As gas prices increase, more people turn to their bikes for their daily commute. And why not? It’s good for your health, good for the environment, and good for your wallet. 

But before you dust off your helmet and join the pedaling masses, stop to consider if riding your bicycle is the safest option. According to the Washington Post, you are over two times more likely to die on your bike than in a car. And bike riding is 500 times more fatal than riding a bus.

Of course, that doesn’t make bike riding a nonstarter. But if you’re committed to this form of travel, it’s wise to get informed on the risks. This post will cover some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Tampa Bay. And as a bonus, you can read about some safety tips for bicycle riders before you go.

Driver Inattention

Let’s face it: distracted driving is virtually an epidemic in this country, including in Florida. The number one risk to your safety when you’re pedaling is driver inattention. Drivers could be texting while driving, overtired, or even intoxicated. 

Never assume that a driver has noticed you. Cars and trucks are much larger than your bike, and you are unlikely to come out ahead in a collision. Whatever the cause, getting hit by a car while on your bike can lead to devastating injuries.

Not Leaving an Adequate Buffer

Under Florida law, motorists should always leave a three-foot buffer between their vehicle and you when they are passing you on the road. Failure to leave a protective buffer can create unnecessary risk of hitting you or running you off the road and causing you to crash.

Speeding

Naturally, when the vehicles around you are speeding, the situation becomes more dangerous all around. The sheer size of a vehicle is no match for a bicylist in an accident. But if a car, truck, or bus hits you at high speed, the chance of severe injury or death is much greater.

Did you know that bicycle riders can also be guilty of speeding? It’s true! In fact, they can even be issued a speeding ticket in certain circumstances.

In Florida, a bicycle is considered a vehicle under the law. Bicycle riders who travel are held to the same traffic laws as other travelers. For example, if you speed through a school zone or pick up too much speed on a downhill slope, you could be guilty of breaking the law. More importantly, you could put yourself and others at higher risk of an unexpected injury. 

Lane Change or Turning Accidents

Motorists often don’t see bicyclists when they change lanes or initiate turns. They may not be accustomed to watching for bikers, or you might be in their blind spot. Be extra careful if you are continuing straight alongside a vehicle when the vehicle is turning right – they may not see you.

Likewise, when you have to change lanes, follow these tips to do so safely:

  • Check your surroundings before changing lanes (just as you would in a car)
  • Use your arm to signal your intention
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure that you are seen
  • Never cross more than one lane of traffic at a time

When moving across traffic, it’s important to always give yourself a buffer. Cutting it too close to another vehicle can cause an accident. 

How to Stay Safe on Your Bike Commute

Now that you know some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Tampa Bay, you’re ready to learn more about bike safety. 

Following are a few more recommendations for staying safe on your commute:

  • Always wear a helmet (it reduces your risk of death)
  • Keep your tires inflated
  • Maintain your lights, reflectors, chains, and gears
  • Wear reflective materials every time you ride
  • Stay alert and keep your eyes on the road
  • Stay off of sidewalks to avoid cracks and bumps

With these safety tips in hand, you’ll be better prepared to stay safe on the roads. 

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.

We serve Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, and its surrounding areas:

Clearwater law office,

New Port Richey law office,

Tampa law office.

If you would prefer to email us, please visit our contact page.