Bicycling Without Proper Safety Clothes is Dangerous
I just read a recent article about a bicyclist who was struck and killed while riding along a busy street in St. Petersburg. The article stated that the man was riding along the shoulder of a busy road that did not have a bike lane. It was night and the man was wearing dark clothing and he did not have a light on his bicycle. Further, exacerbating the situation was the fact that the street was also poorly illuminated in that area. The driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the cyclist stated that he did not see the man on the bike. The police do not suspect drugs or alcohol to be a factor and are not expected to file charges against the driver.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common story. A confluence of negative factors came together with tragic results. There was no bike lane and the city street was poorly lit. This tragedy brings to light the things that bicyclists, drivers of automobiles, and the city of St. Pete can do to avoid future incidents.
Bicyclist Safety for Nighttime Riding
There are a lot of things that bicyclists can do to safeguard themselves when riding at night. Installing a light and proper reflectors on the bike that make the bicycle more visible to traffic is an easy inexpensive step that can be taken to avoid car accidents. The cyclist should also wear some sort of reflective and light-colored clothing to make themselves more visible. Poor lighting is a complaint that is common in nighttime bicycle accidents. Cyclists should be cognizant of their surroundings and attempt to take routes with good lighting or preferably have a bike lane.
The issue of helmet use is a hot topic among cyclists. There are studies that indicate that bike helmets do very little when a crash involves a bicycle and a car. I know from purchasing bike helmets for my daughter there is a great degree of variance in the quality of bicycle helmets available. Some would seem to provide no more protection than a handful of Styrofoam peanuts inside a baseball cap while others do seem to provide some level of protection. Unfortunately, none seem to provide anywhere near the protection of a motorcycle helmet.
Drivers of Cars Need to be Vigilant for Bicycles
First, there is no indication that the driver in the story was distracted or on a phone, but the very fact that he struck the cyclist and stated that he did not see him at all indicates some level of distraction. At the very least, he was not paying careful attention to his surroundings. Poor lighting or not, St. Petersburg, is not pitch black. There is some ambient lighting in almost all urban settings that should allow a cyclist to be visible to drivers. I am not saying that they are always easy to see, but constantly scanning the road and having a keen awareness of the surroundings will eliminate many accidents.
St. Petersburg Needs More Bicycle Lanes
St. Petersburg has an average of 361 sunny days per year. It is a mecca for cyclists and for that reason, I believe that a concerted effort needs to be made by St. Pete and Pinellas County to address this need with more bike lanes. While there are many accidents in which a car or truck collides with a bicycle due to a distracted driver or simply failing to notice the cyclist, parked cars also present a unique challenge to cyclists who attempt to use the bicycle lane. This hazard is known as “being doored” or “dooring.” I have discussed this hazard, at length, in another blog on this site, but essentially dooring occurs when the door of a car is opened into the path of an oncoming cyclist.
Another issue that St. Petersburg and/or Pinellas County can resolve is lighting. It seems that many busy streets are not very well-lit to accommodate pedestrians or bicyclists. Either brighter street lights or more street lights need to be installed to facilitate a safer environment for pedestrians and bike riders.
Bicycle vs. Car Can Result in Catastrophic Injuries
The list of injuries that can be expected in an accident with a car is long and serious:
Contact Jones Law Group If You Were Injured in a Bicycle Accident
Have you or a loved one been injured in a bicycle, pedestrian, or car accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of a car, motorcycle, or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.