Though it is excellent news to hear that motor vehicle accident fatalities have decreased in recent years, it may come as a shock to find that death rates from bicycle accidents have been on the rise. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that bicyclists, pedestrian, and other non-occupant fatalities made up 28 percent of all deaths in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Breaking down this figure, there were 729 bike riders killed and approximately 45,000 injured during that year. Floridians are lucky to be able to enjoy bicycling 12 months a year, which means they are at a higher risk injury or death as compared to states where the cold, ice, and snow prevent riding. There are ways you can protect yourself from the most common causes of bicycle accidents, but it is important to work with an experienced attorney if you are hurt.
How Motorists Cause Bicycle Accidents
In general, negligence is usually behind most bike collisions. Though bicycle riders can be to blame, the person behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle is the one who can cause the most damage in a bicycle accident. Some common factors in these incidents include:
- Distracted Driving: Despite laws that prohibit some cell phone use while driving, there are many motorists who ignore the rules. There are other forms of distracted driving as well, such as eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, and related activities that take the driver’s attention from the road.
- Speeding: When speeding, a driver has less time to react to road conditions and avoid causing a bicycle accident.
- Visibility: People on bicycles are lower profile, so another driver may have a tough time spotting riders.
Safe Riding Tips to Avoid Bicycle Accidents
Victims are more likely to suffer serious injuries considering the difference in size of other motorized vehicles, but there are some recommendations to protect yourself. For instance:
- Always wear a helmet that fits your head properly. The NHTSA has a useful publication, “Easy Steps to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet,” that can help you find the right model for you.
- Make sure your bicycle fits as well. When standing over your bike, there should be 1-2 inches between your body and the top bar. Allow extra room for mountain bikes. The seat should be level and at a height that allows a slight bend in your knee when you fully extend your leg. In addition, adjust the handlebar height to match the seat level.
- Keep an eye out for road hazards, including potholes, debris, puddles, loose gravel, and other obstacles. These objects can throw off your balance and make you lose control of your bicycle.
- When possible, avoid riding at night. Even when you have proper lighting and wear reflective closing, it can still be difficult for drivers to see you.
Consult with a Skilled Ocala, FL Bicycle Accidents Attorney
Despite safety tips and exercising caution, you cannot completely prevent bike accidents. You do have rights if you are injured, so please call Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law to learn more about them. We can schedule a free consultation at our Ocala, FL office, so call 352-558-8480 or visit our website to set up an appointment today.