Category Archives: Bike Wreck & Accidents

Bicycle Wreck Checklist

bicycle accident checklistAccording to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicycle accidents. In all, 846 bicyclists were killed in the United States, with Florida taking the lead with 161 deaths.

Most jurisdictions, whether state, county, or city, have some form of “bike law(s)” that apply to both motorists and cyclists. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should be reviewed on a regular basis by seasoned cyclists regardless of the purpose of the endeavor: recreation, commuting, etc.

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

In these situations, it is far more likely that the cyclist will be significantly injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths in the US (0.75 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 0.26). A higher number of bicycles on the road surely plays a part in this statistic.

Steps to Avoiding An Accident With A Vehicle

This is along the lines of what is in the personal control of the cyclist, and much of this is also addressed by bike laws:

  • A tuned, functional, and road-fit bicycle (brakes, reflectors)
  • Adequate safety lights (forward and backward facing)
  • A safe helmet intended for bicycle use
  • Bright or reflective attire
  • Eyewear for the weather or daylight conditions.

Proper planning is also in the control of the cyclist, though not mandated by bike laws:

  • Choosing a well-lit route
  • Choosing roadways with fewer obstacles such as crossroads, driveways, and construction zones
  • Avoiding dawn and dusk riding when a blinding sun may be on the horizon… The list could go on depending on the specifics of the cycling location chosen.

These factors, combined with the notion of respecting the rules of the road and anticipating vehicles and other pedestrians (“riding defensively”), are a fantastic frame for controlling what can be controlled to the best of the ability of the cyclist.

bicycle wreck checklistIn the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur, this should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving cars-attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement. Documentation of the scene (photos), notation of or digital voice memos regarding the incident (document the weather and road conditions, time of day, identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, dates of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate or tag numbers), identification of any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries, including damage to property

Bicycle Accident Checklist

1. Call the police and report the accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).

2. Pay attention to and remember what the other party says about how the accident occurred.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, lighting, and other property.

4. Report the crash to your own car insurance company as soon as possible. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims (let your lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Personal Injury Protection. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills.  Allow the ER or hospital to bill you through your car insurance.

6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of the bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle

7. Keep track of injuries.

8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.

9. Consult a personal injury lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

10. Always remember: you are invisible on a bicycle.

Seek Medical Care (even if you think the injury is minor)

Seeking medical care for a thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional (emergency department, urgent care, primary care provider, medical specialist) should not be overlooked or delayed.

The most common injuries, such as skin abrasions (i.e., road rash), may be a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments, while a broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck, or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge

Test your knowledge

https://flbikesafetyquiz.com

For more information review the links below and research the organizations specific to your locale:

CDC Bicycle Safety

https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/bicycle/index.html

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

Florida Bicycle Association

https://floridabicycle.org

Bike Pensacola

https://www.bikepensacola.org/

West Florida Wheelmen

https://www.westfloridawheelmen.org/advocacy

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf

2019 data release – published October 2021

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813197

https://divingdaily.com/2022/04/24/5-bicycle-safety-tips-every-rider-should-know/

Why Would My Car Insurance Have Anything To Do With A Crash While Riding A Bike Or A Scooter?

These days, injuries and deaths are rising at an alarming rate as more and more of us are turning to alternative means of transportation, but at the same time, we continue to “share” the road with full-sized cars. This is not to mention that most people driving cars these days are also distracted with their devices, so the idea of sharing the road with a car while your only protection is a scooter or a bike frame is alarming. The incidents of scooter versus car-related injuries and deaths have more than doubled in the last several years, and as more and more communities embrace and encourage bike and scooter usage, unfortunately, this increase will continue.

 

At first thought, your car insurance may not seem applicable if you are injured while riding a bike or a scooter. If, on the other hand, your scooter or bike injury was caused by a motor vehicle (car, truck, SUV, low-speed vehicle, or motorcycle), you may have insurance benefits under your own car insurance policy (or one in your household) that would protect you.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist coverage provides compensation to an insured for bodily injury or wrongful death inflicted by the negligence of an uninsured motorist.

Brown v. Progressive Mutual Insurance Co., 249 So.2d 429 (Fla. 1971) – Underinsured motorist coverage provides the same protection when there is a deficiency in the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.

Dewberry v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 363 So.2d 1077 (Fla. 1978) – Both “un” insured and “under” insured motorist coverages apply when the at-fault driver injures or kills someone while they are doing anything, including but not limited to being on a scooter or bike. The only requirements are that the at-fault driver must be a motorist and must be either underinsured or uninsured.

