Across the state of Florida in 2012, over 4,000 people were injured or killed because of a bicycle accident. In fact, Florida’s death rates for cyclists are the highest in the nation.
In reality, many motorists are unaware of nearby cyclists or fail to yield to them, making bicycle accidents and injuries all too common incidents. You can never compensate for the errors of other drivers, but here are some ways you can stay safe and reduce your risk of injury while riding your bicycle in Florida:
Obey Traffic Laws
- Bike in the same direction as the traffic is moving, and always use bike lanes if they are provided.
- Be familiar with laws involving where it is legal to ride a bicycle in your state.
- Always use your arms to properly signal turns while cycling.
- ALWAYS outfit your bike with the appropriate bicycle safety gear. This includes reflectors, headlights/taillights for riding at night, and a bell for warning other cyclists.
- Check your bike’s brakes, chain, and handle bars before each ride to make sure they are functioning properly. You don’t want to find out you have faulty brakes while on the road!
- Carry a patch kit for quickly fixing flat tires or other problems on-the-go.
- Wear a helmet. In Florida, any cyclist under the age of 16 is required to wear a helmet, but it is recommended for everyone else. Many bicycle accidents involve head injuries that helmets could have helped avoid.
Always Be Cautious
- Pick the safest route to your destination, not necessarily the fastest. Avoid heavy traffic areas or large intersections if at all possible. This is where many bicycle injuries occur.
- Keep one hand on the handlebars at all times, especially when checking blind spots or signaling turns to motorists.
- Make drivers aware of you, whether by eye contact, ringing your bell, or waving an arm when merging into traffic.
- Avoid riding in a driver’s blind spots if possible.
If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident, contact one of our professional Tampa bicycle injury attorneys for a free consultation of your case.