With Florida’s mild climate and lovely scenery, it is not surprising so many Floridians take to bicycles daily, whether commuting, exercising or just enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, Florida is also one of the most dangerous states for cyclists. According to the Wall Street Journal, Texas, California and Florida account for about 40% of bicycle fatalities in the U.S., despite having only 27% of the total population.
Recent years have brought greater awareness of the need to share the road with bicycles and pedestrians. However, even a minor collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist may result in severe injury or death, making it essential to follow basic riding safety guidelines.
Dress for visibility
When it comes to sharing the road, visibility is paramount. During the day, fluorescent or neon-colored gear ensures that motorists and others on the road are aware of your presence.
Avoid cycling at night
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclist fatalities are most common between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. If you must ride during or after sunset, make sure to wear reflective gear and fit out your bike with a front headlight, front and rear reflectors and individual reflectors on both tires.
Ride with the flow of traffic
Cyclists should be moving in the same direction as other traffic and follow the same traffic signs, lane markings and signals as other vehicles on the road. Bicyclists must yield when exiting a driveway, bike path or sidewalk onto a shared road when there is no sign or traffic signal.
Keep movements predictable
Try to ride where motorists expect to see you so they can predict your movements and react accordingly. Avoid passing on the right or making frequent lane changes. Additionally, you should always signal your moves to others well in advance of a turn or other maneuver and after you have checked that the way is clear.