As a triathlete, I’m an ardent advocate of bicycling. It’s good for your health, good for the environment, and tons of fun but there are risks.
The good news is that those risks have been mitigated in recent years for younger riders, as more of them are wearing helmets and taking other precautions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deaths among bicyclists younger than 20 have declined 88 percent since 1975. The bad news is that deaths among bicyclists 20 and older have nearly tripled.
In 2014, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, Florida recorded 7,077 bicyclist crashes, resulting in 6,680 injuries and 135 fatalities. Of those crashes, 46 occurred in Martin County and 110 in St. Lucie. While that was an increase over 2013 of just one incident for Martin, the increase in St. Lucie was more than 60 percent.
There is an abundance of excellent information available on how to stay safe, and most of it is online. My favorite guide is the DHSMV Today, Alive Tomorrow program, which you can find at http://www.alerttodayflorida.com/
Here are my Top Five Safety Tips for bicycling:
Follow the law always ride with the flow of traffic and obey all traffic signals.Be predictable make your intentions clear and always signal your turns.Be conspicuous wear brightly colored clothing with reflective material.Think ahead anticipate what other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will do next.Check your equipment make sure your bicycle is in good working order and well maintained.
Remember also that under Florida Law, a bicycle accident is just the same as a car accident when it comes to your rights. To protect those rights if you’re involved in an accident, you have to see a doctor within 14 days, and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.