DELAND, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Five, in partnership with Volusia Sheriff’s Office (VSO), kicks off a celebration of National Bicycle Month, a time to recognize the important role of bicycles in providing transportation and recreation, and a time to remind drivers to share the road safely.
“Whether you bike to work or school, or for recreation, everyone has a right to arrive at their destination safely,” said Florida Department of Transportation Safety Administrator Loreen Bobo. “Always stay alert, be aware of your surroundings while driving, and always look right for bicyclists approaching in the bicycle lane before making a right turn.”
In Central Florida in 2021, there were 1,147 traffic crashes involving bicyclists. 37 bicyclists lost their lives and 1,070 were injured as a result of those crashes. Traffic crash statistics for 2022 have not yet been finalized, however, initial data from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reflects an approximate 9% increase in bicyclist fatalities on Central Florida roads.
“More people are cycling than ever before here in Central Florida, believe me, I’m one of them,” said Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood. “It’s my intention to protect everyone on the road. No matter what you ride or drive, please do your part by taking a moment to look twice and save a life.”
In Florida, more than 40% of traffic crashes involving bicyclists occur at intersections. While intersections may seem like simple parts of our daily commute, there are many moving parts which require a high level of concentration to navigate them safely.
“During National Bicycle Month, and throughout the year, we are calling on everyone in the community to work together to protect people on bikes,” said River To Sea Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Colleen Nicoulin.
Information to assist drivers to navigate intersections safety with bicyclists:
· In Florida, bicycles are legally vehicles. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
· A bicycle lane is a designated travel lane for bicyclists.
· At signalized intersections, drivers must yield to bicyclists using the bicycle lane before making a right turn, even when the signal is green.
· At unsignalized intersections such as crossroads and driveways, drivers must yield to an oncoming bicyclist using the bicycle lane or sidewalk before making a right turn.
Bicycle infrastructure, safer speeds, and public education and awareness assist in reducing traffic crashes involving bicyclists.
Using personal protective equipment such as bicycle helmets assist in reducing the severity of injuries resulting from traffic crashes.
For more information about bicycle safety, visit www.AlertTodayFlorida.com/bicycle.