Safety on Two Wheels AND on Four: Bicycle Safety And Awareness
Here in Central Florida, bicycles are a popular means of transportation. Our beautiful weather, mild (usually warm) climate, and flat roadways are great for bicyclists who want to exercise, save the environment, or just enjoy time in the fresh air. Unfortunately though, we also have many injuries and fatalities involving bicyclists due to a large number of vehicles sharing the roadways with pedestrians, especially in and around larger cities in the Tampa Bay and Lakeland region. We want to see ALL pedestrians kept safe, regardless of whether or not they are walking, running, or riding a bike. Everyone deserves to feel safe when they hit the road.
Just this week, Polk County residents are on the lookout for a suspect who killed a local Sheriff’s Office volunteer, Charles Hudson age 66, who was riding his bike along Kokomo Road in Haines City. The offender, Darrell Coleman Jr., fled the scene after the accident and is still missing. He has been brought in on narcotics-related charges in the past, and now has multiple warrants out for him following Monday’s accident. https://wfla.com/2017/07/24/po
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While this accident still has many unknowns, we do know that bicycle-related accidents often have various factors in common that can be easily prevented. So, how can we make sure our bicyclists are kept safe? Here are some simple tips to follow whether you are the one driving a bike OR a car.
1. Not sober? Pull over. Alcohol is a key factor in many accidents, whether it involves a bike or not. Sadly, many pedestrian fatalities are reported caused by intoxication of the bicyclist and/or the other driver. Don’t put yourself or others at risk. If you’ve had a couple of drinks, either stay where you are until you are sober if possible, or call a friend or family member to come and get you.
2. Look and Look Again. This is an important rule regardless of what you are driving…even if you are on something as small as roller skates or if you’re simply on foot. Before pulling out into any type of traffic, look once, twice, and again three times in each direction. What might seem like extreme, and almost unnecessary caution, could save your life and the lives of others. For those driving cars, it can be easy to miss a bike due to their small size, so be hyper-vigilant of the roadways when pulling out. This is especially true in the early morning and at dusk, when the faded light can play with your eyes and make it harder to see.
3. Slow Down. Speeding is a factor in many automobile accidents, but especially so in bike accidents. Drivers can’t stop on a dime, and if they are speeding, they are likely to hit any unexpected object or vehicle with force that can be extremely dangerous (and often fatal). If you are on a bicycle, be aware! If you’re the one driving a car, keep your speed in check, and pay attention to the limits. While it might seem “cool” or fun to hit top speeds, your safety and the safety of others is worth running a few minutes behind schedule.
4. Bad Weather = Extra Caution. Whether in a car, or on a bike, bad weather and poor driving conditions mean you need to take extra caution with even the most simple driving tasks. Speeding, taking turns too quickly, pulling out in front of another driver, etc. are all exacerbated when the roads are wet and/or slick from rain. During our summer months here in Florida, we often get heavy storms with lots of rain, and that leads to an increase in accidents.
5. Gear up. If you are riding a bike, WEAR A HELMET. While it’s not a law here in Florida, not wearing a helmet is just foolish. An accident without a helmet means a much higher likelihood of severe or fatal injuries.
While these factors may or may not have had any impact on this week’s accident, they DO affect bicyclists and motorists across the state and have led to lives being lost or drastically changed. If you or someone you love has been affected by the negligence of another driver, you could be eligible for compensation to help you with recovery and life after the accident. Don’t try to make it through the process alone. Sessums Law Group is here to walk alongside you as you navigate the unknowns of a trial. When the unexpected happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!