According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 846 bicyclists perished in vehicular accidents in 2019. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that the state alone saw 6,664 bicycle crashes, resulting in 156 bicycle fatalities that same year.
Due to the lack of shell provided by an automobile, bicyclists are naturally more vulnerable to injury in a wreck. Taking certain precautions when navigating the road may keep them from becoming involved in one.
1. Study and obey the rules of the road
The laws bicyclists must follow depend on whether they occupy the street or the sidewalk. On the road, they possess the same rights as and must conform to the same traffic laws that bind car operators, including those regarding traffic lights, stop signs and other areas. If they bike on the sidewalk, they are pedestrians. The law then expects them to follow the rules that guide pedestrians.
2. Use the appropriate hand signals
Communicating properly with others on the road is not only courteous but potentially life-saving. It alerts motorists to the potential need to slow down, yield and perform other actions necessary to keep all parties safe. There are specific hand signals all bicyclists need to be aware of.
3. Invest in the right gear
Besides the customary helmet, individuals on bicycles also need lights on the front and back to increase visibility. They may also consider wearing bright, possibly reflective clothing for the same purpose, particularly at night or twilight when there is less light.
Bicyclists are slower, smaller, less protected and easier to spot than cars. Carefully complying with the law, signaling clearly and having appropriate equipment helps minimize the risks involved with bicycling. Those injured in traffic accidents may have the right to compensation.