Insurance Companies Are Not On Your Side

Some policies attempt to limit the definition of an uninsured vehicle to one that is only capable of being driven on a roadway. Other policies do not have limiting language. This key issue can present coverage problems for the injured party or their family, and caution should be exercised when conversing about this incident with you or your family’s own insurance company. Their first objective is NOT to serve their customer’s best interests. Every insurance company’s first objective is to SAVE MONEY. Some customers find this hard to believe since they have been paying for insurance for “X” number of years and they will take care of me. That’s not the way this world works.

Insurance companies do not have feelings; they have balance sheets and a mission statement that is both geared to saving as much of the premiums as possible. Paying LESS than they should, rather than what is fair, serves the entire business model. For this reason, when you and your family are dealing with a serious injury that potentially involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer first before having discussions with them.

UM Benefits For Your Injuries

UM benefits (as both under and uninsured motorist coverages are collectively referred to) are available to the named insured on the policy, the named insured spouse, and the relatives of either who reside in the same household.

Mullins v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., 252 So.2d 229 (Fla. 1971). Further, UM coverage also applies to permissive operators and occupants of the insured vehicle. (This wouldn’t be applicable to the instant discussion since we are assuming the injured party is on a scooter or bike).

The terms “resident” and “relative” have been litigated throughout the State of Florida when insurance companies have denied paying UM claims based upon their position that someone is not related or is not a resident of a household.

This issue may be relevant in scooter and bike injury and death cases because many times the rider is a younger person who may have a permanent residence with their parents, even if they have their own apartment elsewhere for part of the year. That is why it is so important to discuss these issues with a personal injury lawyer before speaking with them about the potential case.

Given the rise in usage of scooters and bikes in our urban areas, it is important to realize that injuries involving cars versus scooters or bikes will also likely rise. If you or your family has been injured or killed by a motorist while your loved one was on a scooter or bike, we would encourage you to contact our firm at 855HIREJOE or via the web at zarzaurlaw.com.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of  a car versus scooters or bikes, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.justice.org/resources/publications/trial-magazine

https://weartv.com/news/local/pensacola-city-council-takes-steps-towards-changes-to-bird-scooter-pilot-program

https://www.wkrg.com/northwest-florida/after-crash-pensacola-man-urges-riders-to-use-caution-on-bird-scooters/

Bicycle Accident Law – What You Need To Know

Whether a cyclist is riding a bicycle as a means of commuting, recreation, or exercise, it is imperative that those taking to the roadways, sidewalks, or pedestrian travel lanes on anything other than a motorized vehicle understand the rights extended to the cyclist as well as the responsibilities expected of the cyclist.

Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicyclists, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 783 bicyclists were killed in the United States with Florida taking the lead with 125 deaths.

Almost every jurisdiction be it state, county, or city has some form of “bike law(s)” which dictates (s) to both motorist and cyclist. Understanding those laws is a great first step for many and should also be routinely reviewed by the seasoned cyclist no matter the purpose of the endeavor – recreation, commuting, etc.

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

In these situations, it is far more likely that the cyclist will be more significantly injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths in the US (0.57 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 0.23.). A higher number of bicycles on the road surely plays a part in this statistic.

Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road, just as drivers are. 


For example:
– They must ride with the flow of traffic instead of against it.
– They must yield the right of way when indicated.
– They must stay in the designated bike lane. If there is not a bike lane, they must ride as far to the right as possible. (However, they may edge closer into the lane to avoid obstacles like potholes.

Always be on the lookout for this type of maneuvering. Paying attention can prevent many accidents.)


So, YES, cyclists have to stop at stop signs. They have to wait to turn left at a green light when there is oncoming traffic. They have to stop for pedestrians!


The rules apply to them as well, and when they disregard them, it can have devastating consequences.

In addition to that, taking the basic steps to mitigate the ever-present risk of an accident or avoiding/limiting the likelihood of a  car accident altogether should also be something that is requisite among all cyclists.

Florida Biking Laws, Broken Down

– Bikes are treated as vehicles.
– Cyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
– Cyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
– You cannot carry passengers on a bike that is not intended to carry more than one person.
– Parents must not allow minors to violate any of Florida’s provisions.
– All bikes must come equipped with a braking system.
– If riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
– Bikes must be equipped with a lamp when operating between sunset and sunrise.
– Bicyclists must use the designated bike path when not traveling at the speed of other traffic.

More Laws at FLORIDA BICYCLE. ORG

 

Steps To Avoiding A Wreck With a Vehicle

Along the lines of what is in the personal control of the cyclist and much of this is also addressed by bike laws: a tuned, functional, and road fit bicycle (brakes, reflectors); adequate safety lights (forward and backward facing); a safe helmet intended for bicycle use; bright or reflective attire; eyewear for the weather or daylight conditions.

Proper planning is also in the control of the cyclist, though not mandated by bike laws: choosing a well-lit route; choosing roadways with fewer obstacles such as crossroads, driveways, construction zones; avoiding dawn and dusk riding when a blinding sun may be on the horizon… the list could go on depending on the specifics of the locale one is opting to use for cycling.

