While Florida weather makes the state ideal for bicycling, Florida has unfortunately received a reputation as a bike-unfriendly place and in fact rates of Florida bicycle accidents are higher than the national average. Law enforcement agencies and safety groups are trying to change that with awareness programs and new legislation, but according to the FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), cyclists can also help in the effort by:
1) Always wearing a helmet. Bicycle accidents are a leading cause of Florida brain injuries and serious brain injuries are a common cause of fatalities in bicycle accidents. According to experts and the FMCSA, wearing a helmet is one of the most important things a bicyclists can do to protect themselves against harm in an accident.
2) Making sure their bicycle and brakes are in good working condition before every ride. Bicycles are faster and can move more flexibly than other vehicles on the road. In many cases, your ability to stop in time or get away can mean the difference between a collision and a close call, so make sure your bicycle is in good enough shape to get you out of danger quickly.
3) Doing what they can to be visible. Reflective decals on bikes, lights, and reflective clothing can help other drivers see you and notice you, which makes the roads safer for everyone.
4) Staying alert. It is important for bikers to assume that no one can see them. Even if you are signaling with your hands, keep in mind that other vehicles may not see you. Drive defensively and never do anything that compromises your concentration or your focus on the road. Don’t bike if you have been drinking, if you are tired or unwell, or if you plan to use a texting device while riding. Never listen to music while riding. Always place your full concentration on the traffic around you.
5) Going with traffic. Bike on the right side, with traffic. Stick to bike trails where you can, especially if you are not a confident biker. If you must ride on a road, staying with the traffic allows you to see and respond to signage and traffic lights.
If you have been injured in a Florida bicycle accident, contact the legal team at the Flaxman Group. Set up a free consultation today with no obligation – it’s a great chance to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. The Flaxman Group has offices conveniently located in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, Florida.