Exploring South Florida on two wheels is a favorite pastime for many. For that reason, it should serve as no surprise that one of the most common types of personal injury cases in Florida are bicycle accidents. These accidents may produce a wide array of serious injuries, ranging from scrapes to fractures, brain damage, and even death. In fact, Florida is ranked second in the nation for bicycle-related deaths.
The best way to prevent a personal injury case is to prevent an accident. While preventing others from acting negligently is not within a bicyclist’s power, there are steps one can take to mitigate the risk associated with cycling on Florida roads.
Below, our Miami personal injury attorneys share five easy ways to stay safe while biking.
1. Avoid Busy Roadways
When it comes to types of personal injury involving bicycles, most involve a collision with a vehicle. To avoid such collisions, bicyclists should stay away from busy streets if possible. The best place to ride a bike recreationally is a public park or residential area. In instances when a person is utilizing a bicycle for transportation and avoiding busy areas is not reasonable, it is advisable to take advantage of any available bicycle lanes and practice extreme caution.
2. Know and Obey Traffic Regulations
A fact which may surprise some is that bicyclists are held to the same traffic laws as drivers of automobiles. This means they must stop at traffic lights, ride with the flow of traffic rather than against it, abide by the right-of-way, and even use headlights at night. It also permits bicyclists to share the road with other vehicles when a bicycle lane is not provided.
Florida law also outlines additional regulations for bicyclists, including that one must keep one hand on the handlebars at all time and cannot exceed the maximum number of people the bike was built to accommodate.
3. Dress Safely
Whenever riding a bike, it is essential to wear a helmet and proper padding. This significantly decreases the bicyclist’s odds of sustaining injury if an accident does occur. One of the easiest and most important steps a person can take to decrease the chance of a bicycle accident is to ensure others can see them by wearing reflective gear, such as a vest. One should also make sure his or her bike is dressed the part by installing reflective pieces, rear lights, and a headlight.
4. Take Extra Precautions
Even when one is dressed for visibility, it is best to assume drivers and even pedestrians cannot see bicyclists. To ensure he or she is noticed by others on the road, a bicyclist should take extra steps to stand out. These might include signaling when turning and avoiding turns altogether if others are in an intersection.
5. Be Alert
One of the worst things a bicyclist can do in terms of preventing an accident is being distracted. Just as a driver of an automobile shouldn’t listen to music via headphones or text and drive, individuals operating a bike should avoid these distractions as well. Additionally, one should always look both ways when crossing an intersection or driveway.
In addition to bicycle accidents, our Miami personal injury attorneys are experienced in representing injured parties in many different types of personal injury cases. If you have been injured in an accident, give our office a call today to schedule a free consultation and begin seeking justice.