Bicycling is a popular pastime, mode of transportation, and form of exercise
year-round, but summer months historically see an increase in the number
of accidents, injuries, and deaths involving cyclists. With more motorists,
more out-of-state drivers, and statistical increases in impaired driving,
the summer can be a dangerous time for anyone who ventures onto public
roadways. This is especially true for bicyclists, who have virtually no
protection against motor vehicles.
If you or your loved ones have plans to get out and about by bike this
summer, our legal team at Roman & Gaynor wants you to remember that
safety should always be a priority. As avid cyclists and supporters of
the local cycling community, our legal team knows the risks riders face,
as well as how to protect their rights following preventable wrecks. To
help you reduce your risks of becoming a statistic, we have put together
the following information about avoiding
Make yourself visible – Most bicycle accidents occur when motorists fail to ever see riders.
Because of this, you should take steps to make yourself as visible as
possible. This includes wearing bright and reflective gear and installing
reflectors and lights on your bicycle, especially if you plan on riding
at night. Additionally, you should make sure you are visible to motorists
by avoiding blind spots and using hand signals to let drivers know of
your presence or intent to make a move.
Make eye contact – In addition to making yourself as visible as possible, you should
make sure that you are in fact visible to a motorist. This is especially
important at intersections or when riding through driveways or parking
lot entrances. Before entering these intersections, look at any nearby
drivers and ensure you make eye contact. This is the best thing you can
do to ensure you are seen and that they will give you the right of way.
Be extra vigilant – Anyone on our public roads should be vigilant, whether behind
the wheel or the handlebars. For bicyclists, however, the need for vigilance
is critical to safety, as you can’t always trust that drivers will
be operating their vehicles safely. Pay attention to your surroundings
at all times, including the presence of other vehicles. Anticipate driving
moves, especially when approaching intersections or turns. Most importantly,
avoid distractions that limit your ability to hear or see things around
you. This means no headphones blaring music and no cell phone use while
on your bike.
Watch out for car doors – “Dooring” accidents are far more common than you would
expect. When approaching stopped vehicles or traveling near parked cars,
be cautious of any sudden opening of doors and people entering or exiting
their vehicles. If you are able to do so safely without veering into vehicle
traffic, provide enough space when passing stopped cars, or wait until
traffic subsides and you can provide sufficient space.
Share the road – As a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities
as any motorist. This means that you should always obey the rules of the
road, exercise patience when yielding to traffic, safely pass vehicles
or other cyclists, stop as stop lights and stop signs, and be aware of
the fact that motorists are entitled to the road just as much as you are.
It is an unfortunate truth that even when cyclists take every precaution,
safely share the road, and remain extra vigilant, they can still suffer
harm at the hands of negligent motorists. Our firm has seen just that
on numerous occasions when representing injured riders and families of
bicyclists who have suffered harm in all types of wrecks. When these preventable
wrecks happen, riders have rights for pursuing a financial recovery of
their damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering,
Over the years, our Clearwater personal injury lawyers have recovered millions
of dollars on behalf of clients injured by negligent drivers. We also
have extensive experience advocating for injured riders and their families.
If you wish to discuss a potential case with a member of our team to learn
more about your rights and the
personal injury claim process, we encourage you to
contact us 24/7 for a FREE consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Pinellas
County, Pasco County, and beyond.