California is a great place to ride a bike, yet cyclists are the ones who are most hurt if they get into an accident with a vehicle. Motorists need to be more aware of bicycles and understand how to share the road with them, and cyclists also must do their job to make sure everyone stays safe.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm. While cyclists have the same responsibilities as motorists, the size of bikes can make it harder for drivers to see them. Drivers should look more carefully and closely before turning, in parking lots, when backing up and when parking. If you are sharing the lane with a bicycle in front of you and it is going a slower speed, give it room and pass when it is safe to do so in the adjacent lane.
Some roads have dedicated bike lanes on the right. Be aware of these and look to make sure there are no cyclists before making a right-hand turn.
Cyclists must also practice safe driving habits to avoid getting into accidents with motorists. Because 35% of fatal crashes involve alcohol, refraining from drinking or taking drugs before riding is imperative. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles outlines other rules for cyclists. These include:
- Use hand signals prior to turning
- Use the bike lane or stay to the right of the road
- Wear reflective clothing and turn on a light on your bike when riding at dusk or dark
- Wear a helmet
- Do not ride with more than two abreast