Cycling in Miami: How to Stay Safe

Bicycle-related accidents in Miami have drastically declined in the past decade. However, studies highlight that cyclists are still at risk for fatal accidents. They are more exposed to injury during a crash, and thus, more vulnerable. In fact, compared to drivers, they are 30 times more likely to be injured.

When you take your bike out on the streets of Miami, make sure that you and others are safe. You can lower the risk of an accident by taking some simple steps like making sure that you are visible to drivers, following traffic rules, and inspecting your bike before you use it. Read on to find out more.

Install a Reflector

This is a simple and effective little device that dates back to 1960, and it originates from Finland. The reflector has small prisms and two mirrors that redirect the light back to the source. So, it becomes luminous only when there is an independent light source, like an upcoming car, for example.

You can attach a reflector to different parts of the bike. They are most commonly found at the front, back, on the paddles, or the wheels. While the device offers aid in low light conditions, one should not rely only on this for nighttime cycling.

The night is particularly dangerous for riding the bike, so extra measures need to be taken. Cycling during the night in Miami is more dangerous than during day time. In the US, approximately 10% of bikers are on the streets after nightfall. And 35% of all bicycle accidents that involve fatalities occur in the dark. Make sure that you take the necessary precautions to stay safe while you cycle under the moonlight.

Wear Reflective Vests

Limited visibility has been one of the leading causes of fatal bicycle accidents. An accident is more likely to occur if drivers can’t see a cyclist riding along with them. Wearing a reflective vest is a very effective way to make yourself visible on the road and should never be missing during the night.

Fluorescent Clothing

This is effective during the day when there is plenty of light. Fluorescent clothes absorb ultraviolet rays directly from the sun and turn the invisible light visible. Basically, the piece of clothing becomes brighter than the standard colors. Wearing a fluorescent vest is particularly useful under low-visibility conditions in the morning or evening. During the night, just stick to reflective vests.

Studies have found yellow, orange, and red fluorescent clothing to be the most efficient. The reason for this is that they contrast strongly with the general environment. Granted, a yellow fluorescent west is not a very fashionable piece of clothing, but it can save lives. So, choose safety over fashion.

Wear a Helmet

In some states, it is not a requirement for bicyclists to wear a helmet. However, research has found that wearing a helmet can reduce fatal accidents by a whopping 70%. Head injuries are the leading causes of death among bicyclists in Miami. Unfortunately, most of these victims cycle without a helmet. In short, wearing a helmet can protect your head during impact and might even save your life.

Avoid Riding Hands-Free

Some bikers like to boast their great sense of balance and may cycle without keeping their hands on the bike. However, it is vital to be cautious when sharing the road with other cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles.

It will take a bicyclist riding hands-free much longer to react to an emergency, such as a speeding vehicle, debris on the road, or a pedestrian. You are likely to cause an accident and sustain severe injuries, given that you can’t break in time.

Follow the Traffic Flow

Riding a bike against the traffic flow can be risky. Traveling in the same direction as other cyclists, vehicles, and pedestrians helps increase visibility, resulting in improved road safety. Many fatal bicycle-related accidents occurred when a cyclist was riding against the grain. These are all accidents that could be easily avoided by following the traffic flow.

Bikers riding against the traffic flow are likely to be at fault in case of a crash. However, hiring a legal professional to help establish fault for a bicycle accident claim can help speed up your financial recovery after being found at fault.

Ride on the Bike Lanes

Municipalities and cities across the USA, including Miami, are embracing protected bike lanes. These lanes have offered protection to cyclists and have reduced fatal injuries, since no vehicles or pedestrians are allowed on those lanes. More municipalities and towns continue to invest in protected bike infrastructure as cyclists continue to embrace them.

Limit Distractions

Research claims that one of the leading causes of fatal road accidents in the USA is distracted driving. Riding a bike under distractions can be as dangerous as driving a car. In Miami, it is prohibited under Florida Statute Section 316.304 to operate a vehicle (this includes a bike) with headphones, headsets, earbuds, or other such devices. However, if you need a hearing aid, you are, of course, safe to wear that.

Take advantage of your cycling experience by stashing any gadget, including phones, in the pocket or bag. Also, opt for an easy-to-operate water bottle to minimize distractions. Keep your eyes on the road to boost your safety.

Inspect Your Bike Before You Ride

Unexpected circumstances and distracted driving are not the only things that lead to accidents. Faulty bicycle parts also play a part in many crashes among Miami-based bikers. However, this risk can be reduced by periodically inspecting all bike parts, including your gear and helmet, before hitting the road.

Enjoy the Ride

Cycling is, indeed, a fantastic experience that allows you to get fresh air and exercise. It is also an opportunity to explore nature and take a break from your busy daily schedule. Although you are exposed to some risk while on the road, you can drastically reduce this if you take some safety precautions. Enjoy the freedom a bicycle can offer you while staying safe.

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