South Florida roads weren’t just built for cyclists, so it is almost inevitable for collisions to occur. Without the benefit of a seatbelt and several tons of metal surrounding them, even a minor/low-speed collision with a bicycle can cause devastating injuries. The Sunshine State has long been the most lethal in the nation for bicyclists.
There is a plethora of explanations as to why this is the case. Whether it is the wide and fast roads, the lack of safety education, bad drivers, under-equipped bicyclists, yearlong riding weather, and underdeveloped infrastructure and laws, many people view it as a recurring issue. Many safety advocates, planners, lawmakers, and law enforcement are trying to come up with solutions. Florida’s population is older and has become more densely packed as the state receives a constant influx of tourists unfamiliar with local streets.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), there were 840 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2016. As you may presume, when a crash transpires between a motor vehicle and a bike, it is the cyclist who is most likely to suffer from an injury.
The top five causes for these accidents involve common mistakes made by negligent drivers, such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, intoxication, and/or failure to accommodate to weather.
When it comes to speeding, driving at high speeds jeopardizes control along with reaction. An unsuspecting bicyclist can experience dreadful injuries from the force of the impact during the collision.
As for distracted driving, drivers should pay more attention so they are aware of any bicycles who may not be as visible. When they are engaging in a call or text, looking at their GPS, or fidgeting with instrument controls, they lose sight of visual, manual, and cognitive defensive driving capabilities. Additionally, the fact that distracted cyclists in the state of Florida are on the rise only contributes to the predicament.
Failure to yield is no excuse. Several wrecks take place when those behind the wheel fail to yield at stop signs, in a street lane, and at intersections where the bicyclist has the right-of-way. Another problem has been referred to as dooring, which describes when someone opens a car door in the passage of a cyclist traveling either in the bike lane or the street next to the parked automobile.
When intoxicated, an impaired driver has lessened not only their vision but also their time to react, increasing the chances that he or she will not see a bicycle or be able to react swiftly enough to avoid an accident.
Motorists should prepare themselves for all weather conditions, like ice, rain, and even fog. Failure to adjust compromises in visibility as well as road conditions, risking both the driver and cyclist’s safety.
A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists obey the road rules and keep an eye out for each other, so it is important to remember that cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as people operating behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Make sure to stop for bicyclists as you would other drivers and do not underestimate their speed. This will help steer clear of turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, usually at an intersection or driveway.
In parking lots, at stop signs, when packing up, or when parking, be aware of your surroundings and watch out for other vehicles, including bicycles.
Drivers turning right on red should always look to their right and behind to prevent themselves from hitting a bicyclist coming at them from the right rear. Make a complete stop and look left-right-left and behind before turning right at the red light.
Follow the speed limit, decrease your speed for certain road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a collision with a cyclist.
Give cyclists space. Do not pass too intently. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle, when it is safe to shift over into an adjacent lane.
Contact our legal team at Neufeld, Kleinberg, & Pinkiert, PA if you or a loved one are injured in a bicycle accident. Our experienced personal injury lawyers that specialize in the area of bicycle accidents are prepared to collect the evidence you need in order to prove the negligent driver caused your injury and to fight for the compensation you are entitled to.