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Florida No. 1 Again in Bicycle Fatalities

Published April 28, 2009

TAMPA BAY, FL (BRAIN)—A Tampa Bay coalition of retail bicycle stores called SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) is requesting governments at all levels in Florida launch a campaign to fight the bicyclist fatality rate that is number one in the country again.

Florida had 119 bicyclists killed in 2007—the most in the country, according to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Second was California with 109 bicyclist fatalities in 2007, even though California has twice the population of Florida.

The total number of bicyclists killed in the country was 698 in 2007. Florida had 28 percent of all the bicyclist fatalities in the U.S. in '07.

Florida also had 6.52 bicyclists killed per million population—about three times the national average of 2.31 in 2007.

Second and third behind Florida in bicyclist fatality rates were Louisiana at 5.12 and South Carolina at 4.54 per million.

Texas, another warm weather state with more residents than Florida, had 48 bicyclist deaths in 2007—or a bicyclist fatality rate of 2.01, less than a third of Florida, according to the federal data.

"We need governments at all levels to encourage bicycling and also to design streets and roads that are safe for both bicyclists and cars to share," said Alan Snel, director of SWFBUD, a coalition of eight retail bicycle stores and one lawyer in the Tampa Bay region committed to growing bicycling in the area.

"It's unacceptable that Florida continues to lead the nation year after year in not only the number of bicyclists killed but also the bicyclist fatality rate. Our bicyclist fatality rate is three times the national average and our governments need to do a better job at providing roads that safely accommodate bicyclists as much as they do cars."

Bicyclists accounted for 13 percent of all non-occupant traffic fatalities in 2007 and the 698 bicyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of the 41,049 traffic fatalities nationwide during 2007.

"The fact is thousands and thousands of Floridians ride their bicycles every day and we need to do everything we can as a state to make sure their rides are not perilous," Snel said.

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