According to the League of American Bicyclists, there are nearly 57 million cyclists nationwide. Unfortunately, each year close to 700 bicyclists are killed and another 50,000 are injured in traffic crashes in the United States. In Florida, in 2010, 76 bicyclists died and 4,600 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. As summer activities get into full swing, more and more bicyclists take to the roads. Our Treasure Coast bicycle accident attorneys want these bicyclists to be as safe as possible.
A 14-year-old Florida teen is in critical condition suffering from head injuries after a hit-and-run driver struck him last week in Largo. According to police, the accident happened around 10:00 p.m. Although it is unclear why the driver struck the biker, police report the teen crossed the intersection against the light, did not have a reflector on his bike and he was not wearing a helmet.
Bikers have the same rights to traveling Florida roadways as motorists – and they share the same responsibilities as well. It is important that they follow basic safety rules and make sure they are visible – during the day and at night. If you must ride during the evening, it is strongly recommended to use white lights in front, red reflectors or lights in the rear, and distinct retro-reflective clothing. During the day, bikers are encouraged to wear bright clothing or vests in order to improve visibility.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following basic bicycling safety tips for all bikers, especially young teens. Among the tips:
- Bicyclists ages 10 and older should bicycle like a vehicle, on the street, in the same direction as other traffic and follow the same rules.
- Bicycle slowly and give pedestrians the right of way — do not ride on sidewalks.
- Make sure turning motorists see you by making eye contact before proceeding.
Motorists are asked to always stay alert and not drive while distracted – meaning put the cellphone down, and to continuously scan the roadway for bikers. Congested areas and intersections are areas that are especially vulnerable for bicyclists being struck by vehicles. It is critical that drivers stay extra vigilant at these locations when driving.
Florida is one of 20 states that require motorists to give bicyclists a three-foot berth when passing. Unless you can give a biker this much space on the highway, do not attempt to pass. Wait for approaching traffic to pass then move into the other lane when safe. Be alert for road obstacles that could cause the biker to swerve.
Our South Florida bicycle accident lawyers know that bikers and motorists can safely share the road. Biking is an enjoyable sport and we encourage all Florida residents to ensure that those opting to ride the two-wheeled vehicles be given the same respect and rights of the road as all other motorists.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims.
Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.