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March Is Florida Bike Safety Month


Although National Bike Month is in May, Governor Ron DeSantis made the official proclamation that March is Bike Safety Month in Florida. Though bicyclists and pedestrians represent just 2 percent of commuters in Palm Beach County, they made up a whopping 30 percent of all transportation-related fatalities on county roadways from 2018-2020, according to the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency. Here’s what you need to know to help raise awareness of biking benefits and bicycle safety in the Sunshine State:

  • Did you know that 60% of Florida’s population lives within one mile of bicycle facilities?
  • Bicycles provide transportation, recreation, and exercise. For a full list of bicycle facilities, visit traillink.com/state/fl-trails/
  • There are many health benefits to bicycling. Riding regularly can increase cardiovascular fitness, improve joint mobility, and decrease stress.
  • Statewide, over half of traffic crashes resulting in serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians occur during dark or dusk hours.
  • When driving, stay alert and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists especially at night.
  • When riding at night, always use a headlight, taillight, and reflectors. Wearing light-colored or reflective clothing can also make you more visible during dark or dusk hours.
  • Whether you walk, bike, or drive, it is never safe to add drugs or alcohol to the mix. Depending on the level of impairment, you may not have the perceptual, cognitive, or physical skills required to navigate your route safely.
  • Take a stand! Be personally responsible by having a plan to get home safely BEFORE taking part in activities where drugs or alcohol may be a factor.
  • If you are too impaired to drive, you may be too impaired to ride a bike. Call a sober friend or use a ride share service to make sure you can get home safely.
  • Speed is a factor in approximately 30% of traffic crashes. Slow down! Especially in areas where people are walking and biking.
  • Drivers, getting fined or being involved in a crash can wreck your day. Leave a few minutes earlier to avoid feeling rushed.
  • Remember, in Florida, bicycles are legally vehicles and may share the travel lane with other vehicles at times, so slow down and watch for them.
  • Even though bicycles are legally defined as vehicles in Florida, they don’t have the protection that an automobile provides. They don’t have seatbelts or airbags to help reduce the impact of a crash. They are some of our most vulnerable road users.
  • Always give bicyclists plenty of space when passing. Florida law requires a 3’ minimum passing distance.
  • Bicycles are harder to see than larger vehicles. Always stay alert and watch for them.
  • Approximately 40% of bicyclist fatalities in Florida are related to traumatic brain injuries. No matter your age, it’s always safest to wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride.
  • Everyone has the expectation, and right, to arrive at their destination safely no matter what mode of transportation they use.

Safety tips for riders:

  • Wear protective gear like a properly fitting helmet, fitted clothing, and shoes with a good grip
  • Check your bicycle for any malfunctions before riding
  • Make sure you are always visible with bright colors during the day and lights at night
  • Always ride your bike safely
  • Be aware of dangerous road conditions
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Ride with the flow, on the right hand side, of traffic
  • Yield to traffic when appropriate
  • Signal your intent and be predictable
  • Do not ride distract, stay alert and focused
  • Look twice before turning or crossing an intersection
  • Be careful around parked cars

Safety tips for drivers:

  • Stay aware and actively look for cyclists
  • Know that cyclists have the same rights on the roads as you do
  • Be patient around cyclists even if they are moving slower than traffic
  • Be predictable and communicate your intentions with cyclists
  • Do not pass a cyclist until you are sure that your passing lane is clear
  • Look out for cyclists when turning and at intersections
  • Give cyclists plenty of space, never tailgate a bicycle rider
  • After parking near a bicycle lane, watch for cyclists before you open your door
  • Always yield the right of way to a cyclist
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