Florida Promotes Bicycle Safety
Bicycles offer a cost effective and environmentally friendly option for transportation. While some Florida residents use them on a daily basis, traveling to and from work, others are more casual bicyclists who enjoy the breeze of a leisurely ride. The state tries to protect all bike riders by implementing safety rules for cars to follow when a bicyclist is near. Unfortunately, these regulations are often ignored, which can result in serious or even fatal bicycle accidents. When that occurs, the victim is left with mounting hospital bills that are due to someone else’s carelessness. With the help of an experienced lawyer, the victim and his family can seek the compensation they deserve from the negligent motorist.
Florida Bicycling Laws
According to the cyclist advocacy site, Florida Bicycle Law, the following Florida regulations are meant to promote the safety of bike riders within the state:
- Bicyclists are treated as pedestrians under the code. This means that automobile drivers must follow the same provisions in consideration of bikers as they do for walking pedestrians.
- Motorists must yield to bicyclists in crosswalks. Drivers must slow down or stop at a crosswalk, even if there is no signage directing them to do so. They must continue to yield while the biker is crossing on their side of the road, as well as when the biker is approaching their side of the road if the proximity is close enough to place the cyclist in danger.
- Local authorities may regulate the use of sidewalks by cyclists. This includes prohibiting use, as well as allowing it on sidewalks that were previously off limits.
- Bicyclists are allowed to leave the bike lane under conditions that endanger their health and safety. This is especially applicable when motorists park adjacent to designated bike lanes and open their car doors without looking for approaching bikes. This can become a very dangerous situation and though the law mandates that drivers use precaution when opening their car doors, many do not.
- The three-feet rule – There are various instances where bikers must ride within the flow of traffic. Under Florida statute, they should stay “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” Under the same statute, drivers are mandated to maintain three feet of space between their vehicle and the bicycle. Violation of this regulation is a leading cause of bicycle accidents.
Of course bicyclists need to follow the rules of biking as well, to promote their own safety on the road.
- Wear a helmet;
- Only carry the appropriate number of people that the bike is equipped to hold;
- Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars; and
- Don’t use any earpiece devices that would impede your ability to hear your surroundings.
But sometimes, even when all of these safety measures are followed, accidents occur. The injured cyclist may need to file a claim with the motorist’s company. If no resolution is reached, a court case may have to commence before compensation is granted.