These factors combined with the notion of respecting the rules of the road and anticipating vehicles and other pedestrians (”riding defensively”) are a fantastic frame for controlling what can be controlled to the best of the ability of the cyclist.

What Do you Do If You Are Hit By a Vehicle?

In the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur this should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving cars – attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.

Following that, documentation of the scene (photos), notation of or digital voice memos regarding the incident (document the weather and road conditions, time of day, identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, dates of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate or tag numbers), identify any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries including damage to helmet and attire, and documentation of the damage to the vehicle(s) and bicycle(s).

Bicycle Accident Check List

1. Call the police and report the accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).

2. Listen and remember what the other party says to you about how the accident happened. Don’t agree to anything said by the at-fault driver/party that caused the accident.

3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, lighting, and other property.

4. Report the crash to your own car insurance company as soon as possible. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims (let your bike accident lawyer deal with the at-fault party and their insurance company).

5. Seek medical assistance. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Have the ER/hospital bill your car insurance company.

6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of the bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle.

7. Document injuries.

8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.

9. Consult an accident lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.

10. Always remember – you are invisible on a bicycle.

Always Seek Medical Attention! (Even if you think the injury is minor)

Seeking medical care for a thorough assessment by a qualified medical professional (emergency department, urgent care, primary care provider, medical specialist) should not be overlooked or delayed.

The most common accident injuries such as skin abrasions (i.e. road rash) may be a harbinger of an underlying injury such as fractures, dislocations, cardiopulmonary or vascular injury, or disrupted tendons/ligaments while a broken helmet could be an indication that an evaluation for intracranial, neck or cervical spine injury may be warranted.

Test Your Bike Law Knowledge

Take the tests, for both cyclists and drivers!

For more information review the links below and research the organizations specific to your locale:

CDC Bicycle Safety

2021 Florida Statutes – 316.2065:  Bicycle regulations

Florida Bicycle Association

Bike Pensacola

West Florida Wheelmen

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

https://media.acg.aaa.com//content/1205/files/2019%20Q2%20Consumer%20Pulse_Bicycle%20Safety.pdf

Florida Changes Bicycle Safety Law in Effort to Reduce Fatal Accidents

Since COVID19, more people are riding bicycles. It is a great way to get exercise and fresh air. However, more bikes on the road mean more injuries for bike riders.


IT IS ESTIMATED THAT ALMOST 1000 PEOPLE DIE PER YEAR IN BIKE ACCIDENTS WITH AUTOMOBILES OR TRUCKS


Most vehicles vs bike accidents occur in rush hour, or just after dark when traffic conditions are most crowded and dangerous. 80 percent happen in urban areas with 63 percent on major roadways.

Astounding Bicycle vs Automobile Fatal Accident Statistics

8 times more men than women die in these incidents (Most are 50 years old or older)

25 percent who died were intoxicated.

37 percent of the automobile drivers were intoxicated in these deadly crashes.

61 percent who died were not wearing helmets.

It should be noted that these statistics were for the years 2010-2019. It is anticipated that there will be many more accidents and deadly accidents recorded in 2020 and 2021.

New Florida Law Passed to Address This Problem

The 2021 session of the Florida legislature passed a sweeping new law to address this deadly problem. Senate bill 950, entitled Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety came into effect July 1, 2021 and addresses many common safety issues. This bill revises requirements for drivers of motor vehicles overtaking bikes, turning bikes, riding configurations and cyclist rules at stop signs. It also required the Florida DOT to have an annual awareness and safety campaign and require the driver’s license exam to include bicycle safety questions. The bill passed unanimously and was signed by Governor DeSantis.

Cars Overtaking a Bike or E-bike.

Florida law governs the situation where a car overtakes a bike or e-bike. The law requires a car to remain a safe distance behind a cyclist before being able to pass them. It also requires at least three feet of clearance space when passing. It also legalizes driving safely and briefly to the left of the center in a no-passing zone to allow the safe passage of cyclists. This is a significant change to the law as it was previously not allowed.

The law prohibits right turns from a side road unless the cyclist is at least 20 feet away from the intersection. This prevents the “right hook” crash where the turning driver crashes into the bicyclist who is close to the intersection.

The law allows a cyclist turning left at an intersection to use the whole left turn lane. It requires the cyclist to stay close to the right edge of the roadway after crossing the intersection.

Single (or two) Cyclist and Narrow Lane

As you know, many areas now have dedicated bike lanes, which cyclists are required to use. However, in areas where there is no such lane, the cyclist must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. This allows cars to safely travel past them. Similarly, if the bike lane is too narrow to accommodate cyclists riding abreast, the cyclist must ride single file. Unfortunately, many lanes are too narrow to accommodate two cyclists. Cyclists may only ride more than two abreast if riding on a dedicated bike path, not a bike lane on a roadway.

