PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Recently released numbers from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles illustrate how dangerous Florida roads can be for bicyclists.
In 2019 alone, 142 cyclists lost their lives across the state. The collisions killed 44 bicyclists in the 11 Tampa Bay area counties last year.
“It's shocking and I think we need to do something about it," bicyclist Bill Welch said. "There’s a ton of people riding their bikes and they want to be able to get onto their bikes with their kids and know they’re going to get back home and not leave one of them on the road.”
As more people move to Tampa Bay, collisions between cars and bikes are becoming more common.
This year, is already off to a dangerous start. There have been 200 bicycle crashes in the Tampa Bay area since January, killing one person.
Leaders on both sides of the bay are prioritizing changes like painting bike lanes bright green, handing out more tickets and decreasing driving lanes to make room for bikers and walkers.
Overpasses are also expected to help by elevating cars above troubled intersections. Construction on two major overpasses is happening now on Gandy Boulevard and the Gateway Express Project in Pinellas County.
Bicyclists hope the alarming numbers encourage both drivers and bikers to be more careful.
“It would be great if they were more vigilant and aware that there’s so many of us,” Karly Siedlecki explained.
Here’s how the numbers break down for our local counties:
- Hillsborough 2019: 543 bike crashes, 11 fatal bike crashes. 2020: 64 bike crashes, 1 fatal bike crash (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
- Pinellas 2019: 513 bike crashes, 6 fatal crashes. 2020: 57 bike crashes, 0 fatal bike crashes (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
- Pasco 2019: 191 bike crashes, 8 fatal. 2020: 15 bike crashes, 0 fatal crashes (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
- Polk 2019: 136 bike crashes, 7 fatal. 2020: 14 bike crashes, 0 fatal (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
- Manatee 2019: 120 bike crashes, 4 fatal. 2020: 14 bike crashes, 0 fatal (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
- Sarasota 2019: 179 bike crashes, 6 fatal. 2020: 19 bike crashes, 0 fatal (Jan. 1- Feb. 13)
To see how other Florida counties compare, you can check out this website.
Note: This article has been update to reflect correct numbers statewide bicycle crash numbers for 2018 and 2019.