There are plenty of perks to living in Central Florida — chief among them being the year-round presence of warm, sunny weather.
With temperatures rarely dropping below 70 degrees in your traditional winter months like January and February, life is meant to be lived outside in Central Florida. This specifically rings true here in Lake County, where a number of the people here enjoy taking advantage of the weather by bicycling, running and swimming nearly year round.
Funny as it is, those three activities are done at such a frequency in this area it’s given one of our cities here the title “the Triathlon Staging Center of Florida”. With 30,000 residents nestled just west of Orlando, Clermont is perfectly built for hosting some of the biggest triathlons in the state.
With an elevation of 307 feet (one of the highest in Florida) and 13 percent of the town being water, the terrain around Clermont has attracted triathletes from all over. Big races such as the Great Clermont Triathlon, Great Floridian Endurance Festival, Clermont Draft Legal Challenge all take place here and bring in an influx of tourism dollars to Lake County and Clermont.
Local bicyclists and new Central Florida residents who have an eye for fitness and competition would be inclined to participate. But come triathlon season the roads around Clermont will close for the race, making them private roads as opposed to regular public ones.
What’s the difference between public and private roads in Florida? On public roads bicycles are subject to the Florida PIP laws and the riders are obliged to follow the rules of the road much like a motorist would. However, on private roads those Florida traffic laws do not apply.
This means if you are an amateur cyclist racing in a triathlon for the first time and is injured after being struck by another racer, you can not file an insurance claim. Whether or not you can prove the person at-fault did so with malicious intent is another thing, but the PIP laws which require any Florida resident in an accident to file a claim do not apply on private roads.
This goes dually for those riding professionally. Professional cyclists are subject to different insurance rules when on public roads than us laymen cyclists. More often than not, insurance companies won’t cover liability for accidents caused by professionals nor will they fix the bicycle itself.
Do remember as triathletes start to come through Clermont more and more frequently this summer: if you’re going to compete in one of these competitions you must be careful. Any injuries or accidents which occur during a race will be on your dime.