Bicycle Riders Have Equal Right to Road Safety

With the unseasonably warm weather and the approach of spring, expect more bicycle riders on the roads. In general, they are required to obey the same rules of the road as drivers. They also have equal rights on the road, including the right to safe passage. Certain laws are designed to promote bikers' safety. Violating them can cause serious injury and death to riders and personal injury cases against car drivers.

Bikes should be ridden in dedicated lanes when available and in the same direction as car traffic, not against it. Between sunset and sunrise, bikes are required to display white headlamps and red rear lamps. Consider using a flashing red tail lamp for greater visibility. Under age 16, riders are required to wear helmets, but brain damage knows no age limit, so common sense dictates that every rider wear one. Studies show that white helmets are the most visible followed by yellow. Drivers must watch carefully for bike riders, and riders can improve their visibility by wearing reflective yellow or orange tops at all times.

When approaching a driver coming from a street to the right, if eye contact hasn't been made as the biker nears the intersection, raising a hand from the handle bar and waving greatly increases visibility. Drivers passing bikes are required to come no closer than 3 feet from the bicycle. Passing closer than that to a rider is terribly dangerous.

Drivers should avoid passing a bicycle to make an immediate right turn in front of the rider's path. Bikes are often going faster than drivers anticipate, so a bike can slam into a car making an abrupt turn. Bike riders have to be aware of drivers' blind spots and not stop beside a car in the blind spot at a traffic light. The driver, unaware of the biker's presence, can turn right and into a bicycle starting out from a stop. In the end, both cyclists and drivers share responsibility for peaceful co-existence on the roads.

If you or a family member are injured in a bicycle accident, consider the experience of the Panama City attorney you choose to represent you. I've been representing injured people for over 30 years, and I'm available to you 24/7.

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