According to the adage, you never forget how to ride a bike. That may be true, but sometimes we forget that cyclists need to follow the rules of the road, just like drivers do. Before you go out for a spin, check out some advice from a bicycle accident attorney.
Ready to ride?
Riding a bike can be great exercise and a lot of fun, but that does not mean cycling is completely carefree. Riding a bike comes with the risk of serious injury. Before you strap on your helmet, you need to make sure you comply with Florida state law.
Section 316.2065 of Florida statutes covers bicycle regulations. Here are a few of the rules and regulations designed to keep you and others safe on the road.
Rights and responsibilities.
If you’re riding a bike, you have the same rights as someone driving a motor vehicle. You also have the same responsibilities, like stopping at STOP signs and obeying traffic lights.
When riding under the speed limit, use the bike lane or stay as close to the right-hand side as possible. Exceptions include:
- One-way highways, where you stay to the left.
- Times when you’re passing another bike or vehicle going in the same direction.
- The need to make a left-hand turn.
- An attempt to avoid a collision.
Riding on the sidewalk.
You may ride on the sidewalk according to state law, though certain towns and cities may have other regulations. Be sure to look out for pedestrians. If you pass someone on foot while you’re riding a bike, you need to give an audible warning, like a bell or horn. They have the right-of-way, though bike riders and walkers share the same rights and responsibilities.
One person per seat.
- You must sit on a seat that’s permanently secured to a bike.
- If a bike is designed for one person, one person can ride. Do you have a bicycle built for two? Two people can take that road trip. The only exception is a baby or small child in a backpack or carrier.
- If a child is no older than four and weighs less than 40 pounds, you may take the child along as a passenger in an attached carrier or seat. Do not leave the child on the bike, put the kickstand down, and walk away. You must be in control of the bike.
Be smart. Be safe.
- Anyone younger than 16 years old is required to wear a helmet whether they’re a passenger or rider. Wearing a helmet is a smart move no matter your age.
- You may have seen those viral videos where a bicyclist holds on to a car. Don’t do it. You’re taking a huge chance of serious injury. Plus, it’s against the law.
Light it up.
If you plan to ride in the evening or at night, you must equip your bike with lights. On the front of your bike, secure a white light that can be seen up to 500 feet away and on the back, secure a red light that can be seen up to 600 feet away. If you don’t attach lights, you may receive a warning, citation, or fine, though the court may overlook first offenses if you follow up and prove compliance.
Accidents happen then bicycle accident attorney can help
Even when you follow all the rules of the road and practice perfect bicycle safety, you may be involved in an accident. What should you do?
The first thing you should do is call for assistance if there’s any possibility you may be injured. You shouldn’t take a chance with your health and safety.
Vehicles are never supposed to hit bicycles, but collisions do occur. Call 911 to report the accident, especially if it was a hit-and-run. Just like with a car accident, leaving the scene is against the law. Try to provide authorities with as much information about the car and driver as possible.
If you can, take pictures at the scene of the accident to preserve any details. Your memory may be faulty under stress or shock.
In addition, you should file a claim with your auto insurance company. Keep in mind, Florida is considered a no-fault state. Your car insurance should cover any of your medical claims.
You may be able to file a personal injury claim to cover things like pain, suffering, damages, medical costs, and money lost due to time away from work. Please remember that you have four years to file under state law.
Even if you were partially responsible for the collision, Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means any damages may be split and adjusted between you and the driver. For example, if the court determines you were 30% responsible, the driver will only have to cover 70% of your total personal injury claim.
Contact a bicycle accident attorney
When it comes to personal injury, the law can be a bit complicated. If you’re uncertain about your rights, a qualified bicycle accident attorney can help you through the process.
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, contact DiBiaggio Law at 561-473-9800 or 844-443-1212. Deirdre DiBiaggio PA practices in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. We can protect your rights, answer your questions and determine your next steps.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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