Just as predictable as the Puffins returning to their nests, The Birds, Snowbirds, that is, are returning to their seasonal nests in The Villages.  We love them.  The Snowbirds increase our population and energize us.  We renew old friendships and make new ones.  The “Season” is a great time for adventure and fun.

There are some caveats, however, and we bicyclists must be prepared because increased population means more traffic, which means more opportunities for encounters of the crash kind.  We want to increase our survivability first by reducing our vulnerability.  Be a Puffin and wear bright clothing.  Wear a properly fitting helmet.  Ride with light front and rear – I have two cameras.  Have a horn to alert people who don’t see you.  Hey, our median age is 67.5.

Make sure your bike is safe and ready to ride by performing an A-B-C-Quick Check:

  • Air Pressure is OK
  • Brakes work
  • Cranks and Chain function

Carry a fully charged phone in case a break down or crash occurs.

If you do crash, Jim Dodson, the Cycling Guy, suggests that you:

Call the police.  Never let the driver convince you they will pay for your bike without calling the police. Unless your medical condition is too serious, wait for them to arrive at the scene and make their report.  If you don’t go to the Emergency Room you must see a doctor.  You may lose important medical benefits under your auto No Fault policy if you are not treated at the scene by a paramedic, go to the ER, or see a physician within 14 days in Florida.

Get contact information about the driver and any witnesses.  This is very important. Police often miss getting complete contact information of eyewitnesses.

Photograph the scene. The location of the vehicle, your gear on the road, as well as scrapes or marks on the pavement, your bike, or the vehicle, are very important. Get photos of the impact areas.  Use your phone camera!

Save your bike and any damaged gear. 

Don’t give a statement of how the accident happened to the driver’s insurance company until you talk with your lawyer. If they call, be nice, just get their contact information and tell them you’ll call them back at a more convenient time.

Notify your insurance company.  Let them know what happened. Get a claim number from them to use when you see a doctor for accident-related medical treatment.

Download Jim’s free Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook, at:

As Mrs. Bundy said in Hitchcock’s “The Birds:”  “I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world.”  Enjoy the Season…hold on tight!

by Rose Jordan, Bike Friendly Advocacy Council