What About Groups of Cyclists on the Road?

Cycling groups are more common than ever. Such groups must come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Motor vehicles must allow one group of 10 to travel forward before moving through an intersection. It is hopeful that common courtesy would avoid this problem, but motorists must yield to cyclists in this manner or be in violation of the law.

Violation of the New Law

The new law states that a violation of any of these rules is non-criminal inflation, punishable as a moving violation. Presumably, a violation would include points on your driver’s license and negatively affect your insurance rates.

The law also provides for required safety programs and for at least 25 questions in the test bank for the driver’s license set to address bike and pedestrian safety.

Final Overview:

Now motorists MUST obey the 3 feet passing law
If a motorist cannot give 3 feet when passing, then the motorist must stay behind the cyclist until passing with at least 3 feet is possible.  Law enforcement previously complained about the difficulty in enforcing the 3 feet passing law.  This law improves enforcement.

Motorists CAN cross the center lane in a no-passing zone to safely pass a cyclist.
The law makes it legal for a motorist to briefly and safely cross the center lane in a no-passing zone, in order to pass a cyclist by 3 feet.  Previously, it was confusing as to whether motorists could cross a double yellow line to pass a cyclist.  Now it is clear that they can, rather than passing dangerously within 3 feet.

Motorists CANNOT turn right in front of a cyclist within 20 feet of any intersection.
The law states that a motorist, who is going in the same direction as a cyclist, may not make a right turn if the cyclist is within 20 feet of this intersection.  This is a designed safety provision to prevent “right hook” crashes by cyclists.

Bicyclists SHOULD use the left lane before making a left turn.
The law clarifies that bicyclists should use the left lane for motor vehicle traffic before attempting to make a left turn at an intersection.

Group riders should cross intersections with stop signs in groups of 10 or less. 
The law describes how cyclists should handle stop signs when participating in a group ride.  The law says that after coming to a complete stop, bicyclists can proceed through the intersection in a group of 10 or less at a time.  Vehicles must allow a group of 10 or less to get through the intersection before the vehicle moves forward.

 

Zarzaur Law, P.A. handles many cases involving serious injury from these devastating bicycle crashes and welcomes any laws or regulations that will improve safety. Violation of these rules is an important issue in cases involving bikes and cars and often requires a careful analysis to make your case.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.wpbf.com/article/florida-bicycle-safety-laws-in-effect-education/37036312

https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/BillSummaries/2021/html/2502

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/contributors/2021/07/19/law-change-crossing-double-yellow-ok-protect-bike-riders-opinion/7929452002/

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/950

 

 

 

National Bike Month – Florida Laws for Cyclists

About Florida Laws for Cyclists
Americans are increasingly bicycling to commute, for exercise, or just for fun – especially post COVID. By Florida Laws for Cyclists, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR CYCLISTS IN FLORIDA? >

May is Bicycle Safety Month, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges bicyclists and motorists to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights. Bicycle Safety Month was created to remind the public to put “safety first.


  • Nearly 700 cyclists died on U.S. roads last year. The vast majority were men, who comprised 80.1% of the victims. Women accounted for 12.8%. Unknown accounted for 7.2%
  • Hit-and-run accidents accounted for more than a quarter of the fatal accidents in 2020. That number was 26.1%.
  • The states with the most cyclist deaths were California (118); Florida (90); New York (44); Texas (44); and Louisiana (34). While populous states such as California and Florida had some of the most cyclist deaths per million residents, Louisiana tops that list. That state recorded 7.3 fatalities per million residents.

Things You must know about Florida Laws for Cyclists
For Motorists, “SAFETY FIRST”  Means That Vehicles Must Share the Road with Bicyclists.  NHTSA Strongly Advises Motorists To:

  • Always respect bike lanes and allow at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
  • Be vigilant of cyclists before opening a car door or reversing in a parking lot
  • Check for cyclists before making a turn
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as instructed by road signage
  • Never drive under the influence or when you are distracted

The NHTSA Strongly Recommends That Cyclists:

  • USE A PROPERLY FITTED CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) APPROVED HELMET. For more information on fitting a bike helmet, visit your trusted bicycle store or the NHTSA website.
  • ENSURE ALL EQUIPMENT AND PARTS (BRAKES, TIRES, SEATS, HANDLEBARS) FUNCTION – and fit properly.
  • RIDE STRAIGHT AND USE HAND SIGNALS AT EVERY LANE CHANGE –  or turn so motorists can anticipate your movements.
  • ALWAYS OBEY ROAD SIGNAGE – as well as signals and lane markings. Travel with traffic in the same direction.
  • STAY ALERT FOR TRAFFIC AND OBSTACLES – Avoid the use of any electronic devices.
  • ENSURE VISIBILITY TO MOTORISTS  – by wearing bright, reflective colors and using bicycle lights at dusk or dark.
  • NEVER RIDE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR when you are distracted.
  • DON’T GET DOORED– Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road lined with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in the car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.
  • SIGNAL A WARNING– Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potentially dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.
  • STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE– Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or an instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.
  • READ THE LIGHTS– Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.
  • KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY– If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling but be prepared to stop.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

 

Sources:
https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/safety-tips-for-motorists-and-cyclists-for-national-bike-month/

https://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/

https://www.outsideonline.com/2420196/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year#close

Florida Law Related to E-Bikes.

