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There are many benefits associated with biking, including improved health, increased mobility (especially in urban areas) and its environmentally friendly nature. In some urban areas, bicycles can get you to your destination more quickly than a car would. But it’s important to understand how to be safe as a bicyclist![/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Understanding Where to Bike” title_align=”separator_align_left”][vc_column_text]Florida has a Mandatory Bike Lane Law where bicyclists are required to travel in the bike lane if there is a lane marked for bicycle use. Bike lanes are found on the right side of the road and are typically 4 to 5 feet wide; however, in areas with higher traffic speeds and volume, they may be wider. A bike lane can be identified by an image of a bicycle painted on the bike lane or a sign next to the lane. Despite their size, bikes are considered vehicles and belong on the road pavement — even if there isn’t a bike lane that they can use. If there isn’t a bike lane, or the bicyclist plans to make a left turn, or if he/she feels that the bike lane isn’t safe enough, then they are allowed to move out of it.
In addition to traveling in the correct lanes, you should scout your route ahead whenever possible. Some areas may have higher chances of crashes, so it’s always good to be aware. There are various maps dedicated to bike route planning that can help you with this.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Plan for Safety” title_align=”separator_align_left”][vc_column_text]Bicycles can be difficult to spot since they are smaller and move slower than other vehicles. In addition to this, bicyclists have very little protection to help them survive a crash. Although it sounds unusual, Florida law specifies that bicycles belong on the road and not on the sidewalk. It is actually safer for bicyclists to be in the street rather than on the sidewalk since cars are more likely to hit an adult bicyclist when they enter or leave a road if the cyclist is on the sidewalk.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Tips” title_align=”separator_align_left”][vc_column_text]
- Abide by the laws of the road, this includes signaling turns and stopping at stop lights
- Bicyclists 16 years old and younger are required to use helmets, but any bicyclist can benefit from the protection they provide
- Helmets should meet federal safety standards and be properly fitted and fastened on to their head using the strap
- Be seen by wearing bright colors and use reflective materials and lights when riding at night
- Maintain your bicycle equipment
- Pay attention to your surroundings; stay in your lane, be aware of the traffic flow
- Don’t listen to music devices that will impair your ability to hear road noises
- Be predictable to the road users around you so others to anticipate your movements
[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Bike Share Programs (Hillsborough)” title_align=”separator_align_left”][vc_column_text]Some areas have unique bike sharing programs. These programs give bicyclists the convenience of picking up and dropping off a bike from convenient locations and dropping them back off near their ultimate destination.
A few programs to look into are: