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Cycling Injuries and Our Legal System

Posted by Chris Burns in Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

Cycling is filled with joy and on rare occasion, misery – when you are the victim of a bicycle crash. As a cycling attorney, I have seen many bicycle riders suffer catastrophic and severe injuries from the neglect, recklessness, and failure to follow traffic laws by motorists. These injuries not only can change how their bodies function, but also change the entire quality of their lives. The number of cycling injuries is staggering. Head injuries are one of the most common and one of the most concerning. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, bicycle crashes were responsible for 86,000 head injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2009. Football was much less responsible for head injuries -  47,000.  Baseball accounted for 38,394.

Florida and the Lack of Distracted Driving Laws

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Advocacy, Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

We used to claim that only our teenagers communicated largely by text messaging. Now, the world speaks through texting. In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent – in just one month! Sadly, many of those were sent or read by people operating vehicles.  Furthermore, most drivers admit that they at least answer phone calls received and continue to drive.

Save Lives: Support Jacksonville’s 2030 Mobility Plan

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Advocacy, Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

A proposal will be submitted tonight to the Jacksonville City Council to waive the collection of “mobility fees” proposed in Jacksonville's 2030 Mobility Plan from developers who are building new construction, such as office buildings, apartments, shopping centers, etc.  Please tell your city council members ASAP that you support the collection of mobility fees!

Are Fixed Gear Bikes Legal?

Posted by Chris Burns in Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

Almost everybody likes to be “cool”. In the cycling culture, fixed gear bikes are especially hip and cool. They are extremely common on college campuses. They are incredibly popular in our bigger cities.  What’s the allure?

Fixies originally started as standard equipment in the bike messenger community. There was almost nothing that could be stolen off the bike, while the messenger parked the bike and delivered the package. Fixed gear bikes have also been popular with bike racers during off-season training, because they are thought to improve the efficiency of the rider’s leg spin. Fixed gear bikes are also used in track racing on a velodrome. They are ridden to gold medals in every Olympics.

The City of Jacksonville Must Improve Deplorable Bicycling and Pedestrian Conditions

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Advocacy, Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

Jacksonville, Florida (my home town) is one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for walking and bicycling, and must make drastic improvements.

Jacksonville was deemed the 3rd most dangerous city in the United States for bicyclists and pedestrians by a 2011 study called "Dangerous By Design", which indicted Jacksonville’s faulty road and infrastructure design, lack of adequate spending and enforcement of laws, lack of adequate policies and government staffing, and lack of programs supporting safety. This disproportionately endangers our minorities. Hispanics and African Americans drive less and walk more.  20 percent of African American and 14 percent of Hispanic households live without a car. Hispanics walk 45% more and African Americans 26% more trips than whites.

Bicycle Headphones - Are they Safe and Legal?

Posted by Chris Burns in Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

Using mobile devices with headphones, while participating in sports such as bicycling, has now become incredibly popular. Apple and other companies make music devices and phone cases especially designed for use with sports. Nike makes devices that tell exercisers the data about their workouts through headphones and sound. It appears that more recreational runners and joggers may use headphones than don't.

But what about using headphones while bicycling? Is this a good idea? Is it safe? Are there laws about riding bikes with headphones?

Bicycle Insurance Recommendations

Posted by Chris Burns in Cycling Safety Tips, Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

As cyclists, we realize there are real dangers associated with our riding bikes.  Between 600 and 900 bicycling fatalities occur in the US each year, and nearly 50,000 bicyclists are injured annually.  These are numbers that we must reduce, but many argue they are much lower than the numbers of persons who dies from diseases that could have been reduced or prevented if those people had exercised – such as regular bicycling.  Bicyclists who commute or ride frequently, instead of using their cars, and who follow traffic laws religiously, are generally likely to benefit by much better overall health.  Various researchers don’t agree, however some argue that bicycling is less dangerous per hour than driving a vehicle.

Advice for Receiving a Bicycle Traffic Ticket or Citation

Posted by Chris Burns in Florida Bicycle Laws, on .

The majority of my cycling clients are not accused of causing the crash or breaking the law.  Most of them contact me because they have been injured and desire to be compensated fairly. This is my expertise.  Rarely, they may have been charged with infractions such as failing to have proper lighting at night, or they may be charged with improperly riding on the sidewalk when local ordinances prohibit it.  (Sidewalks ordinances are impossible to figure out for cyclists. Three communities right next to one another may have totally different rules for whether you can ride on the sidewalk.  One second you can be legal, the next second illegal.)