E-bikes are becoming more and more popular in our country.  In fact, in the last 3 years the sales of these motor assisted bikes has tripled and there were approximately 65 million in e-bike sales in 2017.  These bikes are popular since they open the activity to groups of individuals that would otherwise not feel comfortable or capable of riding a human power bike given physical condition.  For those that are perfectly capable, these e-bikes allow the rider to increase the distance that they otherwise would not be able to drive on their bikes.

Studies have suggested that e-bikes require 64% less energy than walking and 22% less energy than regular cycling.  Even though regular cyclist may not be attracted to an e-bike, it certainly increases the group of potential riders when those who ordinarily would not consider a regular bike would be more likely to cycle on a bike with an electric engine.

 

DEFINITION OF AN E-BIKE
In Florida, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle” so long as it is capable of being propelled by human power and has a maximum speed of 20mph.  The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles.

 

REQUIREMENTS TO OWN AND RIDE AN E-BIKE
E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirement that apply to motor vehicles.  Certain communities in Florida have outlawed e-bikes and so it is important that you check with your local governing agencies before purchasing one of these bikes since each city or county may have special laws applying to these vehicles.

Gas powered bikes are illegal in Florida.

Helmets are not required by law and the minimum age for use of e-bikes is 16.  E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths but many counties require that when being used on sidewalks that bikes must be ONLY under human power and not motorized.

Florida Statutes Sections 322.01, 316.003.

 

E-MOUNTAIN BIKES (eMTB)
The rules associated with trails varies significantly depending upon whether the trail is managed by federal, state, or local government agencies.  You should consult each such trail prior to operating a e-bike on such trail.

E-MTBs May Not be Allowed on Trails Managed for Non-motorized Activities.

Most importantly, from a safety standpoint helmets, although not required by law, should always be worn on all types of bikes.  This is even more important when the bike is operated at higher speeds since the greater the bike’s speed the greater the force of any impact that a collision would cause.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF FLORIDA LAW VIOLATIONS AS IT PERTAINS TO E-BIKES.
1. If you are caught operating an e-bike under motorized power on a sidewalk, the operator will be issued a moving traffic citation for operating a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk. Florida Statute 316.1995.

2. Parents who knowingly allow a juvenile who has no driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle on public streets may be cited for a violation of Florida Statute 322.35, “Permitting an Unauthorized Minor to Drive.”  This is an arrest-able misdemeanor.

 

E-BIKE INJURIES
Injuries can occur on e-bikes just like they can occur on any motorized vehicle.  Many of these e-bikes look like and have the safety reflectors and lighting as any other bike.  This makes them less visible than most cars and motorcycles, especially at night.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one injured on an e-bike and you have questions about the legal rights relating to such injuries, please feel free to contact Zarzaur Law at 855-HIREJOE or zarzaurlaw.com. There is no fee or cost unless we win and all consultations prior to recovery are free.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-ebike-trade-off-seems-to-be-less-exercise-more-enjoyment-and-fewer-showers/2018/05/05/5990770a-4ede-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/as-e-biking-grows-us-cities-consider-easing-rules-on-where-the-machines-may-be-used/2018/04/06/d20b2f58-3756-11e8-8fd2-49fe3c675a89_story.html

Renewed Popularity of Riding Bikes: Safety is More Important Than Ever.

May is National Bike Month and bicycling has certainly seen a recent resurgence. During the COVID-19 quarantine, the beaches in Florida were closed, along with gyms – so many people have turned to a pastime favorite to stay in shape or get back in shape: bicycle riding.

Stores all over Florida, and the country, have seen a boom in bicycle sales and some are even sold out. There has been a certain uptick in seeing whole families riding bikes. A byproduct of the quarantine that has provided a silver lining. People are embracing health, wellness, active family time, togetherness and safety.

Bicyclists and shop owners say people are thinking more about their health and looking for safe ways to be together. It’s all about family and getting back to the basics.

Bicycling is also a cost-effective mode of transportation as well as way to reduce air pollution.

