Many of us ride our bicycles in Florida not just to take advantage of the state’s balmy weather, but to get exercise, or to get to and from work. Unfortunately, anyone who has spent a decent amount of time on Florida’s roads as a cyclist is probably aware of the fact that many of the roadways are narrow and haven’t been updated in decades. This can make it difficult for cyclists and motorists to share the road safely, with many drivers feeling that they don’t have enough room to safely pass a cyclist, even when he or she is hugging the curb. Fortunately, there are laws on the books that allow cyclists more leeway in sharing the lane when a road is “substandard”, or narrower than 14 feet. To learn more about the types of laws that protect cyclists and how they could affect your own attempts to recover compensation after an accident, please reach out to our experienced Miami bicycle accident lawyers today.
Taking the Lane
While some cyclists may feel more comfortable being as far to the right as possible when sharing a lane with a vehicle, “taking the lane” is actually often a safer choice for cyclists in high-volume, congested multi-lane urban streets. By taking the lane, either in the right wheel position (four or five feet off of the curb), or in the left wheel position (a bit off the centerline), cyclists are actually more visible to motorists approaching from a variety of directions. In taking the lane, cyclists on narrow roads are in a better position to be seen and avoided by motorists, especially if the former also wear brightly colored clothing. This is often the much safer option for cyclists who are using substandard roads.
The Risks of “Hugging” the Curb
Another reason cyclists should consider not riding too close to the curb when on a narrow road is that drivers may be tempted to try and squeeze between them and the adjacent car lane, which may or may not be occupied by an oncoming vehicle. This can be extremely dangerous for cyclists, as there is usually not enough room on narrow Florida roads for this type of maneuver. By riding closer to the center of the lane, cyclists can more easily communicate to motorists that there is no room to pass, and that they will need to change lanes to get around them. Ultimately, the greatest danger in hugging the curb is that drivers approaching from the rear may not be able to see the cyclist until it is too late to avoid a collision. These collisions almost always have devastating consequences for the cyclist, who doesn’t have the benefit of seat belts, airbags, and a barrier between themselves and the road.
Recovering Compensation from At-Fault Drivers
For help seeking compensation from the at-fault driver who caused your own bicycle accident, please contact the dedicated Miami attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP by calling 305-371-2692 today.