If you have ever been involved in or witnessed an automobile accident, you have probably heard the arguments about who had the right of way. One thing we should all understand is that pedestrians always have the right of way. But what about cyclists? Do their rights fall in line with motorists or pedestrians?
In the state of Florida, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. Cyclists are permitted to use roads and bike lanes, as well as sidewalks and crosswalks. Like motorists, they must obey the same laws on the road to keep everyone safe. They must follow traffic signals and lights, and signal before turning or stopping. Drivers must yield the right of way to bikers and pedestrians.
When a bicyclist is sharing the road with other vehicles, they must ride with traffic, never against it. If they ride in the opposite direction, they are at risk of having an accident. This is dangerous because a collision between a bike and automobile can result in severe injury or death.
What does it mean to have the right of way?
Having the right of way means that it is that person’s turn to go first while other drivers or cyclists wait. At four–way stops, the first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. When a motorist and cyclist are at a four-way stop together, the biker always has the right of way.
When do cyclists have the right of way?
Drivers must always yield to cyclists, but no matter what, pedestrians have the right of way. In Florida, if a bike lane is available, a person must ride in the bike lane, instead of on the street. However, if a bike line is not present and a cyclist makes the choice to ride on the sidewalk, they become a pedestrian, and they must yield to other pedestrians that are on foot.
When they use the sidewalk, their bike should never block pedestrians or other riders. The sidewalk must be clear. If they need to stop or turn, hand signals should be used. This lets people see where they are going and helps to avoid potential accidents.
They can also use crosswalks, but they must obey traffic signs and lights. If there are pedestrians present, they must wait until it is safe to cross without blocking the street. In this situation, the biker yields the right of way to the pedestrian.
When bike accidents happen, contact an attorney
Since serious accidents can occur at any moment, it is crucial to pay attention to details, especially who arrived at a four-way stop first. If a cyclist is involved in an accident, and the right of way is in question, it is best to contact an attorney and have them review the case.
Accidents between cyclists and motorists can be costly, especially for the cyclist because a bicycle will not protect them from injury. Do not waste time trying to reason with someone who believes they had the right of way. Everyone has a responsibility to follow the laws, and respect each other on the roads in Florida.