Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Behind those fatal bicycle crashes

Digging for an explanation of Florida's high numbers of bicyclist deaths, the Independent Florida Alligator finds a disparity in education. Cyclists are often instructed on their responsibilities as road users, but motorists less so. It's not a definitive report, but it's better than most I've seen. Check it out.

The death number -- 124 in Florida during 2005 -- has been mentioned at every public meeting of bicyclists I've attended for several months. It represents 3.5 percent of Florida's total traffic deaths that year. Only the District of Columbia, at 6.3 percent, has a higher ratio of bicycle to total traffic deaths. But New York, Arizona and Hawaii are close behind us, at 3.3 percent, 3 percent and 2.9 percent. Do you see any pattern here?

If the Florida number is meaningful, and cause for the alarm that cyclists so often attach to it, I would think we'd find something significant that our state holds in common with the District, New York, Arizona and Hawaii. Help me out here, folks. Are the numbers more than historical data?

The numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in an annual Traffic Safety Fact Sheet.

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