Bicycle-related deaths tend to go up in the summer, which is one reason why May has been designated as National Bike Month. Florida residents who use their bicycle for recreation, exercise or commuting should know how they can stay safe. It’s especially important for adults to know since they make up 88% of all bicyclist fatalities in collisions with motor vehicles.

The most crucial step, naturally, is to wear a helmet. The Governors Highway Safety Association found that, back in 2015, 54% of bicyclists who were fatally injured were not wearing a helmet. Twenty-nine percent were, and for the remaining 17%, whether they did or not was unknown.

One third of all non-fatal bicyclist injuries are to the head. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that, every year, there are some 80,000 cases of bicyclists going to the emergency room for head injuries, the majority being brain injuries. A bike helmet can reduce the risk for a head injury by more than 50%, but it must fit properly.

Helmets that are elongated and emphasize aerodynamics are usually safer than urban helmets. The most expensive helmets are not necessarily the best. Although helmets will help in reducing serious injury it is still vital for drivers to pay special attention to bicycles.  Drivers must leave 3 feet of distance when passing a bicycle. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=316.083&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.083.html If it is not possible to pass a bicyclist with 3 feet of distance, then the driver needs to slow down and not pass.   Drivers also need to avoid distractions with their smart phone, watch their speed and of course stay sober.

Those who are injured in pedestrian accidents or bicycle accidents may be able to file a claim against the driver,  Florida only requires bike helmets for those under 16, but it is a good idea for adult bicyclists to wear helmets too.  Victims may want to consult  a lawyer if they are injured.