Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an alarming headline stating that Pinellas County, Florida is the most dangerous place to ride a bike in America today. This is the area located right outside of the Tampa Bay Metro area. This is something that the Tampa Bay Times refutes though. What makes this so interesting is that both newspapers gathered their information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The difference lies in the fact that the Wall Street Journal gathered their information from a 10-year period while the Tampa Bay Times looked specifically at the past 5 years.
What Statistics Show
Statistics show that in 2016 Florida was the deadliest state for bicyclists. The fatality rate was 6.7 out of 1 million people which is more than half of the national average: 2.6 million. However, Pasco County had more deaths than Pinellas when looking at all the counties located around Tampa Bay. Their average was .77 per 100,000 people throughout the 5 years that were perused. During this same time these statistics were also discovered:
- Hillsborough had .75 per 100,000 people
- Pinellas had .71 per 100,000 people
- Hernando had .46 per 100,000 people
- Citrus had .43 per 100,000 people
- Manatee 1 per 100,000 people
- Sarasota 1 per 100,000 people
These are the 7 counties that the traffic safety administration includes in the Tampa Bay metro area. When you factor in all 7 counties, you see that Pinellas moves even further down on the list.
What This Data Means
Spokeswoman Kathryn Henry from the Tampa Bay Times clarified this information. In doing so she consulted with the agency’s data team. Together they formed the theory that Pinellas clearly doesn’t have the highest rate of fatalities caused by bicycle accidents. While the county did have a high rate of these fatalities in 2013, this isn’t the case now in 2019.
Steve Severinghaus from the Wall Street Journal replied to Henry’s statement by saying that his newspaper had considered over a decade’s worth of information when conducting their analysis. He said this data also included the most recent information that was presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In conclusion Severinghaus stated that the paper was confident in the accuracy and quality of their reporting on this matter.
What the Wall Street Journal somehow managed to overlook was the fact that the Florida Department of Transportation saw 2011 as a turning point when it came to bicycle safety initiatives. It may be this fact that accounts for the difference between the 5 and 10 year analysis.
The number of fatalities caused by bicycle accidents has been increasing throughout the country as more people using bikes for transportation. According to the traffic safety administration, there were 840 deaths in the U.S. in 2016 alone – the highest rate since 1991. If you are a bike rider in this area who’s gotten into a bicycle accident, make sure you contact the Rojas Law Group. They’ve successfully defended many bikers over the years and look forward to helping you as well.
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