Florida has consistently snagged the dishonorable title as the nation's most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians. But on Tuesday, it was Miami-Dade that got the crummy prize.
Twelve cyclists died in the county in 2009, seven more than the year before, and the most of any county in the state, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety's annual crash report, released yesterday. Plus 65 pedestrians died on our streets, the most in the state and a dishonor we've won consecutively since 2005.
In injuries for cyclists, we rank second, with 454, behind Broward. So what gives? Shouldn't a county tailor-made for biking have fewer deaths on the road? There are several answers to that question.
Most activists point to the lack of bicycle lanes and proper public transportation. According to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are only 61 miles of bike lanes in the Miami-Dade. By comparison, in the most populous county in the nation, Los Angeles, there were 33 deaths resulting from accidents in 2008. But, of course, L.A. has at least 400 miles of bike lanes.
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To recap, here are just a few of the accidents we've covered: The first major cyclist death this year was Christopher Le Canne's. Besides the drunk driver who hit Le Canne, a drunk motorcyclist ran over a biker near the Soyka complex in April, a bus driver crushed a Miami Beach's cyclist's legs in May, and another bus driver struck again later that month.
On the upside, the report shows that at the state level, cyclist and pedestrian deaths have decreased by 15 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
For the full report, visit the Highway Safety site. Crash stats go back as far as 1994.