Bicycle riding is great — it keeps you fit, it’s environmentally friendly and, perhaps best of all, it can be fun. But it can also be dangerous. Bicycle accidents occur all too frequently. One such example is the recent report of a 29-year-old bicyclist, Tampa resident Michael Duriel Lee, who was killed in a hit-and-run collision at the U.S. 92 overpass crossing at Interstate 4.
Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reports that in the year 2011 there were 5,013 bicycle crashes statewide causing 120 fatalities and 4,632 injuries. Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in the same year, 677 pedal cyclists were killed and 48,000 more were injured. This accounted for 2 percent of the total of all traffic crash deaths and injuries for the year. Pedal cyclists include riders of different types of pedal-powered vehicles, such as bicycles, unicycles and tricycles.
Bicycle safety tips
Given the danger, there are ways you can reduce the risk of being the victim of a bicycle accident. Here are some useful road safety tips:
- Wear a helmet. A properly fitted helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries resulting from a crash.
- Stay visible. Wear bright clothing by day and reflective clothing at night.
- Keep your bicycle in good repair. Make sure your brakes, lights, reflectors, tires and other parts are all in good working order.
- Don’t wear a listening device such as a headset or headphones. This is illegal in Florida. These devices can be distracting and may prevent you from hearing what is happening around you.
- Signal before maneuvering. Give other road users sufficient warning before you turn.
- Obey traffic laws. Wait for lights to turn green, stop at stop signs and ride with the traffic flow.
- Watch out for parked vehicles. Don’t stay too close to the curb, as you might be unable to get out of the way if a door is opened suddenly.
- Pay attention. Always be aware of what is happening on the road around you and be extra careful to check what’s behind you before you turn.
- Try to make eye contact with other road users. It’s a good way to ensure they see you.
The above are just some examples of how to improve road safety, but there is no substitute for using your common sense. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, speak to an experienced St. Petersburg bicycle accident attorney without delay.