Living in the Sunshine State offers lots of amenities for residents, such as bicycling in favorable weather year-round. As a cyclist, you have the same right as any motorist to use a Florida roadway unless prohibited by the posting of appropriate signage. This includes the right to expect safety and care from others while operating your bicycle in active lanes of traffic. Since a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle in the state, riders must also obey the same traffic laws as other operators, as well as comply with rules enacted specifically for bicycles.
Basic rules of the road for bicycles being ridden on Florida roadways include but are not limited to:
- Riding reasonably and with the flow of traffic
- Stopping for all stop signs, red lights, and signals
- Yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway
- Using manual hand signals before executing a turn
- Having proper lighting at night in the front and rear
- Keeping at least one hand on the handlebars
- Riding as closely as practical to the right-hand edge
- Avoiding all auditory distractions such as earbuds
On a per capita basis, Florida is reported to have the highest number of bicycle-related deaths in the United States annually. Statistics show that over a three period, 329 bicyclists were killed in auto-related accidents in our state. It is important for every cyclist to observe the laws of the road. If not, a negligent cyclist may find that they are unable to recover full compensation for damages and injuries. Comparative negligence means that a cyclist, in some way, contributed to the cause of the accident, and thus has some responsibility for the injuries he or she incurred.
Since there is only one road for both motorized and non-motorized vehicles to use, it is important that both drivers and riders demonstrate the highest degree of respect and treat each other with the appropriate level of care. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a vehicular accident while legally riding a bicycle on a Florida roadway, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible following the incident. If not, valuable evidence could be lost. To discuss the details of your claim, contact a personal injury attorney at Schackow & Mercadante today.