While Florida residents are lucky to have the weather to enjoy bicycling outdoors year-round, a high number of bicycling accidents has been an unfortunate corollary. Despite the number of serious injuries and fatalities declining, Florida’s death rate for bicyclists in accidents is still among the highest in the nation. The causes of bicycle-automobile accidents are numerous, but certainly include unsafe driving practices, lack of education on bicyclists’ rights, and the sheer number of drivers on the road. Florida published a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) in 2012, followed by a supporting Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan (PBSSP) in 2013, in an attempt to curb these harrowing statistics by increasing awareness, education, and compliance with safety laws on the road. Knowing and following the rules of the road will allow us to continue enjoying the road together safely.
What is FDOT Doing to Ensure Your Safety?
Since publishing the SHSP and PBSSP, FDOT has implemented additional practices to improve bicyclist safety on the road:
- Several counties started mapping accidents using GPS in order to find common locations of crashes and effective countermeasures at those locations.
- Training programs were conducted for cyclists and drivers to increase awareness of road safety.
- FDOT created a Partnership Council on bicycle and pedestrian mobility to promote the benefits of cycling and walking and provide guidance on bicyclist and pedestrian needs.
- The PBSSP evaluates in detail the most common crash areas, characteristics of crashes, and several objectives to effectuate further education and awareness.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Bicyclist
- You must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, you have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian; however, you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians; and must give an audible signal before passing.
- If you are not traveling at the same speed as other traffic, you must ride in a designated bike lane or as close as possible to the right-hand edge of the roadway. You may leave the right-most position to pass another vehicle moving in the same direction, to make a left turn, or when necessary to avoid a potential conflict (including when a lane is too narrow to allow a vehicle and a bicycle to ride safely side-by-side).
- You may not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding.
What Should I Do if I am in an Accident?
If you have been injured in a bicycling accident in Ocala or surrounding areas, let our experience help you. John Piccin can answer your questions, negotiate with insurance companies, and even make home or hospital visits to ensure that you get the help you need. Call us at 352-581-6174, or contact us online today.