Florida’s Bike Trails: Keeping Your Family Safe

Biking in Florida is one of the most fulfilling activities families can enjoy together. And while it is certainly an exercise that is enjoyed alone too for a variety of health benefits to include working the heart and lungs, preventing obesity, and building strong bones and muscles, bicycling can be greatly enjoyed in groups and of course, there is always greater protection in numbers. Whether you are planning a quick outing with the kids though—or mapping out a day trip on one of Florida’s great bike trails—everyone’s safety comes first.

Protective Gear is a Must

Bicycle accidents can occur due to obstacles on the road or path, collisions with others they are traveling with, efforts to avoid pedestrians or pets, and more. Be sure that everyone is wearing protective gear, with the understanding that kids under 16 must be equipped with a bicycle helmet that meets federal standard guidelines. A bike path is a better place for those who like to carry on at a leisurely pace rather than rapid cycling as there tends to be so much more traffic—including other families on foot with babies and toddlers in strollers. And although it may sound dramatic for traveling on a bike path, it is true that passing should be done with extreme caution as those walking, riding, or running may tend to be more erratic in pace and movement. Right of way should always be given to pedestrians, and all traffic signs (and yes even speed limit signs!) should be followed.

Take Note that Florida Leads in Bicyclist Fatalities

The most serious threat to you or your children while traveling on two wheels though is always other motorists. Chances are if you are out and about on bikes—whether in a small town or a larger city—you will have to navigate through some traffic. These aren’t the roads you traveled as a kid on a bike, keep in mind. Recent news continues to stress that Florida tops the nation for bicyclist fatalities, with a death rate 60 percent higher than neighboring states. Because of this, everyone—and most importantly children due to their added vulnerability—must understand how important it is to be visible, follow traffic rules, and be extremely defensive as riders.

Make Sure Your Bike is in Good Working Order 

As an added tip, don’t forget to ensure that the kids’ bikes and yours are in tiptop shape when traveling. Bicycles are usually fairly low-maintenance, but it is vital to make sure the horn and any lights work, that the chain is properly lubricated, tires are filled and able to keep air, and most importantly—that the brakes are in good working order.

Contact Us for Help!

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Kids on Bicycles: Be Aware of Distracted Motorists

It’s a sad state of things when kids must overcompensate for negligent drivers who may not see them because they are too busy texting and driving, but as traffic deaths and car accidents continue to increase in the US, that is the reality. The dangers of bicycle riding are starkly juxtaposed with a long list of health benefits as getting out on two wheels in the fresh air offers more than just cardio exercise but also contributes to good bone and muscle growth, and helps prevent obesity, risk of diabetes, and so much more. And while we don’t want our younger children or other family members to miss out on bike riding, safety issues abound and must be addressed.

Distracted drivers wreak havoc on the roads nationwide each day. Disturbing trends have traveled beyond impaired drivers and those talking on the phone while driving to an intense focus on eliminating texting and driving. Even with all the knowledge and statistics centered around distracted driving though, the temptation seems to outweigh good sense in far too many cases. We all understand how important communication is—and if your child has a phone so they can stay in touch when away from home, you have probably stressed to them that you would like them to return messages as soon as possible so that you know everything is okay. If you are parenting teenagers, communication can be challenging, and they may not return your texts or calls; however, it is vital that they all realize the need to put the phone away when traveling.

Along with educating kids on distracted drivers and how to be defensive on the roads, make sure they are practicing the following safety measures also:

  • Protective gear – according to Florida law, helmets are a must (“A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.”), and other safeguards such as elbow and kneepads are highly recommended.
  • Visibility – while everyone traveling on two wheels or by foot should make themselves as visible as possible, children are the most vulnerable of all due to their size and inexperience. Make sure your child is wearing bright clothing, as well as a brightly colored helmet. Neon strips are helpful and can be attached to the shoes and bike also.
  • Comprehension of road signs and rules – keeping in mind that younger bicyclists are not yet driving and may not understand how traffic works, educating them on traffic rules is vital to their safety, as well as that of others.
  • Bicycle maintenance – make sure tires are in good shape and that everything on the bike is in good working order from the chain to the lights, horn or bell, and more.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Motorcyclists, Bicyclists, Pedestrians: Tips for Being Seen on the Road

If you live in a larger city, chances are the roads are teeming with cars and trucks most of the day—and especially at those rush hour times (which today seem to become more and more unpredictable due to staggered work times for many). Car sales continue to increase, gas prices are down with greater affordability, and with less unemployment, more motorists are traveling back and forth to work. While those are all positive signs for the US economy, one major downside is that more cars on the roads means more accidents—and it also means there may be an even greater challenge for motorists to see motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Motorists Must Be Aware of Surroundings at All Times

Visibility is always an issue in traffic—evidenced by one of the most common comments after accidents: “They came out of nowhere—I didn’t see them!” And while it is the motorist’s responsibility to make sure they are driving defensively and being cautious in areas where smaller vehicles and pedestrians are present, all too often they are distracted; in fact, the distraction of cell phones can be a problem with pedestrians too. Driving the same routes each day can lead to a lack of alertness as well—almost as if some drivers are on autopilot, sometimes causing them to wreak havoc on highways, as well as intersections and crosswalks. Far too many motorists may also be speeding, driving under the influence, or behaving recklessly and putting the lives of others in serious danger.

Make Your Presence Known!

Whether you are riding a motorcycle, bicycle, or walking, brightly colored clothing or neon is always one of the best ways to be seen—and especially at dusk or after dark. Although black leather and dark clothing often has a ‘cool factor,’ you may become invisible to motorists after the sun starts going down. Consider reflective stripes for clothing, shoes, and helmets. Extra lights or reflectors on your motorcycle or bicycle are recommended, and pedestrians can always travel with flashlights for added visibility and helpful illumination on the road.

When riding in traffic lanes, avoid motorists blind spots, obey all traffic rules and watch out for doors opening from parked cars! Cross walks are a common area for accidents, so along with making yourself more visible, be aware of oncoming traffic and turning cars. Before walking, make eye contact with motorists to verify they are stopping for you as required. Motorcyclists can also rev their engines for added effect in being noticed.

Call Us for Help If You Have Been Injured

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident or car wreck due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.