The headlines are bad enough: Florida ranks year after year as one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists and pedestrians. Of all cyclist deaths in America, 17.4 percent occur in the Sunshine State, which only makes up 6 percent of the country’s population.
But in Miami-Dade County, the news is especially grim. It is easily the most deadly region in Florida for those traveling or foot or on bike, according to the annual crash report just released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety. Many deaths stem from negligence or illegal actions, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
So while Miami hospitals have been keeping busy, so have Miami wrongful death attorneys.
The numbers are alarming: 12 cyclists died in Miami-Dade County in 2009—seven more than the year before. And a total of 65 pedestrians were killed, marking the fifth consecutive year that Miami-Dade had more pedestrian deaths than any other county in Florida. There were 454 injured cyclists—second only to Broward County.
So what’s causing these troubling figures? A scarcity of bicycle lanes and adequate public transportation is partly to blame. Miami-Dade has just 61 miles of bike lanes, according to the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Many more miles are needed.
But bad driver behavior resulting in preventable, wrongful deaths earns perhaps the biggest share of responsibility. The first 2010 cyclist death in Miami-Dade—that of Christopher Le Canne—was caused by a drunk driver. Then in April, an intoxicated motorcyclist ran over a cyclist near the Soyka complex.
While accidents do happen, tragedies like these could be prevented, say Miami wrongful death attorneys, if only drivers, motorcyclists, and other bikers took reasonable care on the roads and did not engage in behavior that could hinder their reflexes and judgment.
But as the statistics continue to show, that’s wishful thinking, says Florida wrongful death lawyers Grossman Roth.
While Florida wrongful death lawyers like those at Grossman Roth, P.A. have had significant success in wrongful death lawsuits obtaining jury awards and settlements for families devastated by preventable roadside deaths, the recoveries are bittersweet. They can bring financial and even emotional healing, but they can never bring back a loved one.
One upside to this year’s crash report: The total number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths statewide have decreased. Cyclist deaths are down 15 percent, while pedestrian fatalities have dropped 4 percent.
That’s little comfort, though, to the families of those who never made it home.
For the full report, see the Florida Department of Highway Safety site.