These Florida Cities are the Most Dangerous for Bicyclists and Pedestrians
The last few years have been amazing for the bike business. In the U.S., COVID-19 made more people ride bikes than ever before. Taking the bus or train made us feel less safe than walking or biking alone. And a lot of people had more time to ride bikes for fun. Which meant there weren’t enough bikes across the country in the spring and summer of 2020.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that from 2019 to 2020, all types of traffic deaths on roads rose by 6.8 percent. This was true even though many roads had much less car traffic.
As a general rule, 7 or 8 points in a row on a graph are needed for experts to really see if there is a trend in one way or another. If you want to be sure that something is really going up or down, you have to watch it for almost ten years. That’s why it’s risky to draw firm conclusions from just one year to the next.
Still, it’s concerning when statistics back up what many riders think: that drivers are mean to them and can’t share the roads or watch out for less fortunate users. Business Insider said that 938 pedalcyclists (people riding bikes and other two-wheeled non-motorized vehicles driven by pedals) or tricycles and unicycles were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. This is 9% more than the 2019 number, according to the NHTSA. The National Safety Council says that several hundred other cyclists were killed in crashes that were not related to traffic.
When it comes to places that treat people on bikes badly, it’s easy to tell. Bicyclists can tell when drivers are angry because they don’t want to share the road with them, even if nothing goes wrong.
The NHTSA recently found that among U.S. towns with more than 500,000 people, Tucson, Arizona, had 1.26 deaths per 100,000 people, making it the most dangerous big city for cyclists. With 1.2 deaths per 100,000 people, Detroit, Michigan is the second most dangerous city. Jacksonville, Florida, is the third most dangerous, with 1.09 deaths per 100,000 people.
Most Dangerous Bicycling Cities
The study says that all 10 of the most dangerous cities are in the South or West. These areas have experienced rapid growth in recent years, which has led to the building of many high-speed urban roads that are very dangerous for walking.
Another troubling fact about the data on the dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists is that it affects minorities more than it does white people. The Dangerous By Design study found that African Americans and Hispanics walk more and drive less than other groups.
For these groups, walking is an important way to get around—nearly 20% of African American households and 14% of Hispanic households don’t have a car. African Americans walk for 26% more trips than white people, and Hispanics walk for almost 45% more trips. In 2009, African Americans made 11.9% of trips on foot, while whites only made 9.4% of trips on foot. Hispanics made nearly 14% of trips on foot. Also, these groups have a lot more accidents and deaths involving pedestrians.
A Study Suggests Ways to Fix this Terrible Problem
Part of what it says is that people should hold states responsible for making neighborhoods safe for walking. People on foot, bikes, public transit, and cars should all feel safe on the new streets that are being built. The most dangerous roads need to be fixed up to make them safer.
The Dangerous By Designs study isn’t the only one that says Florida’s towns are very unsafe for walking and biking. The Alliance For Biking and Walking is a group of U.S. support groups for walking and biking. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention gave the Alliance money to carefully study and write the Bicycling and Walking 2010 Benchmarking Report. The 51 largest cities in the U.S. were asked to send information about problems with biking and walking for the study.
After two years, the Alliance put out a second study called the Bicycling and Walking 2012 Benchmarking study. These reports check to see if states and towns are IMPROVING the number of people who walk and bike, the level of safety, and the level of government support by giving money and making laws and policies that are good for biking and walking.
- Florida had the most deaths of people riding bikes or walking than any other state in the U.S.
- This was the most dangerous state in the U.S. for pedestrians.
- Jacksonville was the most dangerous place in the U.S. for feet.
- Miami was the second most dangerous place in the U.S. for biking. This was the fifth worst city.
- That’s #47 out of 50 states for the most people who walk to work. (They’re afraid of getting hurt or killed.)
- Of the 51 towns ranked, #48 had the most people who walk to work.