FDOT Study Examines Bicycle Crash Patterns

If you have never been injured in a bicycling accident, then it may seem like one of the most enjoyable and healthy forms of exercise one could enjoy. After all, what could go wrong as you innocently take in the fresh air and the natural landscape, working your heart and lungs, and burning calories like crazy? Unfortunately, plenty. And this is not usually the bicyclist’s fault. As usual—and as in the case of motorcyclist accidents and pedestrian injuries—motorists are your greatest threat. Florida is evidence of this danger too, listed as one of the top states for bicyclist fatalities.

The state has been working to solve the problem, with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performing an analysis on bike crashes last year. As far back as 2014, Florida was leading in bicyclist fatalities, and the numbers continue to be concerning each year. In their report, researchers explore causes and patterns of such accidents, along with pinpointing ‘hot spots,’ and ways to prevent crashes. They also create crash modification factors for evaluating to ‘assess safety effects of common engineering treatments on bicycle safety.’

In their analysis, the researchers examined 26,036 crashes occurring between 2011 and 2014, finding that age and sex figured into fatalities, with elderly bicyclists and men more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. Fatalities also occurred more frequently for bicyclists riding at night, for bicyclists riding against the flow of traffic, and for those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The analysis also includes many other detailed facts and statistics:

“The majority of bicycle crashes occurred on urban roadways; only 1.2% of all crashes that occurred on state roads occurred in rural areas,” states the report. “In terms of crash severity, 16.9% of all bicycle crashes that occurred on rural facilities resulted in fatalities while only 2.5% of those that occurred on urban facilities resulted in fatalities.”

“The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 43 years, while the average age of bicyclists involved in traffic crashes was 33.8 years. Among the different age groups, bicyclists between 45 and 54 years of age experienced the highest fatality rate of 19.76 fatalities per year per million population, and those in 65- to 74-year age group experienced the highest injury rate of 875.43 injuries per year per million population.”

The researchers point out the four main crash types:

  • The driver of a car turns right as a bicyclist is crossing.
  • Cars turn left facing bicyclists.
  • Bicyclists ride out into intersections.
  • Motorists run stop signs.

They also identified other reasons for accidents, to include lack of illumination at night in towns and cities, disregard for traffic laws, U-turns, bicyclists hitting car doors, complex intersections, and more.

As for measures to be taken in preventing further crashes, the team suggests more specific areas for bikes. Along with bike lanes, they suggest bicycle tracks and bicycle boulevards (‘defined as traffic-calmed side streets signed and improved for bicyclists to provide a safer alternative to riding on arterials’). Wider curb lanes, speed humps, lane reductions, and raised medians are suggested, along with more crosswalks and roadway lights.

Citing that bicycle crashes make up 5.6 traffic fatalities but overall only make up 1.9 percent of total accidents, the researchers point out that many bicycling accidents are severe.

“Drivers were found to be at-fault in 45.7% (1,321 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes while bicyclists were at-fault in 30.2% (871 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes. Both bicyclists and drivers were found to be at-fault in very few crashes (0.8%, 22 of 2,888 bicycle crashes),” states the report.

Both drivers and bicyclists tended to be at fault when not yielding right-of-way, ignoring traffic rules, and driving carelessly.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Intersections: All Travelers Must Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Injury

The roads are full of hazards. While you may find yourself driving white-knuckled to work in rain or snow or weaving through road construction zones that sometimes seem like an extremely difficult and unfair road test, there are many, many other dangers that cannot be underestimated—and both sadly and unfortunately, most of these other hazards are presented by humans and could be prevented in many cases.

Distracted driving is one of the greatest dangers to everyone traveling today, and that goes for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone on the road. With driving and texting being one of the biggest quotients in distracted driving, states such as Florida have made such activity illegal.

Still, however, thousands of lives are claimed each year. And while that may be a host of new problems motorists and law enforcement officials are forced to deal with, most of the other issues still plague the roads too such as drunk driving, speeding, and other reckless behaviors, even including those who may simply be drowsy.

