A tragic accident on the night of September 3 claimed the life of a 33-year-old cyclist. Kyle Schlittenhart was riding his bicycle in Clearwater when he was struck by an SUV. Officials say that Schlittenhart failed to stop at a crosswalk and yield to the SUV, which put him in its direct path in the moments before the collision. He was also wearing dark clothing and his bike didn’t have lights.
The circumstances of this unfortunate accident highlight some of the ways all cyclists can practice due diligence and put themselves at less risk of serious injury or death. Any sign of negligence on a cyclist’s part can jeopardize their ability to claim damages in the event of an accident. Here are some tips for riding safely and preventing collisions:
- Follow all traffic laws: Observing the rules of the road, particularly in intersections, can help prevent accidents because your actions will be predictable. If drivers know what to expect from cyclists, there’s less chance of sudden surprises leading to a collision.
- Make yourself visible: Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and equipping your bike with lights makes you more visible at greater distances, allowing drivers time to react to your presence and prepare to encounter you on the road.
- Avoid riding in potentially dangerous situations: Accidents between bikes and cars are more likely to happen at night, when visibility is compromised and there are more impaired drivers on the road. Exercise extreme caution if you must ride at night, and call a cab if you’ve been drinking.
Of course, none of this will automatically prevent a motorist from being negligent. But in the event that you are involved in an accident with a car or truck, being able to prove your own diligence will go a long way. If you have been injured by a negligent motorist and believe you may be entitled to compensation, speak with a trusted Sarasota County bike accident attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.