For many lucky children in Fort Myers, a new bike was one of their favorite holiday gifts. In their excitement, they may have already taken their bikes on numerous trips around the neighborhood, eager to show them off to their friends. However, it is important for parents to make sure their children are well-versed in safety precautions to prevent potentially serious bicycle accidents and injuries. The following highlights local laws you need to be aware of and some simple ways to ensure young cyclists stay safe.
A Bicycle is Not a Toy: It is a Vehicle
Riding a bike may be a fun and healthy hobby for children, but it also carries a heavy responsibility. Under the Florida Statutes, a bike is not a toy. It is a vehicle, and riders are subject to the same types of laws as any other road user. Making sure your child takes riding seriously is the first step in protecting your child’s safety. Important regulations they are required to follow include:
- Ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or side of the road, going in the direction of other traffic;
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times;
- Obey all traffic signs and signals;
- Wear an approved bicycle safety helmet at all times;
- Install head and tail lights along with red reflectors on the bike if riding after dark.
In addition to these rules, bicyclists must also signal when making turns. The Florida Freewheelers bicycle group provides a handy guide that can be used to teach your child basic bicycle hand and arm gestures.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Children
Bicycle safety is something that should concern all parents, particularly those in Fort Myers and throughout the state. According to Governing.com, Florida is number one in the nation when it comes to bicycle accidents, which claim the lives of more than 100 people each year, while leaving thousands of others with serious injuries. Children are among those most at risk. To keep them safe, follow these tips:
- Make sure the bike he or she is riding is properly sized for your child.
- Teach your child how to maintain the bike and to check the tires, chains, and other parts before each trip.
- Make sure the routes your child takes and the distances traveled are age-appropriate.
- Make sure your child is particularly cautious when passing driveways or parking lot entrances and exits.
- Use only designated intersections and crosswalks when crossing streets.
- Warn your child against assuming drivers see him or her or give your child the right of way.
- Encourage your child to wear light, bright-colored clothing to increase visibility.
- Discourage your child from wearing flip flops while riding, opting for sneakers or other closed shoes instead.
Our Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Attorney is Here to Help
At the Bernardo Law Firm, your child’s safety is a top priority. When accidents do happen, we help you get the compensation you need. To request a consultation, call or contact our Fort Myers bicycle accident attorney today.