Your greatest weapon as a motorist is in defensive driving! And while this begins as soon as you put on your seatbelt and turn your key in the ignition, there are hotspots that require extra precautions, from following direction at stoplights and stop signs, to ensuring that you are giving other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians right of way as required. Intersections are the one of the most high-risk zones.

Obviously—and especially in larger cities—there is a lot going on at most intersections, and especially during rush hour. You must navigate lanes, stoplights, turning, and all the while there may be other traffic crossing too such as adults and children on bikes or people traveling on foot.

Crashes at intersections tend to be even worse. While motorists making left turns must be cautious, this is even more true for those traveling on two wheels. Motorcyclists or bicyclists in traffic should always doublecheck before turning and even attempt to make eye contact with motorists if possible.

Extreme alertness is required by all parties to avoid any potential for a crash. Motorists who run red lights also put everyone in grave danger, most commonly sideswiping others traveling innocently along. Rear-endings are a common type of accident at intersections too, with any of these crashes leading to the possibility of fatalities or harm such as:

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Open Car Doors Pose Injury to Bicyclists

Bicycling may have changed quite a bit from the days of yore when kids (and often quite young ones!) traveled all over town daily, from going to school and seeing friends afterward, to traveling to the neighborhood candy store. As adults though, many of us still enjoy two-wheel travel. Except for start-up cost and a small amount of maintenance, bicycling is free—depending only on our energy for travel. The health benefits of bicycling are vast, from strengthening our cardiovascular health to building muscles and bones, promoting weight loss, fighting off the potential for diabetes, and so much more.

Safety is a major issue today for bicyclists though—and one that must not be overlooked as traffic deaths continue to rise in the US—and bicycle (and pedestrian) fatalities continue to be a concern for Florida especially. While recent news has examined why Florida seems to be such a dangerous place for bicyclists, cities and towns continue to try and make many areas safer, along with putting more emphasis on public safety tips. And while it might seem like a common-sense issue, car doors being opened suddenly are a common source of bicyclists who may be traveling at a good clip only to be smacked by a motorist exiting their vehicle quickly (also known as ‘getting doored’). Both parties should be watching out for each other in traffic, as severe injury could be caused to the bicyclist, and the motorist be may be found at fault for negligence; however, if you are a bicyclist, it is more important than ever to ‘ride’ defensively.

Other accidents are commonly caused at crosswalk areas, intersections, and in both rear-end and head-on collisions in traffic. Kids tend to have the highest injury rate due to vulnerability in size and lack of experience on the road, but anyone is at risk when facing a 4,000 lb. (or more) vehicle. Head injuries, paralysis, broken bones, road rash, and much more may be caused during a bicycle crash. Protective gear (beginning with the helmet) is vital, along with following traffic rules and staying alert.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Child Drownings Increasing in Florida

Whether you have lived in Florida your whole life or just enjoyed traveling there, and perhaps far more than once, there are probably a lot of great memories centered around the pool area. Not only is swimming a great way to burn calories, get in excellent cardio exercise, build muscle strength, and offer so many more benefits to your health, gathering around the pool itself is often a great way to relax. In Florida, the pool is a popular venue for birthday parties, get togethers, cookouts, and so much more. You may find yourself dreaming about a vacation where you just spend days there, lying in the sun, reading a good book, and taking the requisite dip as needed to cool off.

While the kids play, and you relax, however, safety must always be at the top of the mind—with even more diligence due as recent news proclaims Florida the leader in swimming pool accidents, and even more frightening: more children died in swimming pool accidents in Florida last year than any other state. Warm weather year-round, and more places to swim in general, make it obvious why there are more accidents—but a 20 percent increase in deaths (from 40 to 51 fatalities) should get everyone’s attention.

