There are many benefits to riding a bicycle around St Petersburg. Living on the west coast means being lucky enough to bike out to any of the area’s gorgeous beaches to watch the sun go down. With Florida’s warm weather, biking to enjoy the sunshine is a beloved pastime by many people who live in the area. This is why a bicycle accident can be so devastating and shocking, and safety is such a big concern for cyclists.
Personal injury law is the area of practice where individuals can bring forth civil suits against those who have caused them harm or injury through recklessness or negligence. When you have been injured in a bicycle accident and are facing mounting medical bills, smaller or nonexistent paychecks, auto repair bills, or even credit card bills from trying to pay everything off, then you need to speak with an attorney to receive compensation for the various losses and injuries you suffered.
Understanding St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Law
There are many different road users, and each must obey the laws relevant to how they are using the road.
According to Florida Statute Section 316.2065, all bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and signals. They must follow the laws of roadway position, left turns, sidewalk riding and other bicycle regulations. Parents or guardians need to be careful when they are with their children and ensure that they are properly following the bike regulations.
Additionally, residents of the city of St Petersburg who own or have a bicycle in their possession must register it with the police department. In some parts of the city, bicycle riding on the sidewalk is prohibited.
In the state of Florida, cyclists who are age 16 or under must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and fastened securely on their head and meets the federal safety standards for bicycle helmets. Law enforcement and even school safety guards can issue verbal warnings to bicycle riders who do not.
If you are riding after sunset or before sunrise then you must be riding with a bike headlight, tail light and rear reflector. And remember, if you need to make a turn, then you must signal in advance using standard hand signals.
All cyclists in Florida must yield to traffic signs and signals just like drivers of motor vehicles. This includes stopping at stoplights and stop signs. However, if a cyclist is riding on a crosswalk or sidewalk, then they are treated as a pedestrian. It’s important for cyclists to know that they have to ride on the right side of the road just as if they were a motor vehicle. The problem that occurs when they don’t is that if a cyclist is coming from the opposite direction, then it puts them both at risk of crashing into each other. In order to avoid that, one of them would have to go into the street. When all cyclists use the correct side of the road, it keeps other St Petersburg cyclists protected.
All drivers are required to assume a duty of care to avoid harming other road users. If a biker is traveling on the road in the appropriate bike lane and obeying all relevant street laws, then they are less likely to share any of the fault with the driver.
A problem can arise when a motorist needs to make a right-hand turn, which is where the bike lane is. When there is a turn lane available, the cyclist must exit the bike lane and get into the turn lane so that the motorist has a clear path to drive through the intersection and go on their way. If the cyclist must go straight, then they need to stay to the left side of the bike lane to let the driver know that they are going straight through.
Drivers must not make a right turn or enter a bike lane without first checking to ensure that there are no cyclists in their path. Additionally, motorists must leave at least three feet between their vehicle and bicycles.
Unsafe Driving Results in Rising Rate of Bicyclist Deaths
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why riding a bicycle can be dangerous. Some of the biggest complaints that riders have are that they don’t like riding in traffic because:
- Drivers often don’t know or don’t follow appropriate laws, or
- They are afraid that they will be harassed or harmed by a driver, or
- They are concerned about distracted drivers, especially when riding on certain routes.
Cyclists often don’t report aggressive drivers because they are afraid that law enforcement will not do anything for them. And in fact, female cyclists are twice as likely as men to reduce how much road riding they do just to avoid aggressive driver behavior.
When drivers are distracted, they can’t react in time before colliding with a biker. When drivers are not safe and responsible behind the wheel, it can lead to permanent injury or death.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Offer Before Talking to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If the insurance company has given you an offer, then do not accept it. Our qualified and experienced personal injury attorneys at Lewis & Castagliola, P.A., can get you what you deserve, so call us and have our work with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact a St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Lawyer
It is important that you do not apologize or accept responsibility for the bike crash or attempt to determine who caused it. An experienced, highly-knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney will be able to investigate your personal injury claim and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. You should also not talk to the insurance company without your attorney. The lawyers for the insurance company will pounce on anything that you say that could be used to prove some level of fault on your end in order to reduce your settlement amount.