What Risks do Cyclists Take?
Living in Florida and Georgia, weather is warm enough all year long to trade out your automobile for a bike, however this choice doesn’t come without risks involved and prior knowledge of bicycle safety. According to Florida law, bicycles are considered a vehicle and must abide by each and every rule that applies to other vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. This includes obeying road signs, traffic stops, yielding to pedestrians, and having lights and reflectors on the vehicle when riding in the dark.
There are many requirements necessary to be able to ride safely on a street where there are motorized vehicles. You must have strength, bike handling skills, experience, and knowledge. Without these qualities you would be putting yourself in an extreme amount of danger by cycling on residential or urban roads.
It is important to do your research before hitting the peddles and essential that anyone operating a bicycle is aware of the rules of the road and specific bicycle requirements. All of this information can be found on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle website as well as at floridabicycle.org.
What to Avoid
When cycling at night you are putting yourself in extreme danger as most deaths on bicycles happen between the hours of 6p.m. to 12a.m. The roads are dark and it is much more difficult for motorized vehicles to see a bicyclist on the road, even with reflectors. If you can avoid cycling at night, do so.
Avoid riding on the sidewalk. Statistics show that it is twice as dangerous than riding in your designated bike lane. There is less room on the sidewalk, no reflective or directional lines and markings, and rough pavement or obstacles in your way.
Be sure you are riding on the correct side of the road. It is extremely dangerous to ride toward the oncoming traffic. This causes cyclists to be unable to follow correct road signs and street markings, which skyrockets the likelihood of getting into an accident.
Driving a Motorized Vehicle Near Cyclists
Driving around or near a high-frequency biking area requires close attention. All vehicles must stay at least three feet away from bicyclists at all times even when passing. It is important to keep an eye out for the bicyclist’s hand signals. Each bicyclist is required to give a left or right-hand turn signal by extending their arm in the direction in which they are turning. If you see this signal, give the bicyclist some space and time to execute their turn. It is also helpful to avoid using your high beam lights when driving near a bicyclist, this light can easily impair the rider’s vision and distract them. Always yield to a bicyclist – allow the rider to take their turn before you and keep an eye out when opening your door near a bike lane. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe on the road, so be mindful while operating your motorized vehicle.
Injured while riding your bicycle?
What should you do if you are hit by a vehicle while riding? If you are injured by a vehicle, it is extremely important to file a police report. If you have injuries such as scrapes, bruises, or head injuries from being struck by a vehicle, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. This pain and suffering can lead to life-long bodily damages which deserve proper compensation.
If you or a loved one has been in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, contact us today at Scott and Wallace. It is always free to talk to us. There are no fees or costs unless we win your case.