Understanding Bicycle Laws can Keep you Safe
Just this past week in Carrollwood, Elysa, a student, 13, at Ben Hill Middle School was running late to school. She was going fast on her bicycle to make it to school on time. As she crossed the intersection of Country lake and Crying Winds Drives, she saw an oncoming car, too late. The car hit the back of her bike’s tire, causing her to fly off and hit her head on the ground and go unconscious. Elysa was not wearing a helmet.
Fortunately, Elysa did not sustain any serious injuries, but what did hurt her was a $153 citation for “failure to stop at a stop sign on a bicycle, causing a crash.” Are you surprised? Well, don’t be. Many times bike accidents are caused by the riders as opposed to the drivers. The teenager was naturally confused, but Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the teen was at fault. However, the said that it is their philosophy to educate rather than cite in bike or pedestrian crashes involving teenagers that have not received any driver’s education training. Luckily for Elysa, they voided the ticket.
At her basketball game that night, she sat on the sideline, where a deputy met her and gave Elysa a much needed gift: a helmet. Elysa has also spoken to her principal about advocating for bicycle safety at her school. Many of them like her, were affected when the school district decided to cancel courtesy busing for middle and high school students who live within two miles of their schools.
So what is the takeaway from this story? There are a couple. Firstly, always wear a helmet. Also, just because you as the cyclist are injured or hit in an accident doesn’t mean it is automatically not your fault. Bicyclist have to follow road signs and rules just like drivers. Knowing those laws are crucial in staying safe as a cyclist.