Two deadly accidents over the weekend on the Treasure Coast and South Florida have shined the light on the dangers motorists pose to bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the local highways. A 76-year-old woman died after she was struck by a car when she was walking on the side of the road Friday. In a separate accident on Sunday, a 38-year-old man was killed when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
A Palm Harbor woman was walking her dog in her neighborhood around 6 p.m. Friday when she was hit by a vehicle. The driver did not stop, and when the woman was found authorities believed she had fallen and hit her head. The driver eventually returned to the scene and police are now investigating the accident as a homicide. The woman died 42 hours later in a Daytona Beach hospital.
In the tragic bicycle accident, two men were riding their bikes along Vero Beach around 9:30 p.m. Sunday when a vehicle came up behind them and struck both cyclists. Both riders were ejected from their bikes, with one dying at the scene and the second being treated for injuries at the local hospital. The driver fled the scene, but the police subsequently apprehended him.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, 630 bicyclists were killed and another 51,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. Bicyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.
In addition, the NHTSA reports in 2009, 4,092 pedestrians died in traffic crashes, and an estimated 59,000 pedestrians were injured. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
The NHTSA also found that more than 40 percent of fatal bicycle/motor vehicle accidents, and 48 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents, involved alcohol—either for the driver or the bicyclist or pedestrian.
In Florida, in 2010, 76 bicyclists died and 4,600 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. In the same year, 499 pedestrians lost their lives and 7,290 were injured after being struck by vehicles. Florida had the highest number of bicyclist fatalities and the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the country in 2009.
Bikers and pedestrians should do their part to be visible when out in the dark, but drivers should be especially vigilant. Florida residents must do their part to keep bikers and pedestrians safe when traveling our roadways.
Our Florida accident attorneys encourage drivers to stay alert and be aware of the high number of pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the roads. Given Florida’s mild temperatures, bikers, walkers and runners are out at all hours, and extra care should be taken when driving through neighborhoods.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims.
Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.