A recent study by the USA Swimming Foundation showed that of the 51 children who drowned in Florida last year (all under the age of 15), the majority were under five years old. Not only that, across the US, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four. The top states for leading in child drownings are as follows:

  • Florida (51 fatalities)
  • Arizona (25 fatalities)
  • Texas (25 fatalities)
  • California (20 fatalities)
  • Georgia (12 fatalities)

What further actions can you take to ensure safety for your child while swimming? Most importantly, create strong swimmers. Attending swimming lessons throughout the years will allow them to continue honing their skills—and many children take that one step further by competing on swim teams. Along with that, be sure that kids have a safe place to swim, as improper pool maintenance (especially in terms of drain covers) can lead to injuries. Everyone who is old enough to be licensed (usually by nine) should learn CPR, and children should always be supervised while swimming, with access to a safety flotation device nearby.

Were you or your child injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of others? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Florida’s Bike Trails: Keeping Your Family Safe

Biking in Florida is one of the most fulfilling activities families can enjoy together. And while it is certainly an exercise that is enjoyed alone too for a variety of health benefits to include working the heart and lungs, preventing obesity, and building strong bones and muscles, bicycling can be greatly enjoyed in groups and of course, there is always greater protection in numbers. Whether you are planning a quick outing with the kids though—or mapping out a day trip on one of Florida’s great bike trails—everyone’s safety comes first.

Protective Gear is a Must

Bicycle accidents can occur due to obstacles on the road or path, collisions with others they are traveling with, efforts to avoid pedestrians or pets, and more. Be sure that everyone is wearing protective gear, with the understanding that kids under 16 must be equipped with a bicycle helmet that meets federal standard guidelines. A bike path is a better place for those who like to carry on at a leisurely pace rather than rapid cycling as there tends to be so much more traffic—including other families on foot with babies and toddlers in strollers. And although it may sound dramatic for traveling on a bike path, it is true that passing should be done with extreme caution as those walking, riding, or running may tend to be more erratic in pace and movement. Right of way should always be given to pedestrians, and all traffic signs (and yes even speed limit signs!) should be followed.

Take Note that Florida Leads in Bicyclist Fatalities

The most serious threat to you or your children while traveling on two wheels though is always other motorists. Chances are if you are out and about on bikes—whether in a small town or a larger city—you will have to navigate through some traffic. These aren’t the roads you traveled as a kid on a bike, keep in mind. Recent news continues to stress that Florida tops the nation for bicyclist fatalities, with a death rate 60 percent higher than neighboring states. Because of this, everyone—and most importantly children due to their added vulnerability—must understand how important it is to be visible, follow traffic rules, and be extremely defensive as riders.

Make Sure Your Bike is in Good Working Order 

As an added tip, don’t forget to ensure that the kids’ bikes and yours are in tiptop shape when traveling. Bicycles are usually fairly low-maintenance, but it is vital to make sure the horn and any lights work, that the chain is properly lubricated, tires are filled and able to keep air, and most importantly—that the brakes are in good working order.

Contact Us for Help!

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Kids on Bicycles: Be Aware of Distracted Motorists

It’s a sad state of things when kids must overcompensate for negligent drivers who may not see them because they are too busy texting and driving, but as traffic deaths and car accidents continue to increase in the US, that is the reality. The dangers of bicycle riding are starkly juxtaposed with a long list of health benefits as getting out on two wheels in the fresh air offers more than just cardio exercise but also contributes to good bone and muscle growth, and helps prevent obesity, risk of diabetes, and so much more. And while we don’t want our younger children or other family members to miss out on bike riding, safety issues abound and must be addressed.

Distracted drivers wreak havoc on the roads nationwide each day. Disturbing trends have traveled beyond impaired drivers and those talking on the phone while driving to an intense focus on eliminating texting and driving. Even with all the knowledge and statistics centered around distracted driving though, the temptation seems to outweigh good sense in far too many cases. We all understand how important communication is—and if your child has a phone so they can stay in touch when away from home, you have probably stressed to them that you would like them to return messages as soon as possible so that you know everything is okay. If you are parenting teenagers, communication can be challenging, and they may not return your texts or calls; however, it is vital that they all realize the need to put the phone away when traveling.