In general, roads are getting safer due to reduced traffic while businesses and schools are closed. It is very important however to think about safety on the roads now and as automobile traffic begins to pick back up with the loosening of restrictions. It is extremely important to not only have the proper protective equipment – helmet, lights, bright colored clothing, etc., but it is also about how cyclists interact with motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and bicycling.com reminds us to keep in mind the following guidelines when riding a bicycle to reduce the risk of accidents and avoid injuries.

BE VISIBLE – Use protective equipment such as a helmet, a white front light, and a red rear light. Don’t forget to use reflectors on the bicycle, helmet, and clothes.

GO STRAIGHT – Plan a safe route. Choose roads with less traffic and slower speeds. Always ride in a straight a line as possible so drivers can sense how far left they have to go to get past you safely. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

DON’T GET DOORED – Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road line with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.

USE COMMON SENSE – Do not use your cell phone or listen to music during your trip. It requires that your vision and attention stay focused on the road.

SIGNAL A WARNING – Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potential dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.

STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE – Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choice: a panic stop or instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.

READ THE LIGHTS – Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.

KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY – If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling, but be prepared to stop.

Drivers should also keep in mind the following key points when sharing the public roads with other cyclists.

BE COURTEOUS – Give way to cyclists in the same way you would with another vehicle on the road.

RIGHT ON RED – Avoid hitting a cyclist when you turn right on red. Observe to your right and behind you to make sure there are no cyclists nearby.

OBEY SPEED LIMITS – Reduce speed if road conditions are hazardous and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

PASSING – Do not pass a cyclist too closely. Pass a cyclist only when it is safe if you need to cross into the adjacent lane.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Bicyclists beware: The psychology of car-bike crash risks. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/motr/bicyclist-beware-cars-view-less-risk-in-crashes-with-bikes.html

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (2016) Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics [Statistics]. Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/resources/crash-citation-reports/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.). Bicycle safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

333 Secrets of the Lifetime Rider. https://www.bicycling.com

https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/04/coronavirus-biking-critical-in-cities

https://www.consumerreports.org/bikes/bike-riding-safety-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-bikes/wary-of-public-transport-coronavirus-hit-americans-turn-to-bikes-idUSKBN21Z1BX

Bicycle Traffic Law

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/coronavirus/fl-ne-south-florida-booming-bike-shops-20200506-h3pudf7kcrg45aaylc4ducdsoi-story.html

Driver and Cyclist Crash-Risk Perception. Do You Know the Rules?

Florida’s roads and streets are the main scenario for the interaction between pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and more. We face the everyday hazardous act of sharing the roads, trusting in the driving and riding knowledge of everyone in traffic. But what happens when this knowledge is affected by a different perception of reality?

ZL_blog_Cars_&_BicyclesAccording to the Association for Phycological Science (APS), a 2012 study revealed there’s a difference between cyclists’ and drivers’ perceptions about road interaction. The study showed that cyclists look at the car-bike road interactions as risky and with a high crash propensity. On the other hand, the study found drivers look at the car-bike dynamic with less chance of accident and less risky than other automobile accidents. These hard findings make drivers think about the importance of complying with the regulations and, above all, the need to respect other users on the road. Cyclists must also engage in responsible riding and respect all motor vehicles.

Looking into the statistics published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the annual average number of bicycle accidents in the last five years is 6,800 and the number of bicycle crash fatalities is 135 per year. This fact makes it even more imperative for both parties to become aware of the dangers they face when driving and riding the public roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and bicycling.com reminds us to keep in mind the following guidelines when riding a bicycle to reduce the risk of accidents and avoid injuries.

BE VISIBLE – Use protective equipment such as a helmet, a white front light, and a red rear light. Don’t forget to use reflectors on the bicycle, helmet, and clothes.

GO STRAIGHT – Plan a safe route. Choose roads with less traffic and slower speeds. Always ride in a straight a line as possible so drivers can sense how far left they have to go to get past you safely. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

DON’T GET DOORED – Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road line with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.

USE COMMON SENSE – Do not use your cell phone or listen to music during your ride. It requires that your vision and attention stay focused on the road.

SIGNAL A WARNING – Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potential dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.

STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE – Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.

READ THE LIGHTS – Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.

KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY – If you have the right of way at an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling, but be prepared to stop.

Drivers should also keep in mind the following key points when sharing the public roads with other cyclists.

BE COURTEOUS – Give way to cyclists in the same way you would with another vehicle on the road.

RIGHT ON RED – Avoid hitting a cyclist when you turn right in red. Observe to your right and behind you to make sure there are no cyclists nearby.

OBEY SPEED LIMITS – Reduce speed if road conditions are hazardous and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

PASSING – Do not pass a cyclist too closely. Pass a cyclist only when it is safe if you need to cross into the adjacent lane.

