In a candid, yet comical, account of riding a bike on the streets of Vero Beach, a cyclist described how a motorist exhibited a common misconception of vehicles and bicycles and right of way on the roads. The motorist slowed down her car, pulled up next to the cyclist, and yelled, “Get off my road! Roads are for cars!”
Florida Law – Bikes vs. Cars
During a turn of events, as the light ahead turned red, the cyclist was able to catch up to the driver and inform her that the Florida Driver’s Manual stated clearly that bicyclists have the right-of-way on Florida roads. She also enlightened the driver that motorists are legally required to give bicyclists three feet of clearance. Unfortunately, the driver continued to argue with the cyclist, adding that bicyclists should stay on the sidewalk.
Bikers “Own” the Road, Too
Sadly, the driver in this scenario is only one of many motorists who think that bicyclists should stay on the sidewalks or trails or otherwise off of the roads. Indeed, a bicyclist is allowed to ride in the entire lane of a road, along with traffic, if the road conditions require it. If there are potholes in the lane running down the side of the road, it is much safer to ride in the “car” lane.
Interestingly enough, most bikers will remain as far to the right on the roads as is safe as a common courtesy to drivers. It is a shame many drivers do not provide the same type of courtesy to cyclists. In 2013, Florida experienced 7,000 bicycle accidents, and the number one reason for those accidents was motorists who did not see the bicyclist. Despite the common courtesy bikers demonstrate to motorists, drivers in vehicles still tend to “overlook” cyclists.
The number of fatal crashes with bicyclists is still unreasonably high. All that is required of Florida motorists to reduce these crashes is to read, understand, and participate in the rules of the road regarding bicycles and become more cognizant of cyclists while driving. It is a simple case of common courtesy.
If a motorist in Tampa Bay has injured you while riding your bike, your pain and damage should be compensated. Contact an experienced Tampa Bay bicycle accident lawyer who will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our firm today for help.