Mark Roman | February 9, 2017 | Bicycle Accidents, Newsletter Article
There are many benefits to bicycling, including physical fitness and cutting back on pollution. Unfortunately, the many people who choose to commute or exercise on bike face some of the greatest risks on our roadways – including risks of serious and even fatal injuries. Statistically, the state of Florida has one of the highest concentrations of bicycle accidents annually.
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, our legal team is led by two Board Certified Specialists who are both avid cyclists and supporters of the local cycling community. In addition to sponsoring many local events and supporting measures that improve safety for Florida bikers, our firm also advocates for victims and families who have suffered preventable harm and losses as result of being injured while riding a bike.
Over the years, we have helped numerous victims involved in a bicycle accident in Clearwater, many of whom were injured as a result of preventable negligence. As such, we want to send a reminder to everyone – including both motorists and bicyclists – about the importance of obeying traffic laws and safely sharing the road.
Here are a few important things you should know about bicycle safety:
1.) Florida Bicycle Regulations – One of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting in an accident as a cyclist is to abide by all of Florida’s cycling regulations, found in § 316.2065 of the Florida Statutes. There are many provisions in the cycling regulations, but some of the most important include:
- Traffic laws – Bicycles are considered motor vehicles too, and are required to adhere by the same rules of the road as other motorists. They also have the same rights as drivers of passenger vehicles.
- Helmet laws – Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets, but all riders are encouraged to wear them for safety. A helmet can save your life and prevent serious brain injuries.
- Roadway position laws – If there is one present, bicycles must ride in bike lanes. Otherwise, bicycles can travel with traffic if traveling at the same speed or to the right if traveling slower than traffic.
- Turning laws – Bicyclists must signal with their hands to let drivers know of their intention to turn. When turning left, a bicyclist may use the regular turn lane.
2.) Defensive Cycling – Another important component of minimizing your accident risk as a bicyclist is being a defensive driver. You may be riding safely and adhering to regulations and still get in an accident because of another motorist. Being a defensive rider can involve:
- Making eye contact with motorists – Especially at intersections, try to make eye contact with drivers turning right to ensure that they see you.
- Steering clear of car doors – To avoid “dooring” accidents, ride as far away from car doors as possible and watch for motorists who may be entering or exiting vehicles.
- Using hand gestures and lights – Waving and other hand gestures can alert drivers of your presence and improve your visibility. You can also equip your bike with lights and wear bright clothing to help drivers see you better.
- Reducing your speed – Slow down and wait for a car to pass if you sense that the driver does not see you. Always err on the side of caution.
- Stay out of blind spots – Try not to remain in a driver’s blind spot for too long. If you are positioned to the right or left back corners of a vehicle, there is a good chance the driver can’t see you.
3.) Sharing the Road – It is critical that motorists and bicyclists understand the importance of safely sharing our roads. For cyclists, this means respecting traffic laws and the rights of drivers. For drivers, this means making safety a priority and staying vigilant whenever behind the wheel. Some important tips for motorists who want to safely share the road with riders include:
- Patience and yielding – You can save lives simply by not being in a hurry and ensuring that cyclists have the time to fully pass through intersections, complete turns while you yield, and when approaching roadway hazards that may cause a cyclist to move closer to traffic.
- Passing safely – Whenever you pass a bicyclist, be sure you do so only when it is safe and that you provide enough room to not endanger them. Experts recommend putting at least 3 feet between a vehicle and a biker when passing.
- Right turns – Be sure to look behind you anytime you are making a right turn, as bicyclists may be planning to go straight. You should also never overtake a cyclist to make a right.
- Avoid distractions – Avoiding distractions when behind the wheel can help you focus on the road and your surroundings, including any bicyclists who may be nearby.
- Have a good attitude – Bicycling is only becoming more popular, so riders will remain on our roads. Have a positive attitude about sharing the road with cyclists and remember that your actions can prevent serious injuries and tragedies.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. As avid cyclists, Attorneys Mark Roman and Morgan Gaynor understand the challenges bicyclists face on the road and the common reasons why these accidents occur. We proudly serve clients throughout Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tampa and the surrounding areas of Florida.
To speak with a member of our team during a FREE consultation, contact us today. Our attorneys are available 24/7 and also offer home and hospital visits.
Contact the Bicycle Accident Law Firm Of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers To Get The Help You Deserve
If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the Bicycle Accident law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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