Tops Deadliest Places to Ride a Bike in Florida

Venturing out on a bicycle in Florida could be far riskier than in any other US state, suggests a recent analysis of federal highway data by the Guardian.

An in-depth examination conducted by the injury law firm Bader Scott, utilizing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, highlights a startling reality: Florida claims seven spots in the top ten counties for bicycle fatalities in the nation, based on incidents from 2017 to 2021.

This analysis focused on the 200 most populous counties in America, uncovering a particularly dire situation in Florida. Pasco County, situated near Tampa, reported the highest number of cycling fatalities.

Despite having a population of only 562,000, the county witnessed 40 cycling deaths during the study period, equating to approximately 7.12 deaths per 100,000 residents, showcasing the severe risks cyclists face in the area.

Other states such as Louisiana and California also feature on this disheartening list, but Florida’s dominance is unmatched. Here is a breakdown of the ten counties with the highest cyclist death rates:

  • Pasco County, Florida: 40 deaths; 7.12 per 100,000 residents
  • Sarasota County, Florida: 24 deaths; 5.53 per 100,000
  • Manatee County, Florida: 21 deaths; 5.24 per 100,000
  • East Baton Rouge County, Louisiana: 23 deaths; 5.04 per 100,000
  • Pinellas County, Florida: 48 deaths; 5 per 100,000
  • Orleans County, Louisiana: 19 deaths; 4.95 per 100,000
  • Volusia County, Florida: 27 deaths; 4.88 per 100,000
  • San Joaquin County, California: 37 deaths; 4.75 per 100,000
  • Marion County, Florida: 17 deaths; 4.52 per 100,000
  • Hillsborough County, Florida: 66 deaths; 4.52 per 100,000

These figures underscore the systemic nature of road safety issues rather than isolated incidents of poor judgment by individuals.

The design of road infrastructure plays a crucial role in the safety of all users, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Despite the high costs and efforts required to overhaul this infrastructure, such initiatives are vital for enhancing safety and reducing fatalities.

The disproportionate risk to cyclists is evident in broader statistics as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, although cycling accounts for only 1% of all trips in the US, cyclists represent 2% of all road traffic fatalities.

On average, 17 cyclists lose their lives each week on US roads, culminating in approximately 1,000 deaths annually. Additionally, around 130,000 cyclists sustain injuries each year, further highlighting the urgent need for improved road safety measures to protect this vulnerable group.