a report which examined bike-safety issues nationwide.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:27 PM
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Interesting, but I'd like to see the results adjusted by number of cyclists per capita, too. States with few cyclists, like my AL, didn't make the top 10 in this list, but adjusted I feel it would, unfortunately.
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Old 09-26-18, 06:24 AM
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stats can show anything, but for sure it's dangerous out there. As to the reasons, not only is distracted driving (cell phones) on the rise but also an anti-bike mindset, and people being hit on purpose
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Old 09-26-18, 06:40 AM
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Fortunately, those stats really only apply the south Florida. Up in the less populated regions where I reside, drivers are pretty friendly and the roads aren't nearly as crowded. We have deaths of course, but it seems that the 4 major metro areas in the southern part of the state are what keep us at the top of the national list. I've never tried riding in those areas and really wouldn't want to.
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Old 09-26-18, 06:51 AM
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The report seems to suggest that the relatively older population (retirees moving to FL?) in FL is also a factor, perhaps referring to elderly drivers?
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Old 09-26-18, 09:25 AM
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I would say elderly drivers are definitely contributing to cyclists being struck based on my own riding
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Old 09-26-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
Interesting, but I'd like to see the results adjusted by number of cyclists per capita, too. States with few cyclists, like my AL, didn't make the top 10 in this list, but adjusted I feel it would, unfortunately.
Exactly! Florida is flat and hot all year round. I bet there are a lot more cyclists per capita than in most other parts of the US.
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Old 09-26-18, 11:13 AM
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I believe that Florida has a similar bicycling rate as California, but the chart shows that Florida has double the fatality rate. California also has lots of traffic. The problem with Florida is that car speeds are too high for the road widths and the government really doesn't care.
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Old 09-26-18, 12:51 PM
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Florida man lives there, you bet it's dangerous!
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Old 09-26-18, 06:59 PM
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I recall Tampa Bay being one of the cities that cyclist often complained about police harassment of demanding cyclist stay out of the lane and if cyclist did get hit, police showed little interest in a real investigation.
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Old 09-27-18, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
The report seems to suggest that the relatively older population (retirees moving to FL?) in FL is also a factor, perhaps referring to elderly drivers?
Based on my visits to FL, the stereotype of grandpa who care barely see over the steering wheel of his giant car driving 10 mph below the speed limit in the passing lane has some basis in fact.
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Old 09-27-18, 09:04 AM
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The local press has been playing this story up at bit. I thought I heard at least one police department was going to take some action. However, the last time this came up a number of years ago the Mayor of St. Petersburg vowed to do something...and proceeded to order the police department to crack down on cyclist.
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Old 09-27-18, 04:29 PM
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It's one reason I'm impressed with Cycling Savvy.

It's one thing to come up riding strategies in Southern California, quite another to do so in Flori-duh.

I've ridden there, it's intense.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
I believe that Florida has a similar bicycling rate as California, but the chart shows that Florida has double the fatality rate. California also has lots of traffic. The problem with Florida is that car speeds are too high for the road widths and the government really doesn't care.
I can't say I've seen that anywhere in FL. As far as Pinellas County, it's about 100% urban. Maybe some small areas around Oldsmar could be considered less urban. Major roads seem to have decent (not perfect shoulders). For example, US 19 from about the middle of Pasco County all the way to the AL state line. Once in AL there is zero paved shoulder. Near me they upgraded State Route 52 (a main E-W road in Pasco County) with bike lane marked shoulders from US19 to the toll road which also has a MUP running along it going into Hernando County. Now the back roads are like most in the rural south and often narrow for the traffic volume of F150s/RAMs which I don't think is the elderly vehicle of choice. I would also say the Sun Coast / Nature Coast over the years has much less fraction of retirees. Many homes that were occupied by snowbirds are now occupied by working-class families who can only afford a modest 2BR.

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Old 09-28-18, 08:47 PM
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I commute daily in Tampa proper. It gets scary at times because a lot of drivers here aren’t used to seeing cyclists on the road and seem to panic immediately when they encounter a cyclist. I get honked at more here than anywhere else I’ve lived— even on wide roads when I’m fully to the right of the lane.

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Old 09-29-18, 01:01 PM
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I did 15-years of daily commute/transport in the Greater Orlando area---back before there were bike lanes.

I think the issue is plain bad driving.

There are a lot of low-income transients looking for work, driving crap cars, and not occasionally intoxicated to a mild degree (in my experience.) There are a lot of harried, selfish, unhappy, impatient commuters trapped in traffic on roads never designed to handle the volume of traffic they get. For many hours of the day, traffic is stop-and-go on Any major (more than two lanes) road going anywhere, the highway (I-4) included, and any "back roads" or "short cuts" have been so thoroughly explored that even those roads are choked with congestion.

It is easy to make bad decisions when half awake in the morning or half worn out in the evening, when hurrying to get home, get kids, run errands, and do it all again the next day.

Add to that the snowbirds (elderly people who come down just for the winter---which is also school season.)

