There are many benefits to bicycling, including physical fitness and cutting
back on pollution. Unfortunately, the many people who choose to commute
or exercise on bike face some of the greatest risks on our roadways –
including risks of serious and even fatal injuries. Statistically, the
state of Florida has one of the highest concentrations of bicycle accidents annually.
At Roman & Gaynor, our legal team is led by two Board Certified Specialists
who are both avid cyclists and supporters of the local cycling community.
In addition to sponsoring many local events and supporting measures that
improve safety for Florida bikers, our firm also advocates for victims
and families who have suffered preventable harm and losses as result of
being injured while riding a bike.
Over the years, we have helped numerous
bicycle accident victims, many of whom were injured as a result of preventable negligence.
As such, we want to send a reminder to everyone – including both
motorists and bicyclists – about the importance of obeying traffic
laws and safely sharing the road.
Here are a few important things you should know about bicycle safety:
1.) Florida Bicycle Regulations - One of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting in an accident as
a cyclist is to abide by all of Florida's cycling regulations, found
in § 316.2065 of the Florida Statutes. There are many provisions
in the cycling regulations, but some of the most important include:
- Traffic laws – Bicycles are considered motor vehicles too, and are
required to adhere by the same rules of the road as other motorists. They
also have the same rights as drivers of passenger vehicles.
- Helmet laws – Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear
helmets, but all riders are encouraged to wear them for safety. A helmet
can save your life and prevent serious brain injuries.
- Roadway position laws – If there is one present, bicycles must ride
in bike lanes. Otherwise, bicycles can travel with traffic if traveling
at the same speed or to the right if traveling slower than traffic.
- Turning laws – Bicyclists must signal with their hands to let drivers
know of their intention to turn. When turning left, a bicyclist may use
the regular turn lane.
2.) Defensive Cycling - Another important component of minimizing your accident risk as a bicyclist
is being a defensive driver. You may be riding safely and adhering to
regulations and still get in an accident because of another motorist.
Being a defensive rider can involve:
- Making eye contact with motorists – Especially at intersections,
try to make eye contact with drivers turning right to ensure that they see you.
- Steering clear of car doors – To avoid "dooring" accidents,
ride as far away from car doors as possible and watch for motorists who
may be entering or exiting vehicles.
- Using hand gestures and lights – Waving and other hand gestures can
alert drivers of your presence and improve your visibility. You can also
equip your bike with lights and wear bright clothing to help drivers see
- Reducing your speed – Slow down and wait for a car to pass if you
sense that the driver does not see you. Always err on the side of caution.
- Stay out of blind spots – Try not to remain in a driver's blind
spot for too long. If you are positioned to the right or left back corners
of a vehicle, there is a good chance the driver can't see you.
3.) Sharing the Road – It is critical that motorists and bicyclists understand the importance
of safely sharing our roads. For cyclists, this means respecting traffic
laws and the rights of drivers. For drivers, this means making safety
a priority and staying vigilant whenever behind the wheel. Some important
tips for motorists who want to safely share the road with riders include:
- Patience and yielding – You can save lives simply by not being in
a hurry and ensuring that cyclists have the time to fully pass through
intersections, complete turns while you yield, and when approaching roadway
hazards that may cause a cyclist to move closer to traffic.
- Passing safely – Whenever you pass a bicyclist, be sure you do so
only when it is safe and that you provide enough room to not endanger
them. Experts recommend putting at least 3 feet between a vehicle and
a biker when passing.
- Right turns – Be sure to look behind you anytime you are making a
right turn, as bicyclists may be planning to go straight. You should also
never overtake a cyclist to make a right.
- Avoid distractions – Avoiding distractions when behind the wheel
can help you focus on the road and your surroundings, including any bicyclists
who may be nearby.
- Have a good attitude – Bicycling is only becoming more popular, so
riders will remain on our roads. Have a positive attitude about sharing
the road with cyclists and remember that your actions can prevent serious
injuries and tragedies.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact
Roman & Gaynor as soon as possible. As avid cyclists, Attorneys Mark
Roman and Morgan Gaynor understand the challenges bicyclists face on the
road and the common reasons why these accidents occur. We proudly serve
clients throughout Clearwater, New Port Richey, and the surrounding areas
To speak with a member of our team during a FREE consultation,
contact us today. Our attorneys are available 24/7 and also offer home and hospital visits.