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Are you following Florida bicycle roadway position laws?

Tens of thousands of bicyclists are injured every year in the United States. It's easy to understand why. Like motorcyclists, you don't have any protection from the elements when you're riding a bike.

Let's say you're riding to your job at the bank, just like you do every morning. However, on this particular day, a car hits you from behind. You fall off your bike and break your leg quite badly. Now you're stuck with doctor's bills a lot of time missed from work. The thing is, when you try to file a personal injury claim for damages, the court denies your claim.

Why was your claim denied? The judge says you broke Florida roadway position laws when you were riding your bicycle on the left-hand side of the road.

Florida's bicycle roadway position laws

The state of Florida has created many legal ordinances to ensure that bicyclists stay safe. However, police do not enforce these laws as stringently as motor vehicle laws. As a result, bicyclists are often ignorant of the law as it applies to them when they're on the road.

One area of the law that bicyclists need to know more about, for example, has to do with roadway position laws. For example, as a bicyclist, the only time you can ride in the same lane as a car is when you're traveling the same speed as other traffic. Otherwise, you need to be on the right-hand side of the road. Here are the only circumstances under which a bicyclist can leave the right-hand side of the roadway:

  • When passing a car or other vehicle that's going in the same direction.
  • When getting ready to make a left turn.
  • When required to avoid a potential collision with a parked or moving car, animal, pedestrian, turn lane or surface hazard.
  • When the road becomes too narrow to fit both a bicycle and a car beside one another.
  • When riding two abreast along the roadway. As long as they don't block traffic, bicyclists can ride up to two abreast. As soon as other cars are present, however, they need to return to riding single file.

Bicyclists may ride on the sidewalk, too. Here are the rules for riding on sidewalks and crosswalks:

  • The same rules, rights and obligations apply to bicyclists on sidewalks and in crosswalks that apply to pedestrians.
  • Bicyclists must provide the right-of-way to pedestrians. They also need to emit an audible signal to the pedestrian before passing.

Did you get injured in a bike crash?

There may be a lot of elements involved in a Port Saint Lucie bicycle versus car crash. For example, a defendant motorist might try to prove that a Florida bicyclist was violating the law when the crash occurred. However, the motorist may have been violating the law too, by speeding, failing to use a turn signal, driving while under the influence or some other violation. Injured bicyclists must carefully examine these kinds of facts - and others - in order to put their best feet forward in court during the pursuit of a personal injury c laim.

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