After much anticipation, summer has finally arrived, and we are out and about enjoying that warm Florida sunshine. For many of us, this means enjoying one of our favorite outdoor activities: cycling.
Yes, cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy while also serving as a great mode of transportation. But like many things in life, bicycle accidents can happen and can cause harm or injury if you're not adequately protected.
Recreational bicycle riding is as popular as ever, and sharing the roads with motorists involves risk. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind before you hit the road during the hot summer months!
The ABCs of Bicycle Safety in Florida
Road safety awareness is just as much your responsibility as a bicyclist as it is for automobile drivers. Cars, trucks, pedestrians, animals, and other dangers on the road can easily hinder your concentration and prevent you from having a good time.
Before riding, take a quick assessment of your bike and gear using these easy-to-remember ABC tips:
A for Air
Ensure that your bicycle’s tires are at the proper pressure and that they are not too low.
B for Brakes
Ensure that your braking system works adequately and is regularly inspected.
C for Chains
Check the chains on the bike. The quick-release should be tight, and the chains should be lubricated and not rusty.
Here are some additional things you can do before you start riding to make sure your bicycle is in good shape:
- Check that the pedals and handlebars are all securely attached
- Make sure the tires are in good condition and have good tread
- Make sure bikes have plenty of reflectors
Wear A Helmet and Other Protective Gears for Cycling
Wearing a bicycle helmet can protect you from incurring severe head injuries in the event of an accident. In fact, it has been found that head and brain injuries cause the majority of bicycle-motor vehicle collision deaths.
- Wear a helmet that fits properly -- it shouldn’t be too big or too small
- Don’t wear a broken helmet -- wearing one that has cracks in it or is worn out can significantly reduce its effectiveness.
Along with wearing a helmet, there is additional protective gear that all bicycle riders should wear, including elbow pads, knee pads, and appropriate clothing. Here are some additional tips for you to have a good, safe ride:
- Wear the proper safety gear, and be sure to dress for the weather. Wearing a raincoat, earmuffs, gloves, and other warm clothing during rainy and cooler seasons is necessary.
- Extensive exposure to the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. It can also increase dehydration and exhaustion, which can affect your immediate safety. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and don’t spend too much time in the sun.
- Wear reflective gear when riding in low-light conditions.
- For added visibility and safety, wear fluorescent clothing and accessories. Ensure that your helmet has reflective tape applied to it.
- When bicycling at night, make sure to have proper lighting accessories and wear suitable clothing.
Follow Florida's Rules of the Road
In most parts of the United States, bicycles are considered vehicles when on the road. Bicyclists are encouraged to follow Florida bicycle safety tips on the road. Ensure you know which parts of your neighborhood and city are bicycle-friendly and have pathways on which you can cycle.
In Florida, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and is required to abide by all traffic laws set out by local jurisdiction. Following the law is the foundation of respect and can help you avoid traffic violations.
Tips for bicycle riding on the road
- Follow all road and traffic signs, including stop signs, pedestrian crossings, and traffic lights -- this includes both permanent and temporary traffic and safety signs
- When riding during the evenings, ensure that you have enough safety precautions on your bikes, such as reflectors and lights
- Make use of proper hand signals when you're turning or changing lanes
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Florida, contact a personal injury attorney at FL Crime Defense with experience in handling bicycle accident cases. Schedule a free consultation by calling (863) 688-4606 today!
Be A Predictable Bicyclist
As a bicyclist, you should follow proper road safety rules and fully understand how road safety works. For starters, you should plan your journey to know which roads are less congested and which ones have more bicycle lanes.
Other tips for riding on the road include:
- Ride with the traffic, not against it
- Always look before turning and changing lanes, and use proper hand signals
- Weaving on and off the road can be dangerous, especially between parked cars or where sudden obstructions can occur
- Never wear earphones or headphones when cycling
- Make eye contact with drivers at stop signs, when making turns, and when crossing intersections
- Regularly glance behind you and remain aware of your surroundings at all times
- When riding in groups, ensure all riders in the group are aware of how to ride safely
- Never drink or consume alcohol before riding your bicycle, as it impairs judgment and balance. Be sure that you are clued up on local jurisdictions.
Watch for Road Hazards
Road hazards in Florida can occur at any given moment. These can present themselves with the most significant risk and can cause injury.
Some typical road hazards and locations that are prone to bicycle accidents include:
- Filtering and overtaking
- Parked vehicles
- Wet roads
- Sharp debris
- Kids and animals
- Hidden gutters
Have You Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident or sustain any injuries, ensure that you observe your surroundings and move to a safe location. Try to determine exactly what happened and thoroughly communicate with those involved.
If you need a bicycle accident attorney in Florida, contact a personal injury attorney at FL Crime Defense with experience handling bicycle accident cases. We have more than 20 years of experience with individual injury cases. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today and call (863) 688-4606 today!
Bicycle Safety Tips During Summer in Florida FAQs
Do I have to wear a mask while bicycling during COVID-19?
You don’t have to wear a mask while cycling in Florida, but you have to carry one with you to protect yourself and others if you make contact during a ride.
Is bicycling against the traffic flow dangerous?
Cycling against the traffic is against the law, but it also makes cyclists harder to see by cars, results in more injuries when you are hit by a car, and endangers other cyclists and pedestrians.
What are the essentials I need when riding a bicycle?
Make sure to wear a helmet and some neons or reflective wear. It is also smart to keep a tiny medkit and some water.