In Florida and nationwide, the number of deaths in bicycle accidents is rising. Advocates say bicycle safety needs to be improved.
According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of bicycle fatalities rose by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012. There were 621 bicycle deaths in 2010, 680 in 2011 and 722 in 2012.
The authors of the association’s report said that the increase in fatalities does not necessarily mean that bicycling is becoming more dangerous. It is more likely that the change is occurring because bicycling is simply becoming more popular. As more people use bicycles, the raw number of deaths has increased. It is difficult to measure whether bicycling is also becoming more dangerous in comparison, because there are no national statistics kept on the popularity of riding bicycles.
Still, bike safety advocates agree that even one death is too many, and that changes, like better bike lanes, are needed.
The problem is particularly severe in Florida. In Florida, 120 bicyclists were killed in 2012. Both in terms of raw numbers and as a percentage of the population, Florida has ranked as the deadliest state for bicycle riders in the country for many years. The state’s death rate for bicycle riders is three times higher than the national rate, and Tampa and Orlando are consistently ranked as the nation’s deadliest metropolitan areas for bicyclists.