Safety Is a Challenge for Bicyclists in Florida
In the south, we are fortunate enough to be able to ride bicycles year round. However, along highways and in residential neighborhoods, distracted drivers cause catastrophic bicycle accidents. In February 2014, a tractor trailer hit and killed a six-year-old boy in Orange County, Florida, one of thousands of bicycle accidents due to driver negligence. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, 49,000 people were injured in traffic accidents, and in Florida alone 122 bicyclists died in vehicle crashes in 2012.
Taking protective measures
A 19-year old bicycle mechanic was killed in Athens, Georgia, in a tragic accident in February. The driver said she didn’t see him until it was too late. This tragedy demonstrates the need for everyone to be aware of safety on the road. Bicyclists should:
- Wear a helmet: Although Florida law requires bicyclists age 14 and younger to wear a helmet, everyone should take this important precaution to prevent serious head injuries.
- Use headlights and wear reflective or light clothing: Since 2012 Florida has required bicyclists to have a blinking light while riding in the dark.
- Don’t use earbuds: Drowning out noise is dangerous, so if you have to heave music while you bicycle, make sure that it soft enough for you to hear traffic.
- Check your equipment for safety: Make sure that your bicycle is adjusted to fit your size, and that nothing is broken or loose. Have your bicycle serviced regularly to help your chains, gears, breaks and other components work properly.
- Ride with traffic: If you are riding on a city street, make sure you ride with traffic, not against it, and follow the rules of the road. Use hand signals and keep alert.
Most importantly, make sure you are aware of your surroundings as you ride. Watch for traffic, potholes, and other bicyclists and follow the rules of the road.
Find out your rights if you’ve been in an accident
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, speak with attorney Charlie Gillette. You may have the right to compensation. Gillette Law, P.A. has been helping victims in Florida and Georgia receive compensation for bicycle accidents and has a keen understanding of bicycle and vehicle laws in both states.