Sharing the Road with Aggressive Cyclists in Florida
For frustrated motorists, late spring and early summer can be a difficult time. While it is well-known that cyclists face hazards in the form of overly aggressive motorists that may try to run them off the road or pass too closely, the opposite problem for motorists is often overlooked. Many serious cyclists are on the roads at this time of year as the weather is increasingly nice before summer’s oppressive heat descends upon South Florida. For those motorists with any experience driving among serious cyclists, you know that, just as motorists can be overly aggressive when cyclists are present, cyclists can be overly aggressive when out riding, particularly when in groups.
You may be late dropping your child off at school and in a rush, while the pack of cyclists in front of you is riding three or even four across and clearly in the warm down phase of their workout, so they are cycling along at a leisurely pace well under the speed limit. They blow through a stop sign without even looking right or left and become angry when you honk to try to get them to disperse so that you can safely pass and get your daughter to school on time. One of them even makes a rude gesture. Thankfully, they turn right (without signaling, of course) and you get your daughter to school on time, although she is late, so you must take her to the office first.
Laws Regulating Cyclists in Florida
Bicycles are considered vehicles under Florida law. Cyclists are permitted to share the road with motorists and have all the same rights as motorists, including the right to occupy a lane without being crowded or passed by an overly aggressive motorist. Bicyclists are also permitted to ride two across in the same lane and can also ride on the sidewalk if they want. Nevertheless, they are also required to adhere to the same requirements, such as maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle immediately in front of them and stopping at red lights or stop signs, as other vehicles on the road. Bicyclists are also required to look behind them, signal and yield to traffic with the right of way when turning or changing lanes. When making a turn, bicyclists also are required to give a hand signal to other drivers within 100 feet before making a turn. Although little known or seen, a cyclist can be cited for not following traffic laws the same way that a motorist who blows through a stop sign or red light or fails to use his or her signal before turning can be.
Safety Tips for Motorists when Interacting with Cyclists
The problem for motorists when interacting with cyclists is that, even if the motorist is following all applicable traffic signals and/or laws or regulations, a motorist is likely to be blamed (at least by the cyclist) for any accident that may occur between a car and a cyclist. This is largely due to the relative size of the vehicles that each is in charge of; the motorist is the one at the wheel of several ton vehicles that can be potentially fatal to a cyclist, while the cyclist is riding a bicycle that can likely, at most, dent your vehicle. Giving extra following distance and slowing down when cyclists are present is particularly important given very few cyclists actually signal before making a turn and cyclists often ignore the two-bike limit that they are required to adhere to when riding on the road.
Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 200 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. Accidents happen in Florida all the time due to aggression by motorists towards cyclists or vice versa. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.