Doing Your Part to Avoid Bicycle Accidents While Riding on Florida Roads
According to the most recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, bicyclist deaths account for about two percent of deaths involving motor vehicles nationwide and as much as five percent in Florida. This puts the state in the second position for the most deaths of bicyclists due to car accidents. Although vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists must all share the roadways and responsibility for safety, bicycle riders in Florida must do all they can to avoid these accidents and be prepared for dealing with the aftermath when they do occur.
According to the report released at the end of 2014, cyclist traffic deaths increased by 16 percent nationally from 2010 and 2012 alone. This was much greater than the one percent increase of other motor vehicle accidents over the same period. What may be really alarming is that just six states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas) accounted for 54 percent of the total cycling traffic fatalities during that two-year period.
The most experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Clearwater can tell you that wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and staying alert are not always enough to prevent bicycle accidents. Even the aforementioned report emphasizes that roads were built to accommodate motor vehicles with little concern for pedestrians and bicyclists. The vulnerability of riders and their size in relation to motor vehicles already puts them at greater risk of not being seen by even the most conscientious drivers.
When you factor in drivers who are not paying attention, driving impaired, or are not willing to accommodate bicyclists, the challenges only increase. That’s why, even though it may not be fair in terms of shared responsibility, bicyclists must do everything in their power to avoid bike accidents.
The first step in riding safely is to wear proper protection and obey all traffic signals, riding in designated lanes where available and staying alert. The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association also showed that two-thirds of bicyclists who sustained fatal injuries were not wearing helmets. In addition, 28 percent of bike riders who were 16 or older had blood alcohol levels above .08 percent, which left them legally impaired.
The second tip involves knowing what to do if you are in a bicycle accident that was caused by a motor vehicle’s negligence. Not all bicycle accident lawyers in Clearwater have the experience and skill to gather evidence and build a case showing when a driver was negligent. Even in the best-case scenario, bike riders who suffer injuries in an accident must be able to show that they were following the law and doing everything in their power to avoid the accident.
Despite the fact that many of Florida’s roadways and streets are increasingly being designed and redesigned to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists in addition to motor vehicles, safety in all three cases starts with the individual. By preparing to ride safely, observing the traffic laws, staying alert, and knowing what to do in case of an accident, bike riders can avoid most accidents and get the help they need if one does occur.