Florida’s warmer temperatures and sunny skies bring out many bicycles and other cyclists to our roadways. People use bicycles for many reasons—for exercise, recreation, running errands, commuting to and from work or even conserving energy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2000 to 2012, the number of Americans traveling to work by bicycle increased from 488,000 to nearly 786,000. And while a bicycle can offer many health, financial and environmental benefits, it is important to note that it can also bring about many dangers just like any other vehicle.
Bicycle accidents accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A whopping 48 percent of bicycle accident fatalities happened between 4 p.m. and midnight. In this same time period, almost 9 in 10 bicyclists killed were male. Even more shocking, one in four bicyclists, or 24 percent, who were killed in collisions had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 percent or higher.
Bicyclists and drivers alike make mistakes that often contribute to crashes, but when a collision involves a biker and a car, SUV, truck or bus, it is the biker who is most likely to be injured or killed.
Drivers have a duty to make sure they are operating their vehicles in a safe manner, which includes sharing the road with cyclists. This also means motorists must allow adequate room when passing a bicycle on a roadway. The NHTSA recommends three feet of distance between an automobile and a bicycle. Drivers must also keep an eye out for cyclists on roadways, in parking lots and when turning. When drivers and bicyclists both exercise necessary safety precautions, serious crashes can be avoided.
Bicycle Safety Tips
The following are some important safety precautions that bicyclists can use to reduce and prevent two-wheeled tragedies.
- Always Wear a Helmet: Wearing a helmet is the number one way to prevent a head injury should you become involved in a bicycle accident.
- Wear Proper Clothing: Cyclists should wear bright-colored or reflective clothing so that they can easily be seen by other motorists on the roadways.
- Follow All Traffic Laws: Just like any other driver, bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and rules.
- Respect the Rules of the Road: Cyclists must practice specific safety precautions such as using turn signals, yielding to traffic and driving in the same direction as motor vehicles.
- Never Operate a Bicycle while Impaired: In 2012, 24 percent of bikers killed in traffic accidents were under the influence of alcohol.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident in Brooksville or Spring Hill, a Hernando County Personal Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can evaluate your accident claim and help you recover any damages that you are entitled to. Call us today at 352-666-2121 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.