Florida has a climate ideal for bicycle riding, and avid cyclists take advantage of it every day — but if you are a member of this group, you must always be thinking about safety.
When you are traveling at a steady 25 or 30 miles per hour and riding in traffic, dicey situations can pop up in the blink of an eye. Here are four common accidents you will want to prepare for and avoid:
1. Motorist turning right
Because you are on a bike, a driver may misjudge your speed, thinking you are going slower than you are. He or she will pass you on the left, then make a right turn in front of you. Your best move is to ride in the traffic lane. The car must stay behind you and wait to make the turn.
2. Oncoming car turning left
Be alert: You just have to see this coming. If you anticipate this maneuver, you can make a right turn. Now you are going in the same direction as the car and can avoid a crash.
3. Vehicle exiting driveway
Even if you are riding through a quiet neighborhood, a car backing out of a driveway may not see you. If you cannot take another route with fewer driveway exits, ride in the traffic lane and give yourself some wiggle room to avert disaster.
4. Car door opening
If you are riding next to a line of parked cars, there is always the possibility that someone who does not see you coming will open a car door and you will have no other option but to hit it. The injuries could be catastrophic. It is your right to ride in the traffic lane, separating yourself from that line of cars. Do it.
In the Fort Walton Beach area, traffic is an ongoing problem: In addition to the 200,000 residents, there are thousands of visitors and the roads experience congestion at certain times of the day. If you suffer an injury in a car-bicycle accident, you should seek medical attention immediately, and legal assistance as soon as possible. You have the same rights as a motorist, and you can turn to an advocate who will vigorously defend those rights.