Miami has perfect weather for cyclists. As a result, people use bicycles recreationally and even as a mode of transportation. Although many areas cater to cyclists and provide cycle paths, many regions do not, so cyclists are forced to share the road with other drivers of motor vehicles, motorbikes, and even massive trucks.
According to the CDC, Florida has one of the highest mortality rates from bicycle accidents in the US. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are pretty common, and injuries range from minor to life-changing and even death.
Beyond just the physical toll of these types of accidents, there is also the monetary damage. Therefore, it is crucial to appoint a competent and experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible if you have been involved in a bicycle accident that happened as a result of the negligence of others, and you have suffered injuries. Law firms like the Soffer Firm Miami Personal Injury Attorneys will give you your best shot at winning compensation for your injuries.
What’s “Side of the Road Rules”?
All States have “side of the road rules.” These rules oblige cyclists to ride in a bike lane or, if there is no bike lane, to the far right-hand side of the road if they move slower than the surrounding traffic. Cyclists are thus obliged to “share the road” with other vehicles.
Legally, a cyclist has as much right to use the road as a motor vehicle does. Cyclists are thus permitted to ride in the middle of a lane. On the other hand, cars are obligated to afford such cyclists the right of way.
Adhering to the side of the road rule is sometimes responsible for three specific types of accident: being hit by a vehicle turning right, being knocked by a passing vehicle, and riding into the open door of a car.
What if there is a bike lane?
Where a bike lane has been provided, cyclists are obliged to use such a lane instead of the road. If the cyclist moves at the same speed as the rest of the traffic, he may leave the side of the road or the bike lane to join the traffic. He may also do so if he needs to avoid any hazards, or if he wishes to turn left, or if the lane is so narrow that it’s not safe to share it with other vehicles.
The danger of open car doors
Since cyclists are required to ride as close to parked cars on the right-hand side of the road as possible, they risk running into a car door opened out in front of them.
In law, it is considered negligent to open a car door without first checking that no one will be hit by opening the door. There is a presumption of liability on the part of the door opener. The accident will almost always be attributed to the fault of the door opener.
However, where the cyclist could have taken evasive action but failed to do (such as in a case where there was no other traffic, and the cyclist could safely have moved over to avoid the collision), there may be joint liability.
Does a vehicle need to give a cyclist space?
Cyclists are obliged to share the road with other vehicles. Therefore, vehicles are required to give cyclists space on the road. Three feet is generally accepted as the minimum.
Problems are encountered when there is a large vehicle or truck, or bus. If the car cannot safely pass the cyclist while maintaining a safe three-foot distance, it is obliged to slow down until it is safe to overtake without endangering the cyclist.
The cyclist is never obliged to make way for the vehicle behind him or stop to allow the car to pass. He must, however, stay as far to the right of the road as it is safe to do so.
Where does liability lie if the car was turning right?
If a car turns right and causes an accident with a cyclist, it is almost always the driver’s fault. Cars may not turn unless it is safe to do so. They are obligated to check for bicycles before they turn right. Failure to do so will result in a fault being attributed to the driver of the car.
There is enough space on the road for everyone, so as long as both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers follow road rules that were put in place for the safety of everyone, there should be no accidents. However, if you’ve suffered injuries due to a motor vehicle operator not following these rules, reach out to a Miami personal injury lawyer soon after you receive medical treatment.