Riding Your Bike in Florida

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try.

Whether you bike to work or school, ride to save money or time, pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment, or simply to explore your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

So you wake up, throw on your kit and your helmet, log in to your Strava, and head out on your morning ride. Lights are on, a quick 20 miles before work. As you near the halfway point, every cyclist’s fear happens – you get hit by a car!

Here’s a quick list of what to do in case of a bicycle accident:

  1. Check yourself – Do a cursory and visual search of your person to determine if you have sustained any injuries that need immediate attention. If necessary, call an ambulance. Do not be a hero!
  2. Assist the injured – Check with each person involved in the accident to see if they have been hurt. If necessary, call an ambulance.
  3. Call the police!
  4. Gather as much information as you can – Take pictures of the scene; document the make, model, and license plate of the offending vehicle; gather the vehicle’s driver information including name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance information.
  5. Do not admit fault – Your comments made in the tension and excitement of the moment may not be accurate! Wait for all the facts, and consult an attorney before admitting to responsibility, especially if you received a traffic ticket.
  6. Obtain witness information – Write down the names and addresses of all the witnesses or involved parties to your accident. Don’t forget any passengers of the vehicles. Ask the witnesses what they observed.
  7. See a doctor – Serious injuries do not always show immediate symptoms. It is smart to have your doctor or an emergency room doctor examine you as soon as possible. With the recent PIP law changes, you need to see a Medical Doctor within the first 14 days after your accident.
  8. Bicycle repair – Take you bicycle to a reputable shop with skilled mechanics to evaluate the damage.
  9. Tickets – Don’t admit fault even if you are given a citation. The police officer is only giving his or her opinion of what happened. The ticket itself does not affect your case.
  10. CALL HICKS & MOTTO – Be sure after your accident you contact your law firm right away. A lawyer can give you advice, and help you through the process whether you are at fault or not.

Florida Bicycle Law Summary

Bicycle Regulations (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

  • A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.
  • A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
  • No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
  • Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor ward to violate any provisions of this section.
  • Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

Sidewalk Riding (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

  • When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
  • A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.

Lighting (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

  • A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.
  • Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.

Roadway Position (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

  • The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.
  • A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride in a designated bike lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing another vehicle moving in the same direction; when preparing for a left turn; when reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or turn lane; when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side.
  • A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.
  • Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, and shall ride within a single lane.
  • §316.083(1): the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.

Left Turns (see Section 316.151 (1)(b)(c), F.S.)

  • A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, and then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.
  • In addition to the normal vehicle left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction.

Signaling Turns (see Sub-section 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)

  • A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously.
  • A bicyclist may signal intent to turn right either by extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

Headsets (see Section 316.304, F.S.)

  • A bicyclist may not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio clues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.

Civil Penalties (see Sub-section 318.18(1),(2),&(3), F.S.)

  • Non-moving violations, such as failure to use required lighting equipment when riding at night, failure to have working brakes.
  • Moving violations, such as running stop sign or signal, riding against traffic
  • Violations of Chapter 316, F.S. by a bicyclist 14 years of age or younger

Local Ordinances

  • The local governments of counties, cities, towns, and other municipalities can adopt ordinances regulating bicycle riding.  Some towns may also have registration and licensing ordinances. Sidewalk riding may be prohibited entirely or only in certain areas such as business districts. Local law enforcement agencies can provide copies of local ordinances.

Legal rights are affected by an accident and it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable attorney review the facts of your case before you decide what course of action to pursue. An attorney can recommend appropriate medical treatment, negotiate a replacement bicycle and/or compensation for damage to your bicycle, and negotiate a bodily injury settlement with the insurance company that takes into account all of your damages, including your pain and suffering. You can learn about all your legal rights and speak directly with an attorney for a free consultation with Hicks & Motto.

It is Against Florida Law to Solicit the Victim of a Car or Motorcycle Crash

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA TO SOLICIT the victim of a car or motorcycle crash. Have you been called by someone you did not call to solicit you shortly after a car accident? When a person is involved in a car or motorcycle crash, either as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, it is quite often an upsetting and emotional time. A person injured in a car or motorcycle crash is often taken to a hospital or has seen a physician shortly after the crash. Someone who has been injured in a car or motorcycle crash suffers from significant pain that was not there before the crash, as well as the financial and emotional stress and pressure from expensive medical bills, loss of income, falling behind on bills, and often complicated insurance issues.

Many times a person injured in a car or motorcycle crash is left in a delicate emotional and financial state as a result of the pain and financial pressures that were caused by someone else.

Unfortunately, there are people in the world who prey on the weakness and vulnerability of those during their time of need. In the world of personal injury law, and especially in situations that involve a car or motorcycle crash, there are people who are willing to violate the law and solicit accident victims.

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA TO SOLICIT the victim of a car or motorcycle crash within 60 days of that car or motorcycle crash.

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA TO SOLICIT someone who has been injured in a car or motorcycle crash in the emergency room or a hospital.

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA TO SOLICIT someone who has been injured in a car or motorcycle crash by calling them on the phone.

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA when someone who has been injured in a car or motorcycle crash receives a phone call advising them that the caller has been in touch with the insurance company and they have obtained $2,500, $10,000, or some other amount of money for them.

These people who call or solicit those who have been injured in a car or motorcycle crash are called “runners.” These runners are hired by unethical and shady law firms and doctors, and are paid for each case and often receive anywhere from $500 to $1,000 each. Sometimes an injured person goes to a doctor’s office and without them ever calling a lawyer, there is one waiting for them at the doctor’s office to sign them up.

Since 1987, Hicks & Motto are personal injury lawyers representing those injured in car or motorcycle crashes. Our firm strongly discourages this unethical and illegal activity. A number of our clients have been approached in this way and reported it to us. Hicks & Motto has built our practice on the principles of a strong work ethic, tireless dedication to our clients, personal attention to our clients needs, and documented results. We continue to receive referrals from our clients and other lawyers in the community, and throughout the state of Florida and the nation. If you have been in a car or motorcycle crash and
received a telephone solicitation, you should know IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN FLORIDA TO SOLICIT THE VICTIM OF A CAR OR MOTORCYCLE CRASH.

Hicks & Motto
3399 PGA BLVD.
Suite 300
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
(561) 683-2300
www.HMELAWFIRM.com

Hicks & Motto has a Warning for Facebook and Social Media Users

Hicks & Motto has a warning for Facebook and social media users. Facebook is being used by insurance companies in an effort to find evidence against people who have been injured. Hicks & Motto, a personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm in Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie, Florida, is warning its clients who are injured in an accident that the things they post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or elsewhere on the web or social media, could be used against them.

If a person has been injured in a car accident, work accident, slip and fall, or other injury claim, chances are good that in addition to surveillance, the insurance carrier is looking for new ways to find evidence against the injured. Insurance companies and their lawyers have been increasingly searching social media sites for photos, videos, or blogs about what a person who has been injured in an accident is doing. Hicks & Motto has a warning for Facebook and social media users — be extremely mindful of what you post, as this may one day be taken out of context or used against you.


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