Throughout South Florida, many people enjoy bicycling as both an outdoor activity and sport. However, according to the United States Department of Transportation, Florida has the highest fatality rate per million population. In order to remain safe as both a bicyclist and driver, it is important to follow the Florida bicycle safety statutes and follow the rules of the road.
Florida Bicycle Safety Statutes and Regulations
The first step in remaining safe when riding a bicycle is to know the statutes and regulations under Florida law. Below are a few of the more common statutes that Panter, Panter & Sampedro would like our Florida families to be aware of:
- A bicyclist riding with a child four years old or younger, or weighing 40 pounds or less, must secure them in a seat or carrier.
- A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.
- Any person riding their bicycle on the road at less than the traffic speed shall ride in the designated bike lane. If the road does not have a bike lane, ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as possible except under the following conditions:
- When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
- When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane.
To view the complete list of the 2019 Florida Statutes regarding bicycle safety regulations, please visit the official Florida Senate website.
Florida Bicycle Safety Tips
Know before you go! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released four bicycle safety facts that are important to be aware of before heading out for a ride.
- Bicyclists’ deaths occur most often between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- In 2017, the most common areas that bicycle accidents happen were often in urban areas rather than in rural areas.
- Bicyclists’ deaths and accidents were found to be eight-times higher for males than females.
- Alcohol was involved in 37 percent of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
To protect yourself and decrease your risk of crashes, here are 6 tips to help you be better prepared and protected before riding your bike.
- Make sure the bicycle fits you. – To have better control of your bicycle, make sure your seat and handlebars are well adjusted and comfortable to control.
- Check your brakes. – As you would do with a motor vehicle, check your brakes. It does not matter how well of a rider you are if your brakes do not work. Start riding slow and brake check your bicycle before hitting the road.
- Wear your helmet. – Approximately 36 percent of bicyclists do not wear their helmets when riding. Always wear a helmet to protect against any potential brain injury!
- Wear visible gear. – With the most popular times to ride are between the hours 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., make sure you are wearing flashing lights, bright clothing, or reflective gear.
- Only one rider per bicycle. – As stated in the statue above, there should only be one rider per bicycle. If you are riding with a child, be sure they are properly stationed in their carrier.
- Plan your route. – Choose routes with less traffic and reduced speed limits to avoid any possible car and bicycle collisions. Opt for routes that include a bike lane or bike path for increased safety.
The two most common crashes when it comes to bicycling are falls and motor accidents. We would like to remind you to share the road when riding on the main road with other vehicles.
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, we pride ourselves in protecting Florida’s families. If you are choosing to ride a bike, we ask that you please consider Florida’s safety statutes, regulations, and safety tips. Our attorneys are here to answer any of your questions or concerns regarding Pedestrian and Bicycle safety. If you have recently been injured in a bicycle and motor vehicle accident, please do not hesitate to contact our office by calling (305) 662-6178.