Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham knows that more and more people are biking instead of driving to get around the area. With gas prices around $4 per gallon and prices projected to reach up to $5 per gallon sometime this summer, we can expect to see even more people choosing two rather than four wheels to get around. As more bicyclists compete with motorized vehicles on area roadways, Mr. Cunningham would like to remind riders about some safety tips to keep biking safe and fun for everyone. To that end, here are some things to keep in mind while you’re out biking in the coming months and years.
First, with the notable exception of interstate highways, you have just as much right to bike and enjoy streets and highways as drivers of motorized vehicles do. Also remember that along with those rights and protections come many of the same responsibilities that drivers must honor. That means riders can be ticketed and fined for disobeying traffic signals, breaking Florida laws, riding while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, etc.
Next, bicyclists must ride on designated bike lanes or the far right side of the lane if a bike lane is unavailable. If you need to turn left, you can use the left part of a lane for a short time in order to get into a turning lane. However, and the importance of this cannot be stressed enough, you must use the appropriate hand signals to signal turns and stops! Too many bicyclists overlook this responsibility, and this can lead to dangerous bicycle accidents.
According to Florida law, if you’re a rider 16 years old and under, you are required by law to wear a helmet. Riders older than 16 do not have to wear helmets, but it is strongly advised as head injuries are some of the most common types of serious and fatal injuries when a vehicle strikes a bicyclist. Also, wear bright, reflective clothing when you’re out biking. Drivers are conditioned to look for larger vehicles and may overlook someone riding on a bike. Invest in your safety by purchasing and installing flashing lights for your bike, and add other equipment that will make you more visible during the day and night.
Unlike other states where it is illegal, it is perfectly legal for bicyclists to ride their bikes on sidewalks where they are available. There is no doubt that sidewalks are much safer than streets and highways are; however, sidewalks are not always an option. When riding on sidewalks, cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and make an audible signal like yelling, “On your left!” when passing them.
These safety tips are a very good start, but there is a lot more to biking safety and, sometimes, negligent drivers ignore bicyclists’ right to use the road. When this happens, the results can be tragic as riders have little to protect them in a collision with a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver and want to know more about your rights and legal options, call Mr. Cunningham today at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000. He is an Orlando personal injury attorney who has been helping injured riders receive justice and the compensation they deserve since 1977. He urges riders everywhere to ride defensively, follow proper safety guidelines and help make our state’s streets and highways safer for everyone.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
Connect with James O. Cunningham on Google+