Now that school is back in session and the days are getting shorter, we thought it would be a good time to share some seasonally appropriate advice for Florida cyclists young and old. Here are five bicycle safety tips from our Panama City bicycle accident attorney just in time for fall and back to school.
Though Florida doesn’t have drastic seasonal weather shifts like certain other places do, it is still a good idea to check that your bike is prepared for each new season. Simply ensuring your or your child’s tires are properly inflated and that the brakes work can prevent numerous crashes. If you don’t know much about how to take care of your bike, a bicycle maintenance workshop or a quick trip to a local mechanic should do the trick.
Many bicycle accidents occur simply because the cyclist is difficult to spot. In order to prevent you or your child from being struck by a motor vehicle while riding, always wear bright colors and/or reflective bike gear. Bicycle lights are imperative as well. Bicyclist deaths are most likely to occur between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., so if you can avoid biking altogether after dark, we recommend doing so.
The weather can change drastically in the autumn months, so we recommend layering in case the temperature suddenly becomes warmer or cooler than you were expecting. Waterproof, breathable clothing is best for outer layers like jackets and shoes. Considering that storms are common at the beginning of fall, carrying rain gear in your backpack or pannier is a plus.
In 2018, 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, according to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The year before, 125 fatal bike crashes were reported in Florida, the most in any U.S. state that year.
Helmets can’t save you from every crash scenario but wearing one can go a long way in protecting you from injuries like scarring and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and may even save your life.
Protective headgear is especially vital for children biking to and from school—or anywhere, really. Parents and guardians, make sure your child always puts on a helmet before getting on their bike. Fit is important, so use this guide to ensure their helmet will protect them properly.
Adults, you are not off the hook! You should always wear a helmet when you cycle, as well. Learn more about the importance of helmets here.
It is important that cyclists and motorists alike recognize that bicycles are subject to the same rules of the road as cars. Unfortunately, most motorists don’t seem to realize this, and Florida bicycle accidents are often caused by driver negligence. Unsurprisingly, it is generally the cyclist who sustains far worse injuries than the driver who hit them.
According to the NHTSA, “a large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.” Cyclists, ride defensively and in the same direction as vehicle traffic. Obey all street signs, signals, and road markings as if you were driving a car. Motorists, share the road. Always keep an eye out for cyclists and yield to bikes as you would other drivers. Obey the speed limit and give cyclists plenty of room when you pass.
The bottom line is to be as prepared, dry, and visible as possible while biking in school zones and during the autumn months. Ride safe!
Have you, your child, or someone you know been injured while riding a bicycle in Florida? Our Panama City bicycle accident attorney is here to help. We have over 30 years of legal experience and offer free consultations to all new clients. Call now!