Is Florida Becoming More Dangerous for Cyclists?
Bicycle use is increasing, and so are bicycle injuries. According to some sources, in 2020, Florida was the most dangerous state in the U.S. for cyclists, pedestrians, and others who roll. In 2020, there were 5,948 bicycle crashes, with 163 fatalities. Unfortunately for Floridians, this has been an ongoing problem for both pedestrians and cyclists. As vehicular speed increases, cyclist injuries and deaths do too. Sarasota has seen its fair share of cyclist injuries and deaths.
Florida Laws Governing Cyclists
In general, cyclists are treated as operators of vehicles, and as such are subject to the same laws and rules that govern vehicular drivers. That means that cyclists must obey traffic signs and signals and follow the rules of the road.
Cyclists must travel as far to the right of the lane as is safe except when making a left turn, avoiding obstructions, or when the road is too narrow to ride to the right safely. Sharing the road with drivers makes cycling more dangerous.
New Florida Law: SB 950
Florida is trying to make cycling safer. It just enacted SB 950, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Bill, which became effective July 1, 2021. The new state law should make it safer for cyclists who share the road with vehicles. In summary, the law makes the following changes:
- It provides that “no-passing” zones no longer apply to drivers who want to pass a cyclist on the left by crossing briefly over the center lane markers. A passing vehicle must do so only when it can provide three feet or more clearance to the left of the cyclist. If the driver cannot provide that clearance, the driver must wait to pass until it is safe to do so.
- It requires that any driver making a right turn while passing or overtaking a cyclist can only turn when the cyclist is at least 20 feet away from the intersection still and far enough away from the vehicle that they can turn safely.
- Cyclists riding in groups may go through an intersection as a group of 10 or fewer, after coming to a full stop at the intersection. Drivers must allow one such group to pass before entering the intersection.
- Provides guidelines for cyclists in substandard width lanes and allows cyclists to ride two abreast to avoid dangerous conditions.
- Mandates at least 25 questions for driver’s license tests addressing bicycle and pedestrian safety.
There is very little protecting cyclists from injury when an accident occurs. Often, the injuries are severe, including broken bones which may require surgery. The drivers of vehicles must exercise due dare to avoid bike collisions. Too often, distracted drivers who are in a hurry to get somewhere end up seeing a cyclist too late to avoid a collision. When that occurs, you will need the help of a Sarasota bike accident attorney.
Speak with a Sarasota Bike Accident Attorney
We at Matthews Injury Law provide ourselves in providing thorough and compassionate legal services to our clients. Your case matters to us. Contact us with your questions and concerns to see what we can do to help you. In Sarasota, call us at 941-877-5800 or fill out our contact form to learn more.