Walking and biking are great ways to get around. Whether you walk or bike for leisure, exercise or to commute, you should be proud of yourself. These activities are good for you and for the planet. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous, given the fact that you need to deal with motor vehicles.
A human body, on or off of a bicycle, stands no chance in a collision with a car or truck. If a driver is negligent or reckless, it may severely injure you or even cost you your life. That is why it is necessary to keep safety in mind at all times. Here are some essential pedestrian and bicycle safety tips from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
- Use sidewalks whenever possible.
- When there is no sidewalk to use, walk in the opposite direction of traffic so you can anticipate oncoming cars.
- Wear bright and reflective clothes, hats, shoes or wristbands.
- Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Only cross roadways in crosswalks or at corners.
- Always wear a helmet; it is a legal requirement for all riders and passengers of a bicycle who are under the age of 16.
- Make sure to check that all parts of your bicycle, including the tires, brakes and gears, work properly before riding.
- Wear bright, fluorescent or neon colors and reflective materials to be seen by drivers.
- Wear sneakers instead of flip-flops or going barefoot.
- Use bike lanes when they are available.
- Avoid wearing headphones while riding so you can hear vehicles and pedestrians.
While you can follow the above tips to bike and walk safely, it is also up to motorists to be responsible. It is the law for drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of distance while passing or driving alongside them. Drivers must also yield to bicyclists in bike lanes while turning, meaning they must turn behind any bicyclists.
When drivers fail to live up to their responsibilities, it is important to hold them accountable.