Biking Safety in South Florida: Rules and Risks

Biking safety is very important in the Sunshine State.  Florida is consistently ranked as the most dangerous state in the country for bicyclists, and South Florida in particular is not a welcoming place for bicyclists.  Given this reality, not only following the law but going above and beyond what is required by Sunshine State law for bicyclists is necessary in Florida for every bicyclist to ensure his or her own safety.  Given that Florida’s roads are simply not designed with bicyclist safety in mind, not to mention the fact that most Florida drivers do not give bicyclists the respect and room they should on the road, bicyclists must do what they can to ensure that they are as safe as possible when venturing out on the roads.  This includes wearing a helmet, being aware of what motor vehicle and other bicyclists are doing and following all applicable traffic laws.  However, if you or a family member still do everything you can to ensure your own safety while riding a bicycle in Florida, but still find yourself in a situation where a motorist injures you as a result of that motorist’s negligence, then the experienced Florida personal injury attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley are here to ensure that you get the assistance you need to obtain maximum recovery for your injuries.

Biking Safety: Sharing the Road with Motorists

Contrary to what some serious cyclists seem to believe, bicyclists do not always enjoy the right of way on Florida’s roads. In addition, they do not have carte blanche to blow through stop signs or ignore traffic signals.  Under Florida law, bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws that motor vehicles do, but they also enjoy the same rights to the road that motor vehicles do.  It surprises many people to learn that a bicyclist can be ticketed for violating the law or causing an accident in Florida.  Thus, if you are a bicyclist in Florida, in particular in South Florida with its heavier traffic and more aggressive drivers than the rest of the state, ensuring that you follow all traffic laws and obey all traffic signals, is especially important to ensure your safety on the road and that your chances of being injured in an accident are as low as possible.

Biking Safety: Bike Helmets and Florida Law

It takes many people by surprise to learn that Florida does not actually have a bicycle helmet rule, unless you are under the age of 16.  The lack of any legal requirement that all bicyclists wear a helmet means that anyone over the age of 16 can choose to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet as he or she sees fit.  Nevertheless, wearing a helmet is critical to biking safety, and the consequences of not wearing a helmet if you are age 16 or over can be catastrophic.

There are significant risks in not wearing a helmet if you are riding a bicycle and become involved in an accident involving a motor vehicle.  A bicyclist is uniquely vulnerable in an accident with a motor vehicle, particularly if he or she is not wearing a helmet, given there is nothing restraining the bicyclist like there is in the form of a seatbelt with a motorist.  In many such instances, the bicyclist may be sent flying off his or her bike if an accident occurs and may hit his or her head as a result.  Closed head injuries commonly occur as a result.  Closed head injuries can range from a concussion to serious brain damage.

The likely severity of closed head injuries if a bicyclist is involved in a crash with a motor vehicle can be reduced by wearing a helmet.  The physics behind this are simple: if a person is thrown from a bicycle and he or she hits his or her head on concrete, a helmet can absorb most of the impact.  If the bicyclist is not wearing a helmet, however, then the chances of the bicyclist suffering a closed head injury can increase markedly and the chances of suffering a more severe injury are much higher proportionally as compared with what would occur if the cyclist were wearing a helmet.  Therefore, even though it is not the law in Florida that you are required to wear a helmet, it is to your benefit to do so anyway.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

If you are a cyclist and you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney who has represented cyclists who have been injured by Florida motorists in the past to help you to recover maximum damages for your injuries. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. today. We have achieved great success in representing clients in collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles, and other situations in which our clients were riding a bike and were injured, during our attorneys’ 150 combined years practicing law. Contact us today at (877) 694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation regarding your situation.