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Florida Bicycle Safety Law Not Widely Known or Enforced

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on June 6, 2011

A Florida law passed a few years ago to help protect bicyclists from becoming bicycle accident victims has received little publicity or enforcement from state and local police according to recent findings. Five years ago, state lawmakers passed a law that requires motorists to maintain at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist. Since then, only a few hundred drivers have received tickets for violating this law, and most had no idea that such a law was on the books. Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham would like to remind his readers to give riders even more room than the required three feet when passing them to reduce bicycle accidents and make roadways safer for everyone.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 337 tickets were written between 2006 and 2010 for violating this space requirement, and enforcement was wildly inconsistent. Over that period of time, law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County issued four tickets, 55 tickets were issued in Broward County and only 15 in Miami-Dade County. Many of our state’s cyclists wonder about the effectiveness of a law that most people don’t know about and most police don’t enforce with any regularity. They also agree with Mr. Cunningham that three feet is an insufficient margin to improve bicycle safety in our state.

“I don’t know if it’s accomplished anything,” said George Martin, who runs a blog on Florida bike laws. “Three feet is the absolute minimum. In most circumstances, the absolute minimum is not enough. Plus, I have heard that there is no way to enforce it.”

Cyclists also contend that not enough is being done to inform drivers that bicyclists have just as much right to use and enjoy streets and highways as anyone else does. This is a fact that drivers either don’t know or ignore, and some angry drivers use their vehicles to intimidate riders and force them off the road.

“There’s still a tremendous amount of people who don’t think we should be on the road,” said Celia Conti, a Plantation cyclist. “Anything that helps counter that is a good thing.”

Mr. Cunningham uses his practice and position as an Orlando personal injury attorney for nearly 35 years to inform everyone about the importance of bicycle safety and awareness. He also agrees that we have a long way to go to make Florida streets and highways safer for not only cyclists, but also pedestrians, motorcyclists and other drivers. If you’re a bicyclist who has been injured in a bicycle accident and you have questions about the law and your legal options, call Mr. Cunningham today at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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.

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