In Florida, bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Bicyclists should also expect other drivers to exercise a reasonable level of care to avoid a collision. However, bicycle accidents still occur and leave thousands of victims with painful injuries each year. To help keep yourself and others safe, follow these tips on bicycle safety.
Understand Florida Bicycle Laws
While bicyclists have a right to use the road, it’s important to understand and obey traffic laws regarding bicycles. Here are a few important ones to remember.
- Bicycles must adhere to the same traffic laws as vehicles such as obeying traffic signs and signals, using lights after dark and riding with the flow of traffic.
- Bicycles should ride in the bike lane if one exists, or on the far right hand side of the road in no bike lane exists.
- When passing a bicycle, motorists must keep at least three feet of distance between their vehicle and the bicyclist.
- If the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to share, the bicyclists may use the entire lane instead of staying to the far right.
- To avoid an unsafe condition, bicyclists may choose not to use the bike lane or not to stay to the far right side of the road.
- If riding on a sidewalk, bicyclists must give the right of way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.
To help prevent accidents, follow these basic safety precautions:
- Wear bright colors and reflective clothing to help motorists see you.
- Wear a helmet. While Florida law does not require those over the age of 16 to wear a helmet, it always a good idea to err on the side of safety.
- Be alert and cautious when approaching intersections.
- If possible, avoid riding near parked vehicles as the vehicle occupant may open the vehicle door without first checking for cyclists.
Contact a Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is ever injured in a bicycle accident, contact a bicycle accident attorney at the Capaz Law firm. We are passionate advocates for injured pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call (813) 440-2700 for your free consultation.
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