Along with educating kids on distracted drivers and how to be defensive on the roads, make sure they are practicing the following safety measures also:

  • Protective gear – according to Florida law, helmets are a must (“A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.”), and other safeguards such as elbow and kneepads are highly recommended.
  • Visibility – while everyone traveling on two wheels or by foot should make themselves as visible as possible, children are the most vulnerable of all due to their size and inexperience. Make sure your child is wearing bright clothing, as well as a brightly colored helmet. Neon strips are helpful and can be attached to the shoes and bike also.
  • Comprehension of road signs and rules – keeping in mind that younger bicyclists are not yet driving and may not understand how traffic works, educating them on traffic rules is vital to their safety, as well as that of others.
  • Bicycle maintenance – make sure tires are in good shape and that everything on the bike is in good working order from the chain to the lights, horn or bell, and more.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Beauty Salons May Cause Health Hazards

After a busy week, you may be looking very forward to a special day at a local salon. For many of us, this is a rare occasion, and it means spending some extra hard-earned cash (and time off) to get pampered. While you may be getting a facial, massage, or a mani-pedi, much of the salon’s offerings are probably centered around hair—whether styling it, cutting it, or removing it.

Most of us have experienced a few bad haircuts so far (in fact, some may even have prompted tears), as well as some eyebrow waxing that has gone askew, but many consumers are completely naïve about the dangers that can lurk in any salon. You may be tempted to walk in to an unknown business to have your nails painted for an important occasion or get ‘the works’ done, but in the process, you could unknowingly be risking your health. Always get references before visiting a new salon and check their credentials as far as licensing and any required sanitation grades.

Here are hazards you should watch out for:

  • Waxing – because heat and yes, wax, are involved, there are far too many chances for something to go wrong besides just a lopsided eyebrow. Injury can be caused if wax enters the eyes, or if chemicals used to anesthetize the area drip into the eyes. Burns are one of the most frequent causes of injury though.
  • Infection – unfortunately, there is a wide risk for infection whether you are having your nails done, different parts of your body waxed, hair trimmed, or other services. Tools should always be properly sterilized, and you should be extremely careful about having services performed if you have any open sores or cuts.
  • Injury – while slipping and falling is a concern after a pedicure, especially, other injuries such as neck or back injuries while leaning to have the hair cleansed or conditioned are common.
  • Chemical burns – injury may occur while you are having your hair colored, bleached, straightened, or ‘relaxed.’
  • Laser burns – such treatments used to remove hair are another common culprit for burns.

Seek medical help as soon as possible if you have been injured or you suspect a bacterial infection—especially at the site of a toenail or fingernail.

If you have been harmed due to negligence in a beauty salon, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with skilled injury lawyer. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Child Injuries: Danger Signs to Watch for After a Bicycle Accident

Bicycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, accessible and affordable for nearly everyone at any age. Not only is it low impact and beneficial for good heart and lung health (and so much more) but traveling on two wheels means an opportunity to take in fresh air, wave at the neighbors, and enjoy your surroundings in a carefree manner. And while such activity can be relaxing and meditative, it can also be fast-paced and competitive if that is what you seek. Or bicycling can even be a complete mode of transportation, carrying you back and forth on your daily commute economically—and sometimes even faster than traveling in regular traffic.

For kids though, riding bikes can be one of the greatest joys in childhood. It means the independence to ride around and explore the neighborhood, meet up with buddies, go out on bicycling ventures with the rest of the family, and even ride to school if it is close enough. Of course, all the health benefits of bicycling can be a double-edged sword when it comes to safety hazards, and especially with younger ones. If one of your children has had a bicycle accident, it is important to seek necessary medical attention as soon as possible.

Typical warning signs of serious injury are as follows:

  • Concussion – head injuries can be extremely serious—especially if a helmet is not worn for some reason—and any suspected concussion should be checked out immediately. You child may have been knocked unconscious or seem disoriented, or even suffer from amnesia. They may also be suffering from headaches, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Traumatic brain injury – taking the concussion one serious step further, the traumatic brain injury can have long-lasting effects but they may not be apparent at first. Signs include unconsciousness, headache, sleepiness, moodiness, lack of coordination, or even seizures.
  • Broken bones and sprains – pain and swelling are usually present, and often bruising too. X-rays can be used to diagnose a fracture and its severity.
  • Neck or spinal injury – pain in any of these areas, along with swelling or pressure may be present if there is such an injury. Your child may also experience tingling or numbness, lack of coordination, and have trouble standing up or walking without pain.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Negligence at Crosswalks Can Lead to Pedestrian Fatalities

Walking is supposed to be a good thing. It improves our health in many ways, from acting as a stress reliever to burning calories and helping us stay in good shape. Walking is good for your heart, your balance as you get older, and can even help diabetics and individuals with heart disease to manage their conditions. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day, or several ten-minute increments, which is often more realistic for individuals with busy schedules.

