Lawmakers in Florida and all across the country have been working to find solutions to help keep both automobile drivers and bikers as safe as possible when sharing area roads. Still, as Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer David I. Fuchs knows, bike riders are more susceptible to serious injuries and/or death in the event of a collision with a larger automobile.
Many drivers may not realize that they are required to stay a certain distance from bike riders on the road; however, we know that ignorance of the law is never a valid excuse. Unfortunately, many bikers have sustained injuries or lost their lives due to drivers who have failed to use extra caution when sharing the road with cyclists.
Soon, however, new technology may become available to help keep bikers safe and ensure that drivers follow the rules of the road with respect to maintaining the proper distance between them and the bicycle.
A recent article in the Washington Post shed some light on the new technology that is currently being used in Canada to help law enforcement officers enforce the proper driving distance between vehicles and cyclists. The technology is in a device that can be attached to a cyclist’s handlebars.
It would use sonar to measure the distance between passing automobiles and bikes. The device would actually beep if a vehicle comes too close to the bike. That beep serves as an alert to the police officer riding the bike to radio his or her fellow officers ahead to pull over the offending driver.
Canada launched its Safer Roads Ottawa Program in an effort to ensure the safety of all users of the road. When the program launched, only one sonar device was used by an officer who rode the bike around the city to show the effectiveness of the technology.
It only took a few minutes before the device was beeping to indicate that passing drivers were too close to the bike. Those drivers were ultimately pulled over and provided a brochure that explained that they had broken the law by passing the bike at an unsafe distance. Currently, tickets are not being issued to the violators; however, it should be noted that tickets for such violations could be over $100 in Canada.
Here in the U.S., the District of Columbia, along with 29 states, have safe distance laws on the books — many of which require a distance of at least three feet between automobiles and bikers. Ken McLeod with the League of American Bicyclists notes that the law is often hard to enforce, but the sonar technology “directly addressed enforceability and shows that there is an educational value to the law aside from its enforcement.”
Cyclists should be aware that use of the sonar technology could soon spread to a number of cities across the U.S., as similar technology (ultrasound) is used by officers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and departments in Texas and Kentucky have plans to implement the technology as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike crash, or if you have lost a loved one to a bicycle accident, contact attorney David Fuchs at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs today.