Remember the good old Golden Rule? Following that adage, bicyclists who treat motorists with respect should expect the same in return from motorists, right? With the price of gas hovering near $4 per gallon, we are seeing more bicycles on the roads in Florida. Pleasure cyclists abound on the weekends, but particularly when the weather is pleasant, you may notice an increase in weekday bicyclists. Many business people and students are swapping their gas-guzzling cars for the more efficient bicycle. If you’re one of the thousands who have decided to use your bicycle for transportation, you probably know that Florida’s driving laws apply to motorists and bicyclists alike – but many motorists fail to extend basic courtesies to bicyclists.
It is possible to avoid a collision with a car while riding a bicycle, but it requires diligence and patience on the bicyclist’s part. Thousands of miles of paved bicycle paths throughout Florida allow bicyclists to ride freely without encountering motorists, but many bicycle commuters share the roadways with cars, trucks, and motorcycles on a daily basis. You may be able to plan your route to work using lighter traveled roadways, but sometimes riding in traffic is unavoidable. If you must, one of the best things you can do to avoid an accident with a car is to assume that motorists will not see you.
Make yourself conspicuous to drivers and increase the likelihood that they will see you. There’s a reason for those neon jerseys that are popular with cyclists – they may not be the most flattering colors on some people, but they certainly are noticeable! If you are commuting to or from work at times when light is dim, lights and reflectors also will make your bicycle more visible to motorists.
Most of the time, bicyclists are required to keep to the right, but only as far as possible to ride safely. Riding in the gutter you may encounter debris or rough pavement that could cause you to swerve into traffic. Otherwise, bicyclists are expected to pass other vehicles and make lane changes and turns just as any other motorist, using right- and left-designated turn lanes when available. When making turns, be sure to use hand signals to alert motorists to your intention. If you intend to go straight through an intersection, ride farther out from the right to make sure motorists see you and keep you out of their blind spot in case they are making a turn themselves. As you approach a car at an intersection, don’t assume that they are using their blinkers properly – make sure that they are (or aren’t) turning, making eye contact with drivers whenever possible.
The other situation which requires a bicyclist to ride away from the right-hand side of the road is when parked cars are present. Pass parked cars in a straight line to their left, and be especially alert for cars pulling out from their space or an opening car door that might hit you or cause you to swerve into traffic. A good rule of thumb is to allow three feet between you and other vehicles at all times.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand that bicyclists sometimes attempt to negotiate with insurance companies on their own and may end up undercompensated. But our experienced personal injury attorneys represent bicyclists, not insurance companies. We know how to negotiate on behalf of the injured cyclist or their family and will take the case to trial if a just resolution cannot be found otherwise. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle-motor vehicle accident, please contact the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765