- Posted August 30, 2014 by
Tips for Safe Bicycling in Tampa
Riding a bicycle can be a great way to enjoy beautiful weather, get some exercise or simply save money on gas. Thousands of Tampa Bay residents are turning to bicycle riding as a form of alternate transportation for these reasons and more.
Unfortunately, bicyclists aren’t offered the same physical protections as most vehicles. There is next to nothing in the way of a barrier between you and the outside world, save a safety helmet.
To protect yourself from injury and insure that you won’t have liability in the event of an accident, follow these safety tips.
Obey All Traffic Signs and Rules
In Florida, bicycles are legally defined as vehicles and riders are classified as drivers. This stipulation means that all ordinances governing the use of motor vehicles apply to bicycles as well.
Be sure to:
Stop at all stop signs and red lights
Ride with the flow of traffic
Yield right of way when entering a higher-traffic roadway
Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
Use visible lighting when riding at night
Failure to follow these rules could result in a citation, or being determined at fault for a collision.
Ensure Equipment is Working Reliably
Bicycle brakes are legally required to be capable of making a complete stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level pavement. Test and inspect your brakes regularly to ensure that they are properly operating.
Also, determine if the gears, crank, and chain are working properly before each use to prevent surprises while riding that could lead to a crash.
Wear Protective Gear
Always wear a secure helmet that is properly certified to protect you from impact. Also, consider wearing other protective gear such as knee or elbow pads to protect vital parts in the event of a collision.
As stated earlier, bicycles are required to have at least one operating light when being ridden between sunset and sunrise. Per recent law revisions, this light may be allowed to blink in order to save battery life and attract greater attention.
Cyclists may wish to display more lights in the front, rear and sides of their bike to achieve even greater notice while riding at night. Wearing reflective gear or adding reflectors to the bike will also assist in this measure.
Ride in Proper Roadway Position
Bicyclists should always ride as far to the right as safely possible if no dedicated bike lane is available. They are permitted to use the roadway to turn left, however.
Always use proper signaling and scan the road before making a major lane change.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Collision
Cyclists following all of the above rules are in most cases not at fault for a collision. The vast majority of bicycle injury cases have been caused by negligent drivers.
Unlike motor vehicle accidents, if you are involved in a bicycle accident resulting in injury to yourself or damage to your property, you are unfortunately responsible for filing a claim with your own insurance or with the other party’s insurance to receive compensation.
To prevent being taken advantage of and collect all of the money that you are entitled to, seek the advice of a dedicated bicycle accident lawyer. A good lawyer will do everything in their power to make sure that you get the settlement you deserve.