Have you been out for a ride on your bicycle lately? Whether riding in your neighborhood or finishing a 40 mile road bike workout, cycling is a great way to get exercise, travel, and enjoy the outdoors.
May is Bicycle Safety Month, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges bicyclists and motorists to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights. Bicycle Safety Month was created to remind the public to put “safety first.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 49,000 bicyclists were injured and 726 bicyclists were killed in 2012. The same source shows that Florida had the highest fatality rate for bicyclists per million in the entire country. Over 2,400 bicyclists were killed in the state in 2012. In addition, the proportion of bicyclist fatalities among total fatalities in the state was 5%, the highest rate of all states.
Bicycle advocacy groups celebrate May as National Bike Month. Here in Florida, motorists and bicyclists must heed the need to put “safety first.”
For motorists, “safety first” means that vehicles must share the road with bicyclists. NHTSA strongly advises motorists to:
- Always respect bike lanes and allow at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
- Be vigilant of cyclists before opening a car door or reversing in a parking lot
- Check for cyclists before making a turn
- Yield to cyclists at intersections and as instructed by road signage
- Never drive under the influence or when you are distracted
The NHTSA strongly recommends that cyclists:
- Use a properly-fitted Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved helmet. For more information on fitting a bike helmet, visit your trusted bicycle store or the NHTSA website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles.
- Ensure all equipment and parts (brakes, tires, seats, handlebars) function and fit properly.
- Ride straight and use hand signals at every lane change or turn so motorists can anticipate your movements.
- Always obey road signage as well as signals and lane markings. Travel with traffic in the same direction.
- Stay alert for traffic and obstacles. Avoid the use of any electronic devices
- Ensure visibility to motorists by wearing bright, reflective colors and using bicycle lights at dusk or dark.
- Never ride under the influence or when you are distracted.
Bicycling is a great physical activity for individuals and families. As a parent, it’s so important to model behavior for your children. They will follow your cues. Take the time to teach children these safety tips so that they can enjoy cycling safely.
- Always wear a helmet — even in the neighborhood.
- Help children ensure that brakes, gears, and tires work properly.
- Show children how to make eye contact with motorists to ensure drivers are watching.
- Teach children how to obey traffic signals and signage and to use hand signals for every turn.
- When entering an intersection, teach children to stop and look left, right, and left again.
- Make sure they have reflectors and lights if riding at dusk or dark.
(Adapted from U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and www.safekids.org)
Ready to hit the road? Follow the safety tips, get outside, and enjoy the ride.
Questions about bicycle safety, motorists, and the law? Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can answer them. Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or www.goldmandszkal.com.
Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.
Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.