Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer Offers Auto/Bicycle Safety Tips

March 27, 2010

Because the Sunshine State has such nice weather, many people enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, roller blading, and cycling. Along with great weather, however, Florida is also known for its high number of auto/bicycle accidents. In fact, Florida holds the dubious "honor" of being the state with the highest number of bicycle fatalities in the country. Part of the problem is that the state lacks bicycle lanes, part of it is due to cyclists sometimes neglecting to follow the rules of the road, and part of the problem is that motorists often don’t see cyclists until it’s too late. In short, drivers in South Florida need to watch out for cyclists.

Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus notes that many people are not aware that bicycles are classed as vehicles and cyclists are classified as drivers. Florida Statutes requires cyclists follow the same rules of the road as the drivers of cars, trucks, etc.in addition to the regulations specific to bicycles. For example, bicycles are required to have front lights that can be seen for 500 feet and both a reflector and a rear light that is visible from 600 feet away when being ridden at night. Over half of fatal bicycle crashes in Florida occur after sunset, even though most cycling is done during daylight hours.

Here are some tips to help increase cycling safety:

  • A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding – it’s the law! In addition to safety, a helmet helps make cyclists more visible.
  • It’s a good idea to tape emergency information (contact information, medical conditions, etc) inside the brim of the helmet.
  • A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and meets a nationally recognized standard.
  • Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic (with traffic).
  • At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars at all times while riding.
  • No person shall operate a bicycle while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.
  • It is unlawful to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can get a DUI for cycling while impaired by drugs or alcohol!
  • A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
  • Don’t follow too closely behind a cyclist.
  • Be careful when opening vehicle doors along roadways or sidewalks.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, especially for children. Every seventh fatality from a bike accident is a child. A cyclist’s head is hit in 38 percent of accidents. Riders who don’t wear helmets are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash then those who wear helmets, and head injuries account for over 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths. It is estimated that between 45 to 88 percent of a bicyclist’s brain injuries can be prevented just by wearing a helmet.

For more information if you have suffered an auto/bicycle injury, contact Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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