Another Tragic Cycling Accident
A tragic bicycling accident on Key Biscayne early Wednesday morning further emphasizes the need for South Florida government officials to get serious about providing safe, well-marked paths for bicyclists to use in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Two cyclists, Walter Reyes and Henry Hernandez, were riding their bicycles on Crandon Boulevard on Key Biscayne when they were hit by a driver in a Volkswagen Jetta. The two cyclists were riding their bikes at approximately 5:15 a.m. when the accident occurred. Mr. Reyes died at the scene, while Mr. Hernandez is in serious condition at Mercy Hospital.
As an avid cyclist, attorney Joseph Maus, sees the frustration between cyclists and motorists who encounter them on roadways. “There needs to be designated pathways solely for bicyclists, otherwise accidents like this one are going to continue to happen”, Maus says. And even when there are designated bicycle lanes, Maus says cyclists continually encounter runners that prefer to run in the bike lanes rather than on the sidewalks. Between cars and trucks trying to get around the cyclists, and runners that don’t want to get out of the way of cyclist, cycling accident are going to continue to happen.
And they’re happening at an increasing and alarming rate. On Key Biscayne alone, there have been 3 hit and run deaths in the past 5 years. In Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, there have been 1,549 bicycle accident between 2011 and 2013, and 33 cycling deaths in the same period. The frequency of cycling accidents in Palm Beach County is no different with 1,347 bicycle accidents and 23 cycling deaths between 2011 and 2013.
The worst part of the statistics is that approximately 50% of the bicycle deaths in accidents occur when the cyclists are struck from behind by a vehicle. This is what happened in the Key Biscayne accident involving Mr. Reyes and Mr. Hernandez. What is even more frightening is that Mr. Reyes’ bicycle was equipped with safety lights which continued to flash as the police were investigating the accident.
Attorney Maus says there are some precautions bicyclists can take to minimize their chance of having a serious cycling accident while riding:
- Wear reflective clothing – many bicycle gear companies make cycling shorts, shirts, and outerwear with reflective stripes that will make you more visible to cars and trucks passing by;
- Equip your bike and/or helmet with a bright headlight for the front and flashing lights to the rear to alert drivers of your presence;
- Respect traffic signals – stop at all traffic lights and stop signs;
- Ride only on roadways with designated bicycle paths; and
- ride single file – even with a good bicycle path, two riders riding alongside each other can’t both ride in the bike path. Drivers need to respect bicyclists, but bicyclists need to respect the needs of drivers too.