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Palm Beach bicycle accidents at issue as Governor signs new law

Florida cyclists have failed in an effort to prevent passage of a bill that requires bicyclists to use bike lanes whenever possible and to remain on the right side of the road.

Advocates for bicycling safety argued the measure will increase the risk of Palm Beach bicycle accidents and cycling accident elsewhere in South Florida, the Examiner reported.
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While many motorists favor the measure — claiming that is where riders should be anyway — cyclists had urged Gov. Charlie Crist to veto the bill. They claim bike lanes, like those along A1A in Palm Beach County, are not safe and riding on the right side of the road is even more dangerous.

Florida is the most dangerous state in the nation for serious and fatal bicycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 716 cyclists were killed in 2008 and more than 52,000 were injured. Nearly 1 in every 5 fatalities nationwide resulted from a Florida bicycle accident. A total of 125 riders were killed in Florida that year. California, which reported 109 fatalities, was the only other state to report more than 100 deaths.

The Florida Bicycle Association vowed to regroup and fight for cycling rights during next year’s legislative session.

Palm Beach motorists had complained that cycling in the road poses a danger, especially on A1A where there are no bike lanes.

Bicycle Safe provides cyclists with tips for avoiding dangerous accident scenarios:

The Right Cross: The most common type of accident is a T-bone collision with a car crossing from the right at an intersection. Riding tips include using a headlight and horn, slowing down and riding further to the left.

The Door Prize: Ride to the left when traveling along parked cars to avoid being hit by an opening car door.

The Crosswalk Slam:
Riders are often struck in crosswalks by a motorist turning onto the street. Using a headlight, slowing down and avoiding crosswalks can help reduce the chances of this type of accident.

Wrong Way Wreck: Don’t ride against traffic. Riding on the left side of the street increases your risk of an accident.

Red Light of Death: Riders are often struck at a traffic light by a car making a right turn. Avoid stopping in a vehicle’s blind spot and make sure the coast is clear before proceeding after the light turns green.

Right Hook: This type of accident frequently occurs when a driver misjudges the speed of a rider and attempts to turn right in front of a cyclist. Riding further to the left and using mirrors to watch for approaching traffic can help reduce the risk.

Left Cross: In this type of accident, a car turning left across traffic collides with a cyclist entering the intersection. Using a headlight, wearing bright clothing, slowing down, and avoiding sidewalk riding can reduce your risk.

The Rear End: Being struck from behind can occur when a rider weaves in and out of parked cars or other traffic obstructions. Using mirrors and signals can help reduce the risk.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in West Palm Beach, Margate, Hollywood Coral Gables or the surrounding area, contact the Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys at Freeman & Mallard for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-529-2368.

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