Driving standards aren't as low as say, in Beijing, but traffic laws (and the laws of physics)a re often treated as suggestions, or nuisances---or forgotten entirely.

While the people who aggressively didn't like cyclists were more outspoken (throwing stuff or vehicles squeezing cyclists off the road were more common) I don't think people were freaked out by cyclists---they just saw cyclists as further impediments to getting wherever they needed to be, and since bikes can scratch paint but not do significant body damage tot eh car, it was more acceptable (to the drivers) to risk hitting a bike---besides, as every driver knows, bikes have to pull over or stop for cars ... right?

Not sure if drivers have become unused to cyclists in the time since i left the area.
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Old 09-30-18, 11:45 PM
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I read a lot of crazy tales about Florida on Yahoo, and I tell them that Florida is Seminole for 'our revenge'.
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Old 10-06-18, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
I would say elderly drivers are definitely contributing to cyclists being struck based on my own riding
Here's what I've noticed -- an elderly person will NEVER move over a bit if that causes them to cross the center line. There could be no traffic either way for miles, and they'll zoom by you and not move. Add to that no spatial awareness, poorer response time, and perhaps even poorer vision, and you have high danger.

I've completely changed my riding for this reason -- I try to ride more on bike paths and less on roads, even though the bike paths are bumpy and have runners, dog walkers, and a plague of stupid golf carts driven by reckless teens.

No, it's not a pretty picture. I carry ID, a cell phone, and make sure my health and life insurance is paid up.
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Old 10-06-18, 04:53 PM
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Florida's biggest problem is poor driver education, and second, cyclist recognition and support by law enforcement. The Florida culture simply see bikes as toys and not as legal vehicles when on the road.
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Old 10-13-18, 10:22 AM
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Yet...they keep right on cycling there...

Notice my home state is #2 . Which is why I gave up recreational cycling a few years ago. I'm am not a slow learner.

My biggest "fans" on BF only need to read this thread. "Oh, climbing the stairs in your house is dangerous too!" AhhhHahahahahahahaha!!!
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Old 10-13-18, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FloridaDave View Post
Here's what I've noticed -- an elderly person will NEVER move over a bit if that causes them to cross the center line. There could be no traffic either way for miles, and they'll zoom by you and not move. Add to that no spatial awareness, poorer response time, and perhaps even poorer vision, and you have high danger.

.
I have made the same observation about elderly drivers. Even in a zone where passing is perfectly legal, they don't want to cross the center line.
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Old 10-13-18, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Yet...they keep right on cycling there...

Notice my home state is #2 . Which is why I gave up recreational cycling a few years ago. I'm am not a slow learner.

My biggest "fans" on BF only need to read this thread. "Oh, climbing the stairs in your house is dangerous too!" AhhhHahahahahahahaha!!!
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Joey, everyone has a place in their risk/reward assessment where they decide the risk isn't worth the potential gain. You have made it clear where yours is, so I am not sure what your goal is in continuing to mention it. I try to avoid the roads around here any time other than early Saturday and Sunday mornings. From about 7-9 on weekends, I have the roads almost completely to myself. I enjoy my rides right through the heart of the city during the quiet of weekend mornings and consider them safer than rush hour jockeying for position in my steel cage on the interstate. It seems like most of the drunks have made it home by then and the ones with hangovers haven't started heading to Waffle House. We all know that even under ideal circumstances all it takes is one idiot to turn our lights out, but we consider the chances small enough that we are willing to take the risk.
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Old 10-13-18, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I have made the same observation about elderly drivers. Even in a zone where passing is perfectly legal, they don't want to cross the center line.
Every time you change direction you increase the likelihood on having an accident.
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Old 10-13-18, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
I don't know if states have tried to establish exposure hours for the average bicyclist, if they could even come up with a reasonable estimate. It stands to reason though that Florida with its year round good weather will have higher exposure hours per rider. Beyond that, there's more of a bicycling culture in FL than here in LA. Our drivers are fat, out of shape, poorly educated and angry. I bet we are worse than Florida when exposure hours are factored in. With the exception of Delaware and Michigan, it seems the other states tend to have good weather and a strong cycling culture.

It also helps to look at who is dying and how. In the metro NOLA area, most of the time I am able to get good information the rider turns out to be a salmoning Huffy rider or someone riding at night with no lights.

The data tells us if we ride on the correct side of the road and avoid running at night, or if we do using good lights, we cut the above numbers in half. Don't ride on sidewalks and stay out of the door zone and you further reduce your chances of being taken out. Drive defensively when you might have left turners or right hookers and you further improve your odds. Stay on high alert at intersections and things get better yet. The single most difficult accident to avoid is a rear strike or rear sideswipe. There are things we can do to mitigate those risks as well.
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Old 10-13-18, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by paul barnard View Post

...there are things we can do to mitigate those risks...
Amen

Last edited by JoeyBike; 10-13-18 at 11:15 PM.
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