Unfortunately, Florida has some of the highest rates of bicycle accidents and injuries in the nation. While the warm weather makes the state ideal for biking, road design, driver inattention, and other issues can result in serious injury.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take to reduce your risk:
- Wear a helmet. Wearing a properly fitted helmet every time you get on your bike can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in case you are ever in an accident. Look for helmets certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Snell Memorial Foundation and try on a few styles to find one that’s right for you. If you’ve been in an accident, replace your helmet. Even if it looks fine, it may have sustained damage that can mean less protection for you.
- Use hand signals. Reduce confusion by making your intentions clear. Make eye contact with drivers and other people on bikes and use signals to indicate whether you’re turning.
- Obey traffic laws. When you stop at stop signs and red lights and obey other traffic laws, your biking is more predictable. You’re less likely to be in an accident.
- Make your bike visible. Use front and rear lights as well as reflectors. In low-light conditions, these make you more visible to other bicyclists and motorists.
- Wear the right clothing. Wear comfortable clothing that gives you a full range of motion. Avoid anything with strings or long hems that can get caught in your wheels. Also, wear bright, reflective clothes so you’re visible to others.
- Limit distractions. Using your phone or listening to music while riding can mean you don’t notice as many visual and auditory cues—cues you may need to avoid an accident.
- Keep your bike is in good working order. Before every ride, check the tires, brakes, chain, and the bike as a whole. Address any problems or wear and tear before it causes a crash.
- Bike sober. Biking under the influence of alcohol or drugs affects your reaction time and your judgment, increasing the risk of a collision.
- Bike alert. Just as you drive defensively in your car, think a few moves ahead when biking. Scan the road ahead of you for debris, potholes, and other dangers. Try to be ready for the unexpected.
- Choose your routes wisely. Look for bike paths and bike lanes where you can. When that’s not possible, plan to bike on less busy streets. Map your routes out. If you’re just getting back into biking, bike in parks and on bike designated trails until you gain back your skill and confidence.
- Check the weather. High winds, heavy rain, and other bad weather makes it harder to control your bike. It can also affect visibility, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Be aware of other drivers. Never assume motorists can see you or that you have the right of way. Try to make eye contact with other users of the road to make sure they can see you. Also, look out for parked cars. If someone doesn’t notice you and opens their car door, you could be seriously injured.
Even with all due care, many bicyclists in Florida are injured due to no fault of their own. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident which may have been caused by someone’s Negliegnce, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online. We can arrange a free consultation with our bicycle accident attorney. You may have a legal claim that allows you to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses. Our team would be happy to help you understand whether you may qualify for compensation.