Your safety, health, and well-being should be a top priority when you jump on your bicycle and hit the Florida roads. Yes, you want to have fun, but don’t put your safety at risk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 800 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2018. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the thousands of people who were injured.
While there’s nothing you can do to guarantee your safety when riding your bike, knowing the most common causes of bicycle vs. car accidents can help protect you.
Here are five mistakes that motor vehicle operators often make that can result in an accident against you as a cyclist:
Mistake 1: Aggressive driving against the cyclist
Some of the most common forms of aggressive driving include:
- Cutting a bicyclist off
- Driving in a bicycle lane
- Excessive speeding
Along with the above, road rage is a concern for all cyclists on Florida’s roads. For instance, if a driver becomes upset that they have to share the road with you, they could attempt to knock you to the ground.
If you see someone driving in an aggressive manner, do whatever it takes to create space between yourself and the driver.
Mistake 2: Distracted driving
Despite the many laws in place, distracted driving remains a major concern throughout Florida as well as the rest of the United States.
There are many forms of distracted driving that can endanger a cyclist, including but not limited to:
- Talking on the phone
- Operating vehicle controls
- Conversing with passengers
- Taming rowdy kids or pets
Sometimes, it’s easy to spot a distracted driver, such as if someone is swerving. If you’re a cyclist sharing the road with cars, look out for the above signs of a driver who is not paying attention.
Mistake 3: Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and/or prescription medication greatly increases the risk of a bicycle vs. car accident.
When a driver is under the influence, their judgment is impaired and their reaction time is slowed. Furthermore, it can cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
In many cases, the signs of drunk driving are similar to distracted driving, including swerving in and out of lanes.
Mistake 4: Drowsy driving can cause bicycle vs. car accident
Anyone can get tired while driving—and this doesn’t only happen during the evening and nighttime hours. Of course, some people are more likely to drive drowsy, such as those who work at night or commercial truckers.
Keep in mind that fatigued driving at night puts a bicyclist at extra risk, since you are harder to spot in the dark.
Make sure you have bicycle headlights and tail lights and wear brightly colored reflective clothing to make it easier for tired night drivers to see you on the road.
Mistake 5: Failure to follow the rules of the road
While most drivers take great pride in following the rules of the road, this doesn’t always hold true. Instead, someone may decide to ignore traffic laws, even though it puts everyone else in danger, including bicyclists.
Here are some of the many ways that a driver could violate the rules of the road:
- Running a red light
- Failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Failure to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
As you can imagine, drivers who violate traffic laws put you—as well as everyone else on the road—at risk of an accident.
Even though you don’t have any control over other drivers, you can control what you do. And for that reason, it’s critical that you closely follow Florida’s bicycle traffic laws.
What to do after a bicycle vs. car accident in Florida
As hard as you may try to maintain your safety, you could one day find yourself dealing with severe and/or delayed injuries after a bicycle vs. car accident.
If this happens, there are several key steps you must take:
- Stay where you are to assess your injuries and administer first-aid, if possible.
- Call 911 or request that another person does so on your behalf.
- Accept medical treatment at the scene, while also letting the paramedics transfer you to the hospital by ambulance.
- Receive medical treatment and follow the advice provided by your doctor.
- Keep all medical records as proof of your injuries in your bicycle accident claim against the driver.
Once you understand your injuries, long-term prognosis, and impact on your life, it’s time to turn your attention to two details:
- The cause of the bicycle vs. car accident
- Your legal rights in demanding financial compensation from the Florida driver.
If the driver was responsible for the accident, such as if they were under the influence, don’t hesitate to take steps to protect your legal rights.
You have the right to seek full compensation and have an experienced bicycle accident attorney negotiate for a settlement that covers all your damages including injuries, medical care, and lost wages.
Should you have questions or concerns about what to do after a bicycle vs. car accident in Florida, the Daytona Beach bicycle accident lawyers at Zimmet & Zimmet offer you over 40 years of experience and can easily point you in the right direction. Contact us online today or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.