Common Motorist Errors: How to Avoid them

TURNING LEFT AND CUTTING CYCLIST OFF – When a driver is turning left in front of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight through an intersection: Make eye contact with the driver and nod to indicate you’re moving forward.

RUNNING THROUGH A STOP SIGN – If a driver fails to obey a stop sign and pulls in front of a rider: Stand on your pedals at stop signs to improve visibility.

TURNING RIGHT AFTER PASSING – Keep your hand on the brake when a driver passes and look for a turn signal.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:
Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Bicyclists beware: The psychology of car-bike crash risks. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/motr/bicyclist-beware-cars-view-less-risk-in-crashes-with-bikes.html

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (2016) Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics [Statistics]. Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/resources/crash-citation-reports/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.). Bicycle safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

333 Secrets of the Lifetime Rider. https://www.bicycling.com

Florida Cyclist At Risk

cyclist

In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Riding a bike is a healthy, fun and safe activity. However, it isn’t without some risk. As a personal injury lawyer, Zarzaur Law has dealt with a number of cases recently surrounding the cyclist and automobiles, path regulations and cyclist risk factors in the environment.

Zarzaur Law firm of Pensacola, FL focuses on all areas of personal injury – but has a special interest in athletic injuries. Personal Injury Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur and board certified doctor, and firm medical official, Dr. Evan Malone are triathletes and competitive Ironman contestants. Cyclist injuries and accidents are a topic that hit close to home, with both gentlemen being at risk in races and everyday training.

Did you know that every 6 hours a cyclist is fatally injured in an accident? Or that of those fatalities, 50% occur in children under the age of sixteen?

The following information highlights the law surrounding the development of public areas that may minimize that risk and have the potential to reduce conflicts between bikes and cars (and other traffic).

All laws & policies mentioned here were compiled as part of a research project for a case handled in the spring of 2016 by Joe Zarzaur and Zarzaur Law. They may be subject to change. Please help us keep them up to date by contacting clerk@zarzaurlaw.com with any updates.

Federal Policy

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Think about where each of these motorists is looking before crossing the sidewalk.

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) official policy is to give “full consideration” during the development of federal aid highway projects (e.g. bridges) to the safe accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians, to make every effort to minimize detrimental effects of current and anticipated pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic, and to encourage consulting with local groups of organized bicyclists regarding bicycle-related projects.  23 C.F.R. § 652.5.

Federal Bicycle/Pedestrian Path Safety and Maintenance Regulations

Federal standards for construction and design of bicycle routes are established by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Guide for Development of New Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO Guide) or equivalent guides developed in cooperation with State or local officials and acceptable to the FHWA.  According to the literature therein, the purpose of the AASHTO Guide is to accommodate and encourage bicycling by providing “safe, convenient, well-designed, well-maintained facilities, with low-crash frequencies and severities.” (AASHTO Guide § 1.2)  AASHTO’s policy extends to roadways and bridges which should accommodate bicycles. (§ 4.12.3)  Throughout the AASHTO Guide, the agency reaffirms local departments of transport’s (DOT) duties to monitor and remedy unsafe conditions on bicycle paths. Given the severity of injuries that may be sustained by cyclists, the Guide calls for increased awareness and responsiveness in addressing bicycle path issues. “Due to bicycle operator’s physical exposure and the unique characteristics of their vehicle,” AASHTO states,”bicyclists are susceptible to severe injury in even minor incidents.” Thus, maintenance and safety protocols are prioritized as a leading concern regarding bicycle paths.

Bicycle accident lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorney, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorneys, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys, Zarzaur Law Zarzaur Law Firm, Joe Zarzaur, Pensacola Zarzaur Law, Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Board Certified Lawyer
Most close passing is a result of the motorist thinking he can squeeze past without changing lanes. Make sure a driver can clearly see that his car won’t fit within the same lane.

Safety considerations include quality of service evaluations (or Bicycle Level of Service (LOS)) used to evaluate existing bicycling conditions. (AASHTO Guide § 2.62).  Implementation of LOS studies includes documenting various factors of existing roadways and paths including pavement surface condition. According to § 4.2, “surface condition and pavement smoothness are important to bicyclist control and comfort . . . Gravel roads, loose material, cracks, bumps, and potholes on a paved roadway create an impediment for bicyclists.” Therefore, safety and maintenance evaluations of existing bicycle paths should monitor surface conditions as a component of LOS studies. LOS measurement is then used to evaluate bicyclists’ perceived safety and comfort while traveling in a roadway corridor. (§ 2.62).  AASHTO further stipulates that the detailed knowledge of local bicyclists and bicycle planners should be used to corroborate Bicycle LOS model results. (§ 2.62).  This emphasis on utilizing local bicyclists in the safety coordination is reiterated in § 2.6.7 which states that community bicyclists have the best knowledge of current conditions as well as opinions on areas that need improvement.

