Florida is a perfect state for biking, with its gorgeous weather year round and beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most deadly for bicyclists due to serious bicycle accidents. According to a study released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,1 in August of 2015 Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the country with 0.57 deaths per 100,000 people. That figure is more than double the national rate of 0.23 per 100,000 people.
In addition to having the highest rate of bicycling related deaths, Florida has also been decreasing its rate of these kinds of casualties slower than 48 other states, with only Wyoming progressing more slowly. Florida has only cut the rate of bicycling death by less then 10 percent in the last three decades.
While these numbers may seem startling, we can all do out part to help decrease the risk to bicyclists on Florida’s roadways and trials. A large part of the risk may come from the general lack of clarify on the laws affecting bicyclists on the road and the related rights and responsibilities of drivers and cyclists alike. Below are some basic tips for bicyclist’s safety and an overview on the law as it relates to cyclists.
Florida law treats bicycles in large part the same as any other kind of vehicle. However, there are some specific regulations relating to bicycles regarding where and how they can ride. For example, Florida law mandates:
Cyclists Should Generally Ride to the Right: Under Florida law, any bicycles that is not going the normal speed of traffic must either ride in a designated bike lane or as far to the right as possible. There are a few exceptions to this general requirement:
- When passing another vehicle or bicycle;
- When preparing for a left turn;
- When otherwise reasonably necessary, such as to avoid an object in the cyclist’s path; or
- Bicyclists may ride as close to the left side of a one-way road as practicable, with the same exceptions as above.
Cyclists Must Follow All Traffic Signals: This relates to Florida’s general policy that cyclists are to be treated the same as motor vehicles. Bicycles must obey all traffic signals.
Cyclists Must Have Proper Equipment: This includes a brake in proper working order and proper lighting as required by Florida law.
While these laws are statewide, there are also local rules enacted by some cities and local governments. All bicyclists should review the state and local rules where they choose to ride.
Florida law also requires some basic safety measures be adhered to by law. For example, Florida Statute §316.20652 requires every cyclist to:
- Ride astride a permanent seat;
- Only have as many riders as the bicycle is intended to hold;
- Carry any child under the age of 4 or who weighs 40 pounds or less in a designated seat or carrier; and
- Wear a helmet if the cyclist or passenger is under 16 years of age, among others.
This is not an exhaustive list of the safety requirements of Florida law. Any cyclists should carefully review the state and local laws wherever they choose to ride.
Making A Claim After a Biking Accident
No matter how well safety regulations are adhered to, accidents involving bicyclists are still all too common. However, Florida law does not leave injured cyclists without a remedy. In Florida, bicyclists injured in an accident are entitled to coverage under their own auto insurance policy for their injury and any other damages they may sustain.
Florida follows a no fault insurance law, also referred to as “personal injury protection” or PIP. This means that your own insurance is responsible for paying out certain benefits after you have been involved in an accident, as a driver, bicyclists or even as a pedestrian. Your insurance company is liable to you for damages regardless of who is at fault.
In some circumstances, you may also be entitled to recovery under the insurance policy of the at-fault party. Contact a New Port Richey personal injury attorney today for an evaluation of your unique situation and to determine what compensation you may be entitled to.
Contact a New Port Richey Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation!
If you have been injured in a biking accident, contact a New Port Richey personal injury attorney right away. Florida tort law allows victims to recover compensation for injuries and other losses that they may experience as a result of a preventable accident. A lawyer familiar with litigating Florida personal injury cases can often help victims recover substantially more compensation than they would be able to retain on their own, so it is highly advisable for anyone injured in an accident to discuss their options with an experienced lawyer.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers at Dolman Law Group, call our office today at 727-853-6275 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652