Some prefer to get exercise on their lunch hours, running errands nearby, while others walk back and forth to work on a regular basis—especially in larger cities. Caution should always be taken when walking near or in traffic, especially when considering that the average car weighs around 4,000 pounds more than the average person. Because of such vulnerability, walking excursions and routes should be planned not only with ease of travel in mind, but more importantly—safety. Collisions between cars and people (as well as bicycles and motorcycles) have been on the rise all around the US, as well as in Florida which was ranked fifth in pedestrian fatalities last year. As traffic accidents continue to rise too, concerns abound regarding how to better educate and protect citizens. Cars colliding with people on foot is even more distressing however, because the chance for injury or death is so much greater as the average car weighs over 4,000 pounds.

Crosswalks are a common area for pedestrian accidents. Although these are designated areas for walking, usually equipped with detailed signs for crossing interludes, speeding motorists may careen through them before they realize pedestrians are present. Turning left or right at crosswalks is a common issue as distracted motorists may not be aware of such areas ahead, and pedestrians may not be expecting to have to walk as defensively as is required these days.

Many cities and states are examining how to lower the pedestrian fatality rates (the GHSA shows that for 2016 in Miami/Dade county alone there were 83 fatalities!) and taking measures to make changes where needed. Pedestrian injuries and deaths often occur at night, so better illumination of crosswalks (and other areas where pedestrians are walking) is in the works for many areas, as well as improved markings and signs alerting motorists.

While pedestrians should be able to venture across crosswalks safely in the US, many motorists make this difficult due to elevated levels of distraction via smartphones, GPS devices, and other electronics in the car. Speeding, driving while impaired, and other forms of recklessness play a big part in the rising fatality rates for pedestrians. Those walking should follow all traffic rules, try to wear bright colors or neon vests or markings at night, and watch carefully for motorists—making eye contact with them before crossing.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

Avoid Serious Accidents with Defensive (Not Aggressive) Driving

As traffic fatalities continue to rise, city and town officials across the US have continued to investigate ways to make roads safer. With so many more cars on the highways today, it is not surprising that there are more accidents—but so many can be easily prevented.

Distracted driving continues to be one of the greatest threats, and one must wonder if smartphone companies had any idea the impact they would have on traffic statistics when they created electronics that are so tempting and addictive that motorists cannot put them down long enough to get from one destination to another!

You may feel quite safe as you drive to work each day, run your errands, and pick up the kids from school—but dangers abound on the roads, and usually in the form of other motorists who are driving while they are sleepy, under the influence, or are speeding or ignoring other traffic rules, to include running red lights and not practicing caution at intersections.

While it might seem like taking the offense while out on the roads is the only option today, aggressive driving (sometimes synonymous with road rage) is responsible for thousands of crashes each year.

Speeding is one of the most common forms of aggressive driving, along with tailgating, passing aggressively and often when it is illegal, failing to signal, and ignoring other basic traffic rules.

When these problems turn into full-blown road rage, violence is too easily incited and what could have been an easy drive back and forth to the grocery store could turn into a criminal act.

Defensive driving means being diligent and alert to your surroundings when in traffic, and avoiding reckless drivers (who should be reported to 911 in obvious cases) by:

  • Avoiding all distractions, whether from passengers in the car, eating, drinking, grooming, or electronics.
  • Expecting that other drivers may be unpredictable, causing you to use extra caution.
  • Keeping a safe driving distance from other cars.
  • Driving the speed limit and following traffic rules.
  • Slowing down and using extra caution when driving conditions are poor.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.