While there are no bicycle-specific designs or dimensions for shared roadways, the AASHTO Guide states that special care should be exercised to install bicycling compatible features, such as good pavement and bicycle-compatible bridge expansion joints, and that such features should be implemented where they are not present. (§§ 4.3, 5.28). Further, bike lanes should have a “smooth riding surface.” (§ 4.6.1). In order to ensure bike lane smoothness, utility covers should be adjusted flush with the surface of the lane and drainage should be utilized to prevent debris accumulation and potential hazards for bicyclists. (§ 4.6.1).  Additionally, AASHTO encourages state-level agencies to development maintenance protocols that include regular sweeping of bikeways (§ 7.2.1), inspections of bikeways for surface repairs (§ 7.2.2), and corrections of pavement overlay drop-offs (§ 7.2.3).

Bicycle accident lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyer, Pensacola Car Wreck Lawyers, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorney, Pensacola Car Wreck Attorneys, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer, Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney, Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys, Zarzaur Law Zarzaur Law Firm, Joe Zarzaur, Pensacola Zarzaur Law, Board Certified Lawyer, Florida Board Certified Lawyer
The most common reasons to leave a bike lane.

Furthermore, the FHWA provides training and informational materials titled Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation that details bicycle and pedestrian path safety precautions that should be exercised by state-level departments of transportation. “Lesson 16” specifically addresses bike path maintenance and states that bicycles and cyclists are “particularly sensitive to maintenance problems.” (§ 16.2).  The FHWA course highlights bicyclist safety concerns related to uneven paths: “ridges, such as those found where a new asphalt overlay does not quite cover the older roadway surface, can catch a wheel, and throw a bicyclist to the ground.” (§ 16.2). Section 16.4 describes the objectives of bicycle path maintenance plans and lists roadway surface patching and pavement overlays that “feathers” the new surface as primary objectives.

Implementation procedures involve routine inspection and repair, as well as the development of an “ongoing spot improvement plan” in which the bicycling community is solicited for suggestions and maintenance requests. (§ 16.7).  Lastly, FHWA University training lists common issues associated with bicycle paths. Amongst these are ridges and cracks which “should be filled or ground down as needed to reduce the chance of a bicyclist catching a front wheel and crashing.” (§ 16.8).

Federal Statutes

Similarly, federal statutes pertaining to the construction and maintenance of bicycle routes along highways emphasize a heightened duty of care for ensuring the safe travel of bicyclists.  According to 23 U.S.C. § 217(d), states receiving FHWA funding under §§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) shall use such amount of the apportionment as may be necessary to fund the State department of transportation (DOT) a position of bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for promoting and facilitating the increased use of non-motorized modes of transportation, including developing facilities for the use of pedestrians and bicyclists and public education, promotional, and safety programs for using such facilities (§§ 104(b)(2) and 104(b)(3) refer to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Highway Safety Improvement program, respectively). 

Moreover, 23 U.S.C. §§ 217(g)(1) and (g)(2) detail planning, design, and safety considerations regarding bicyclist and pedestrian paths.  Generally, bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State in accordance with §§ 134 and 135 (metropolitan transportation planning).  Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted.  § 217(g)(1).  Furthermore, transportation plans and projects must provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, including the installation, where appropriate, and maintenance of audible traffic signals and audible signs at street crossings.  § 217(g)(2). 

Federal Bridge Regulations

Where a highway bridge deck, on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, is replaced or rehabilitated with federal financial participation, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.  23 U.S.C. 217(e). Bridge inspection procedures are governed by AASHTO Manual guidelines.  23 C.F.R. § 650.313.  The AASHTO Maintenance Manual for Roadways and Bridges describes broad guidelines to be followed by state DOT’s. Section 3.2.7.3 of the manual includes bridge inspection procedures.

As related to the instant case, the section includes procedures for the inspection of bridge “approaches.” According to the AASHTO Maintenance Manual, approaches are an adjunct to a bridge and should be level with the bridge deck. Failure to maintain a smooth transition between the approach and the structure allows for additional impact loads on the bridge that can cause extensive structural damage over time. Thus, AASHTO suggests that approach pavement conditions be checked for “unevenness, settlement, or roughness.” The presence of cracking and/or unevenness may indicate a void under the slab caused by fill settlement or erosion. Also, joints between the approach pavement and the abutment back wall, which are designed for thermal movement, should be examined to determine if there is adequate clearance and a proper seal. Shoulders, slopes, drainage, and approach guardrails should also be evaluated as part of the inspection of the approaches, as per AASHTO guidelines. (§ 3.2.7.3).

State-Level Regulations

Statewide transportation plans and improvement programs must provide for the development and integrated management and operation of bicycle transportation facilities.  23 U.S.C. § 135(a)(2). The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction, and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Green Book) contains standards relevant to the instant case.

 

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