Orlando is one of the most dangerous cities for bicyclists in the nation. To be sure, a Dangerous by Design study listed Orlando-Kissimmee as the most dangerous city for those who walk or bike outside, based on the area’s lack of pedestrian/bike-infrastructure, lack of adequate spending and enforcement of laws, and lack of programs designed to improve safety. As such, if you live in the Orlando area and travel by bicycle, it is extremely important that you exercise caution when doing so. Here are some tips for safe riding:
Wear the Proper Gear
Wearing the right gear as a bicyclist is of the utmost importance. Not only does wearing the right gear help drivers of motor vehicles see you, but it also reduces your chances of suffering severe injuries in the event that you are in a crash. Proper gear and clothing for riding includes:
- Close-toed shoes;
- Bright colored clothing;
- A reflective vest or clothing equipped with built in reflectors or reflective tape; and
- A Department of Transportation-approved, properly fitting, helmet.
Wearing a helmet while riding is arguable the most important safety precaution you can take. You should also ensure that your bike is equipped with a light and reflector.
Avoid Traffic When Possible
If you can avoid traffic to get to your destination, do so; the more highly congested with vehicles an area is, the greater your risk of being involved in an accident. If bike lanes are not available, try to avoid riding. While you have the right to ride in the road, doing so is not always within your best interest. If there is a less congested route or a way to get to your location through the neighborhoods, choose this area instead.
Always Pay Attention
As a cyclist, you may assume that other drivers are paying attention and see you. However, this is not always the case, as drivers are often distracted. Distracted driving is especially dangerous for cyclists who are traveling straight when a driver wants to make a right-hand turn, as the driver may fail to see the cyclist and stop for them. As a cyclists, always assume that drivers do not see you, and make eye contact before traveling through an intersection or biking in front of a driveway with a vehicle. Making eye contact could save your life.
Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities
As a cyclist, you also have an obligation to understand your responsibilities (and your rights) when riding, and knowing your responsibilities can help you to be a safer rider. For example, Florida code prohibits cyclists from carrying more than one person at a time, requires that those persons under the age of 16 always wear a helmet, requires bicyclist to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and certain areas of the roadway, and requires a bicycle to be equipped with brakes (amongst other things).
If you are involved in a crash, you also have rights. One of those rights is the right to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who hit you, or to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured in a bicycle crash, it is important to take action quickly.
Bike Safely in Orlando and Don’t Hesitate to Contact an Orlando Bicycle Attorney for Help
Bike riding is a great way to be outside, exercise, and help to protect the planet. However, cyclists should always prioritize the safety tips above in order to reduce the risk of a collision. If you have been injured in a wreck, consider calling an Orlando personal injury attorney for immediate assistance.