Bicycling has skyrocketed in popularity in Florida during the past decade. Many factors have been attributed to this, including a shaky economy, high gas prices, improving health habits, and a focus on eco-friendly transportation.
Unfortunately for Florida cyclists, the growing popularity of bicycles has led to an increase in bicycle accidents. If you have been injured in a Florida bicycle accident, a Clearwater bicycle accident attorney will go over your case and determine whether you should file a personal injury claim.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 716 cyclists died in road accidents in the United States in 2008. Some of these bike accidents were likely the result of a car-centric national mind set that makes a few drivers unwilling to share the road with bicyclists.
If Florida drivers don’t take the time to notice bicyclists and to learn to safely share the road with them, bike accidents will continue to increase.
Negligence in Bicycle Accidents
Drivers are often at fault in many Florida bicycle accidents, but not all. Cyclists contribute to their share. Cyclists who practice unsafe cycling, either out of ignorance or willful negligence, put themselves in jeopardy.
A bicyclist rarely comes out unscathed from an accident with a vehicle. The probability of serious injury or death is high for the cyclist, especially when the accident occurs at higher speeds.
A cyclist injured in a Florida bike accident might want to file a claim against the driver. A an attorney can investigate the facts of your case to help determine who was negligent. By always following bicycle safety guidelines, you will have a strong case if an accident occurs.
The state of Florida considers bicycles to be vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles.
Tips to Avoid a Bike Accident
All Florida bicyclists should learn and remember simple life-saving tips:
- Keep your bicycle in good condition. A mechanical problem will affect your ability to stop, steer and turn, which could lead to a Florida bike accident.
- Use hand signals when stopping or turning. When you follow the rules, a bike accident attorney will have ammo for a strong case.
- Be alert. Riding a bicycle on the road with other traffic requires you to use your eyes and ears to anticipate danger.
- Never operate your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness and slow your reaction time on the road.
- Know local traffic laws. Many Clearwater bike accidents occur because bicyclists are not familiar with Florida traffic laws.
- Wear your helmet, and make sure that it fits correctly. Florida helmet law doesn’t require a person over the age of 16 to wear a helmet, but it’s highly recommended and can save your life.
- Be clearly visible. Wear bright colors during the day; make use of reflectors on your bike and your clothes after dark. If you’re riding at night, equip your bike with lights to comply with Florida law.
- Ride your bicycle near the right hand side of the road or in a designated bike lane, if applicable.
- Install a horn or bell on your bicycle to alert drivers of your approach when necessary. This is crucial in preventing a Florida bike accident.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians. Bike accidents don’t always involve cars.
- Be confident that you have as much right to the road as a motorist does, but be considerate and use common sense.
Sharing the road and preventing bike accidents demand co-operation between drivers and bicyclists. Bicyclists can hold up their end of the bargain by practicing safe cycling at all times. However, in the event of an accident, it might be in your best interest to consult with an attorney. Contact Jim Dodson online or call 888.815.6398.