Riding in Harmony: Bicycles on the Road in Florida
On August 10, a car hit two children riding a tandem bicycle near the border of Miami County, Florida. The children were airlifted to Dayton Children’s Hospital and Upper Valley Medical Center and are both expected to recover. The children were traveling on the same side of the road and in the same direction as the car that hit them. The driver who hit the children stayed on the scene and there is no suspicion of drug or alcohol usage. Bicycles are increasingly popular among adults and children and are used more and more as a means of transportation rather than just for exercise or leisure. A rising number of bicycles on the road means a higher risk of accidents involving cars and bicycles. It is important that drivers are aware of cyclists on the road, lest more accidents happen like the one mentioned above. It is equally important that cyclists take as many precautions as possible. Under Florida law, bicyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws as traditional automobiles. This means:
Stopping at red lights, even before a right-hand turn;
Coming to a full stop at a stop sign;
Signaling when turning;
Pausing at yield signs; and
Following all other signal and traffic control laws and instructions.
It is important to follow the rules so that drivers know what to expect from bicyclists. The only way all vehicles can interact in harmony on the road is if they know what to reasonably expect from one another. There are specific laws that apply only to cyclists that are aimed at not only increasing the safety of cyclists but enhancing their visibility to motorists. Some of the specific laws regulate:
Lighting on bicycles;
Lane positions of bicycles;
Riding on sidewalks;
Making left hand turns;
How to signal turns from a bicycle; and
Brake and seat requirements.
The state of Florida recognizes the unique dangers faced by bicyclists. The Florida Department of Transportation funds an organization called PedBike. Through this organization, both cyclists and pedestrians can get resources for safety guides and for getting safety equipment for riding bikes here in Florida. Additionally, the group works to raise awareness among drivers of the safety issues posed by sharing the roads with cyclists. It is important to be aware of your own safety as a cyclist. You cannot control the actions of the drivers around you, but you can put yourself in the best position to minimize possible injuries in the case of an accident. As a bicyclist, one of the best things you can do for own safety is to wear a helmet. As a driver, it is important to be aware and careful. Bicycle accidents can be truly devastating. If you need to talk to someone about your bicycle accident in the Miami-Dade area our compassionate and experienced professionals are waiting to help. Please contact the Perez-Gurri Law Firm today at (305) 661-1200 to discuss your case.