Bicycling is a great form of exercise and when it is used as a means of transportation, it benefits the entire community. Using a bicycle rather than a car reduces traffic congestion, promotes healthy exercise, helps fight obesity, and reduces vehicle emissions. Unfortunately, Miami has a bad reputation among some bicyclists due to the number of fatal Miami traffic accidents involving bicyclists that take place each year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are many things that can be done to help prevent Miami bicycle accidents:
1) Always wear a helmet when you hop on your bicycle. According to the NHTSA, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of serious Miami brain injuries by as much as 85-88%. It can also save your life, since brain injuries are one of the leading causes of fatalities in bicycle accidents. However, it is not enough to simply throw on a helmet. The helmet must be properly fitted and correctly worn each time. As well, the NHTSA recommends getting a helmet that is clearly labeled as meeting the standards established by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
2) Always use the right bicycle. Make sure that your bicycle is correctly fitted to you, as a bicycle that is too large or too small will be harder for you to control easily. Adjust the seat if you need to get a better fit. As well, check your bicycle regularly to ensure that it is safe to ride and in good condition. Problems with the brakes or tires can cause an accident, so visit a good bicycle shop regularly or learn to tune up your own bike.
3) Follow the rules of the road. On the street, you are considered a regular vehicle when you are on the road, so you must follow all traffic signals and signs, just like any other car. In addition, you need to be certain that you signal as needed to let other drivers know where you are turning.
4) Choose where you ride your bike carefully. Busy streets can be dangerous, but so can off-road and hilly areas. Consider parks in your area or bicycle paths, if they are available. If you decide to bicycle on a sidewalk to avoid a busy road, be aware that you will need to be extra alert so that you do not cause a Miami pedestrian collision.
5) Stay alert. Avoid wearing headphones, listening to music, or using a mobile device while on your bike. You will not be able to perceive dangers ahead of you and you may not hear important auditory cues (such as beeping or trucks backing up) as you ride. Avoid riding your bicycle under the influence – it can make you susceptible to Miami traffic accidents. Keep your entire focus on the road when you ride to stay safe.
6) Make it easy for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to avoid a collision with you. Stay visible by wearing reflecting clothing and by ensuring that your bicycle is equipped with reflectors and a light. When riding, make eye contact with drivers and with pedestrians to ensure that they can see you. Use signals to ensure that drivers know when you are turning or changing lanes. As well, ensure that you drive in a way that is predictable to others who share the road with you. If you are biking on a road, that means traveling with the flow of traffic, on the farthest right-hand side of traffic.
Unfortunately, sometimes even when bicyclists do everything right they can be injured by a reckless or negligent driver. If you have been injured in a South Florida bicycle accident, it can be challenging to prove that you are not to blame. You may also be facing substantial damages in the accident, which is why it is important to consult with a qualified Miami bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident, so that you can protect your rights and your future. If you would like to discuss your injuries and your case, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation consultation.