Bicyclists love the Florida Keys — one reason why the Keys have the highest per-capita bicycle fatality rate in Florida, says a local health group.
“A larger proportion of Monroe County’s population bikes to work than any other county in Florida,” says the Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition, “and research shows that Monroe County has the highest fatality rate, the highest [emergency room] visit rate, and the third-highest hospitalization rate in the state for bicycle accidents with motor vehicles.”
A critical step toward reducing deaths and injuries is convincing more riders to get and use a bicycle-safety helmet.
The coalition cites statistics showing that using a 100,000 population for comparison, Monroe County annually has 1.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The Florida average is 0.6 per 100,000.
Similarly, Monroe County’s emergency-room visit rate for bicyclists struck by motor vehicles is 75.09 per 100,000. The Florida average is 25.89 per 100,000.
Florida law actually requires that bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 16 “wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger's head by a strap...”
The Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition partners with the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County to hold two free clinics this week for volunteers “interested in promoting bike safety and injury prevention” to become certified as bicycle helmet fitters.
Certified helmet fitters can receive free bike helmets for distribution to children, and other bike-safety materials.
The clinics are scheduled:
▪ 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 23 on the second floor of the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102 on Key Largo.
▪ 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 24 on the second floor of the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave., Key West.
Prior registration is not required for the training. For more information on the program or how to get a bicycle helmet, contact Leah Stockton at (305) 293-8424, or email email@example.com.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206