Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them
Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around. It’s good for the environment, and bikes provide a healthy workout to boost your cardiovascular system. When you’re on your bike, you can really appreciate nature and take in the local atmosphere.
One drawback to riding a bike is that you don’t have the same level of protection as people traveling inside cars. When accidents happen, bicyclists will often suffer serious injuries. That’s why it’s important to wear the right safety equipment, follow the rules, and always ride defensively.
If you’re injured by a negligent driver, you have the right to seek compensation to cover the cost of your medical treatment and other expenses caused by the accident, including lost wages and occupational therapy.
What Causes Bike Accidents?
A major safety issue for bike riders is unsafe road conditions. Hazards, such as potholes, drop-offs, uneven pavement, loose sand and gravel, and poorly marked bike lanes, may cause you to lose control of your bike, leading to a collision or fall.
Despite all of these potential dangers, the biggest threat to bicycle riders is careless drivers. When motorists fail to look out for cyclists, the results can be devastating. It’s also important for drivers to follow traffic safety laws. Unsafe driver behavior that harms bicyclists includes:
- Speeding. When drivers exceed the speed limit, they are unable to safely adjust to changing road conditions. Speeding drivers who crash into bikes cause catastrophic injuries.
- DUI. Intoxicated drivers don’t make good decisions. Alcohol impairs vision, coordination, reflexes, and other key driving skills, making it much harder for drivers to avoid accidents involving bicycles.
- Distracted driving. It’s illegal for drivers in Florida to use handheld devices for texting, talking, and other activities. Additional causes of distracted driving include talking, eating, adjusting the radio, and reaching for objects inside the vehicle.
- Intersections. Drivers must remain alert and prepare to slow down and stop every time they approach an intersection. It’s never safe to speed through intersections. Drivers must check for bicycles and pedestrians when making turns and before entering a crosswalk.
- Dooring occurs when drivers and driver-side passengers in parked cars fail to check for traffic before opening their doors. This causes severe injuries for unsuspecting cyclists.
- Unsafe passing. Florida has a “three-foot rule” that prohibits drivers from getting too close to bicycles when passing.
What Types of Injuries Can Bike Accidents Cause?
When car and truck drivers fail to protect cyclists on the road, the results can be catastrophic, leading to life-altering injuries for riders. Some of these potential injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Spine and spinal cord injuries
- Fractured and broken bones
- Sprains and dislocated joints
When you bring your case to Justin Morgan Law, our Weston Bike Accident Lawyers will file a claim or lawsuit against anyone responsible for your injuries and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Our attorneys are here to help you get the resources you need to recover and relieve the strain the accident has put on your life.
Safety Tips for Cyclists in Florida
Before you head out on your bike, there are a number of precautions you can take to help avoid accidents. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have all the right safety equipment and that your bike is working properly. Have your mechanic check your bike regularly to make sure it’s in good working condition.
All bicycles in Florida are required to have a front white reflector that’s visible for 500 feet and a rear red reflector that’s visible for 600 feet. Bikes must be equipped with brakes that allow the rider to come to a complete stop in 25 feet when traveling at 10 mph. A headlight is required for bikes that are on the road between sunset and sunrise. Riders are not allowed to wear headphones or headsets while riding.
Follow all traffic laws and ride defensively. Travel in the same direction as traffic and stay to the right side of the road except when making a left turn. Use bike lanes if they are available. Florida Law allows bikes to ride on the sidewalk, but it is prohibited by local laws in certain areas. If riding on the sidewalk, always be sure to look out for pedestrians.
Everyone under 16 is required to wear a helmet when riding a bike in Florida, but using a bike helmet is a good idea for everyone. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), helmets reduce serious head injury by 60 percent and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34 percent.
Wearing the right safety gear has two benefits: preventing injuries and making riders more noticeable to drivers. You’ll want to equip yourself with the following safety gear when going out for a ride:
- A helmet
- Brightly colored clothing
- Reflective tape or gear
- A bicycle pump
- A first aid kit