Jacksonville is not the most “bicycle friendly” city. In fact, there were approximately 200 cyclists injured in motor vehicle accidents in Jacksonville in 2010. This makes our city the third-most dangerous city in the United States for bicyclists and pedestrians. Many areas of Jacksonville do not have designated bike lanes. Often bicyclists must ride on a sidewalk, which can lead to accidents. Many sidewalks are uneven and do not have curb cuts allowing for safe access on and off the sidewalk at intersections.
Every week we hear of accidents where bicyclists are injured when struck by cars or trucks. Other situations can cause bicycle accidents, such as potholes, sidewalk obstructions, construction and trees or shrubs blocking riding paths. Of course, bicycle accidents are often very severe and sometimes fatal.
Cyclists and motorists need to do their part to share the road responsibility. Many motorists do not realize that bicyclists have the same rights to the road as cars do. Drivers should be courteous by slowing down and maintaining a safe distance behind cyclists. Drivers should give cyclists the appropriate right of way and allow them extra time to cross intersections.
When it comes to passing a cyclist, drivers must pass at a safe distance. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least three feet. Motorists should never honk at cyclists or yell at them to get off the road – not only is it unsafe to do so, it is also illegal.
In exchange, cyclists must obey all traffic rules and follow the same rules as motorists. When riding in groups, cyclists should ride single file and stay as far to the right of the road as possible. It is important for cyclists to be aware of road debris and potholes along the side of the road and signal to riders behind them when they see something potentially dangerous so they can avoid it. One of the most important safety rules to follow is wearing a sturdy, well-fitting helmet that is approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
Riding a bicycle at night should be avoided, but if it is necessary, be sure to wear bright reflective clothing and make sure your bike has a red rear reflector and a white reflector on the front wheel. The National Safety Council recommends a bright headlight on your bike when riding at night.
Our firm is experienced in handling personal injuries that result from bicycle accidents. These claims can be quite complex given the interplay of automobile insurance, homeowner’s insurance, uninsured motorist insurance and health insurance. Insurers will often try to place blame on the bicyclist for causing the accident or not wearing safety gear. In addition, since persons riding a bicycle may not have any insurance to pay for medical bills, we are able to refer clients to a doctor who will agree to hold their bills until a recovery is made for the client.
If you have any questions about injuries suffered in a bicycle accident, do not hesitate to call our personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville for a free no obligation consultation.