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Warmer weather also increases danger for bicyclists in Florida

With spring just around the corner, some residents here in Florida are already preparing for the warmer weather by dusting off their bicycles and getting them ready for travel. But while there are a lot of benefits to cycling, such as lowering your risk of certain diseases and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, there are a few risks as well. One of those risks is suffering a serious or fatal injury because of negligent motorists.

In cities the world over, bicycles have become the preferred mode of transportation. In some cities, bicycles actually outnumber cars and other motor vehicles. But because bicyclists do not have a protective frame like a car, pedestrians are much more vulnerable to suffering catastrophic injuries. It's something researchers and city planners have been considering for quite some time, even here in Fort Walton.

Even if a pedestrian takes every precaution -- stopping at all traffic signals, constantly watching their surroundings, and wearing a bike helmet -- accidents can still happen. Take for example a pedestrian accident that happened in Copenhagen, Denmark. Although the rider was following traffic rules, a bus driver was not and after running a red light, the bus ran over the pedestrian, pinning her down and crushing her left foot. Part of her foot needed to be amputated because of the collision.

Her story is not unlike others seen here in Florida. Some accidents here have resulted in traumatic brain injuries and even fatalities. This is something we hope readers of our blog will keep in mind as the weather continues to improve and more people start riding their bikes across our state.

Source: CNN, “City cycling: Road to fitness, or accident waiting to happen?” Lesley Evans Ogden, Mar. 4, 2014

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