Bicycling advocate is pleased with legislative progress on pedestrian and cyclist safety
This year the Florida Legislature passed several bills that could improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Advocates hope the new policies will help to reduce the number of fatalities.
Tim Bustos, Executive Director of the Florida Bicycle Association says Florida has a tragic record of pedestrian and cycling fatalities. His group takes an active role in improving safety.
âFlorida has not faired well for bicycle and pedestrian safety over the last several years. There was actually a report published by the organization called Transportation for America that rated Florida as the highest bicycle crash rate in the nation got both bicycles and pedestrian crashes. As a matter of fact, four out of the top 10 most dangerous cities for walking and biking are in Florida.â
Bustos says there are issues that naturally put Florida at a higher risk for bike and pedestrian fatalities.
âFlorida has a number of variables that a lot of states donât have. Thereâs a higher exposure level because Florida is one of those states where you can ride year round. Weâve got a lot of people coming into the state either to move or for vacation that arenât that knowledgeable about biking issues thatâs contributing to the problem. We also have a really high elderly population which I am told by my insurance agent that is one reason why we all pay such high insurance premiums. Thereâs a really high population of elderly people that are driving that shouldnât be.â
Bustos says now pedestrians and cyclists have more freedom to travel because they donât have to stay in designated bike lanes.
âItâs a big job; itâs nothing people are just going to notice overnight. But thereâs already some changes in place. We just got a significant grant to work with law enforcement so they can work with us as partners to help reduce crashes. So, itâs a group effort.â
Bustos expects more funding for pedestrian pathways and trails and he hopes Floridaâs tragic pedestrian and bicycle statistics will change with increased awareness of the issue.comments powered by Disqus