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Auto/Bicycle Safety Tips From a Top Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer

October 19, 2010

Several recent South Florida accidents underscore the need for both bicyclists and drivers to follow
motor vehicle laws and
bicycling safety regulations. In North Lauderdale, two boys riding bikes on Tam O’Shanter Boulevard near Rock Island Road were struck by a motorist. According to police, one boy was towing the other boy who
was also riding a bike, when they were struck. Both boys were taken to the hospital with non-life-treating injuries. In a second accident, a Boynton Beach man was not so lucky. He was riding a motorized three-wheel bicycle when he was struck: he later died from his injuries.

Many people are not aware that bicycles are classed as vehicles and riders are considered drivers. As such, Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus says that Florida Statutes require bicyclists to follow the same rules of the road as the drivers of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. In addition, there are specific regulations that apply to bikes, such as the requirement that, if being ridden at night, bicycles must have a front light that can be seen for 500 feet and a rear light that can be seen from 600 feet away. Furthermore, Florida law requires bicyclists under 16 years of age to wear a properly fitted helmet that meets nationally recognized standards when riding: the helmet increases cycling safety and helps make cyclists more visible to drivers.

The Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer notes that there are simple steps that can be taken by both motorists and cyclists to help increase cycling safety:

  • Teach children that bicyclists must obey the traffic controls and signals just as motorists do.
  • Drivers should not follow a cyclist too closely and should move over, if possible, to give the rider room.
  • Tape emergency information (contact information, medical conditions, etc) inside the brim of the bicyclist’s helmet in case the unthinkable happens.
  • Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic (with traffic).
  • Drivers should be watching the bicyclist as they approach them, in case the bicycler falls or swerves unexpectedly. This isn’t the time to look away from the road to change a radio station or reach for something on the seat beside you!
  • Bicyclists can not lawfully wear a headset, headphone or other listening device while riding.
  • Drivers must use their turn signal during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
  • Did you know that you can get a DUI while cycling if you ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs? You can, because, as mentioned before, bicycles are classed as vehicles and riders are classed as drivers.

The most important safety tip this Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer gives is that it is extremely important to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, especially for children. The cyclist’s head is hit in 38 percent of accidents and head injuries account for more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths. In addition, it is estimated that between 45 to 88 percent of a bicyclist’s brain injuries can be prevented just by wearing a helmet. Children don’t always think of safety first, so it is important to start them out right when they learn how to ride a bike: require them wear a helmet at all times while riding.

For more information, 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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