The Dangers Cyclists Face in St. Pete. Learn What You Can Do to Better Protect Yourself

Spokes of a bicycle wheelSt. Petersburg is one of the premier cities in Florida for cycling. There are various designated bicycle lanes on the streets, beautiful waterside vistas, easy access to the Pinellas County trails, and plenty of clubs to join if you need friendly motivation to get out and ride. Here is a list of some of the more popular trails in and around St. Pete:

  • Bayshore Trail
  • Courtney Campbell Trail
  • Duke Energy Trail
  • Fort Desoto Island Park Trail  
  • Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail
  • Legacy Trail
  • North Bay Trail
  • Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail
  • Starkey Wilderness Park Paved Trail
  • Suncoast Trail

Cycling Safety is More Than Having the Right Gear... Be Sure You Have the Right Insurance

You also need to make sure you are protected by purchasing the right insurance coverage. If you ride a bicycle or enjoy outdoor exercise, you should have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your auto insurance policy. If a motor vehicle strikes you, or one of your resident relatives, while on your bike or out for a run, your own automobile insurance can compensate you for your injuries and medical treatment.

UM only comes into play if and when the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage to cover your expense. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of drivers on Florida roads don’t carry insurance to cover your injuries in that scenario, so UM is a must for cyclists.

You also want to protect your bike in the event of a collision with another cyclist, a motor vehicle, a pedestrian, or the dreaded canine encounter. Velosurance and other companies provide coverage for the damage and destruction of your bicycle in the event of a crash or theft. You need to purchase this coverage before anything happens to your bike because it won’t cover any incidents retroactively.

Dogs and Cyclists are Not Best Friends

As much as St. Petersburg is a cycling friendly community, it is a dog loving city. We love dogs too, but not when they jump on or attack people. If you are injured in an encounter with a domestic animal, you need to find out the name and contact information for the owner. Their homeowners’ insurance policy may provide coverage for your bicycle and your injuries.

Other Common Causes of Cycling Crashes in St. Pete

Homeowners’ coverage also protects you if another cyclist or a pedestrian on the trail or sidewalk somehow causes injury to you. Bicycle versus bicycle collisions happen A LOT on narrow shared use paths, particularly at curves. Always remember to obtain the contact information for anyone involved in an accident and any witnesses as well. Calling the police to file a police report is a great way to ensure all of this information and the situation are documented.

One of the most overlooked dangers of cycling is the infrastructure designed years ago without any consideration for the size of a road bike tire. Grates which run parallel to the path of traffic in a road, bollards, large potholes and various grade changes in an around bike lanes and trails can pose severe risks to people on bikes. We have seen a recent uptick in injuries related to cyclists following closely behind one another, but parting suddenly to avoid a danger without calling it out to people in back of the group. Make sure to vocalize a plan for spotting hazards and warning others if you ride in groups or tail other riders.

Your Attorney Should Be Your Ally

If you or someone you care about is injured while riding a bicycle in St. Petersburg, you should speak to an experienced cycling attorney. The laws which apply to bicycle collisions are unique and rarely understood by people who haven’t ridden a bike since childhood.

The police often make mistakes in investigating bicycle versus motor vehicle crashes. Cyclists are presumed to be at fault for riding in the road, or the sidewalk, or even the left lane of a roundabout (yes, we have dealt with all of these issues) when in reality, they have the same rights to use the road as another other vehicle.

Jim is an avid cyclist, member of the Florida Bicycle Association and author of various cycling publications. Our team focuses the majority of our practice on bicycle injuries and is happy to discuss your claim with you. As part of our continual commitment to safe cycling and equal access to the roads, we provide cyclists with free information about how to get their bike repaired or replaced without an attorney, even if we don’t accept their cases.

Download our free book, Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook, to learn about how to proceed in the wake of your bicycle crash. Have you been injured in a St. Petersburg bicycle accident? We represent injured clients from all over Flordia including Clearwater, Bradenton, Fort Myers, New Port Richey, Port Charolotte, Punta Gorda, Sanford and Sarasota among others.  Contact us online or call us directly at 888.815.6398 to speak with one of our attorneys. Every phone consultation is free. We make ourselves available to you and other cyclists.

Request our free Watch4Cyclists bumper sticker to show your support for safe cycling in St. Petersburg!