Bicycle Safety Precautions Worthwhile, But Accidents Happen

Bicycles are an inexpensive and healthy way to get around.  Some people bicycle for relaxation, while others bicycle for competition; and many simply bike for fun. In south Florida, the nice weather allows for bicycling year round, but bicyclists must still be aware of others on the road.

Safety precautions

When cycling on roads, there are a variety of precautions an individual can take for safety.  The first rule is to have a bicycle that fits the individual.  When an individual sits on a bicycle, their feet should touch the ground.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests “there should be 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bike. The seat should be level front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be level with the seat.”

It is also important that bicycle tires be properly inflated and that the brakes are in proper order.  Also, it is imperative that one have a reflector on the back of the seat and reflectors on both wheels.  It is also helpful for a cyclist to have a headlight to allow cars to see them.  Safe Kids Worldwide suggests that cyclists “wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.”

One of the most important safety precautions is to have a proper fitting helmet.  The helmet should fit snugly with the front low on the forehead.  The side straps form a “v” over the ear and angle towards the chin. Once buckled under the chin, the rider should be able to fit no more than two fingers under the strap.  NHTSA has a pamphlet entitled “Fitting a Bike Helmet” giving detailed instructions and pictures.

Accidents happen

While using safety gear and being an aware cyclist can protect cyclists from many things, accidents still happen.  In February 2012, cyclist Aaron Cohen was hit by a car on the Rickenbacker Causeway and died.  The driver fled the scene.  Cohen was a triathlete and took safety precautions prior to riding.  He knew the rules of the road and followed them.

Investigators found evidence suggesting [the driver] had been drinking before he struck Cohen. But they were unable to test his blood alcohol level because he drove away.”  The driver was sentenced to 364 days in jail for leaving the scene of a crime.  If the driver had been found driving drunk, the sentence would have been a minimum of four years.

The cycling community is petitioning for a legislative proposal called the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act.  This proposal supports “increasing the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident to be more commensurate with penalties for driving under the influence (DUI).”

Take precautions when riding a bicycle.  But if you are injured while riding a bicycle, contact our knowledgeable attorneys to assess your situation to determine if you have a case.

The attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, PA.  will provide a free, no obligation consultation at our South Florida offices located in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties. If you are unable to travel, we can see you at your home, hospital, or other location which is convenient for you. Call us at (305) 653-5555 or contact us to schedule your free consultation today.