Bicycling has many advantages for Floridians. You get exercise. Save on gas money and auto repairs. Leave less of a carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks is a lack of safety, and one of the biggest reasons for this is the high number of bicycle accidents caused by vehicles every year. In this post, we’ll explain how negligent drivers often cause bicycle accidents and what to do if you have been hurt.
Bicycle Injuries and Motorists in Florida
About half a million bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year in the U.S., and over 800 people die from bicycle accidents. Many of these deaths and injuries are caused by crashes with motor vehicles, and these numbers continue to rise.
No matter how much protective gear and cautionary measures a bicyclist uses, he or she is no match for a large vehicle, especially when speed is involved.
Drivers have a duty of care toward anyone with whom they share the road, including bicyclists. They are responsible for watching out for bicyclists and taking reasonable measures to prevent accidents from occurring. However, many motorists don’t practice the duty of care owed to bicyclists, putting them in danger of accidents.
How Florida Bicyclists Get Hurt by Automobiles
These are the most common ways drivers cause bicycle accidents in Florida.
Distracted drivers are the cause for many different types of accidents today, including bicycle accidents. A driver distracted by calls, texting, talking with passengers, reading, eating, applying makeup, fiddling with dashboard equipment, or other common actions could easily cause a crash with a bicyclist.
Failure to yield
The most common reason for bicyclist deaths in accidents are because drivers fail to yield to the bicyclists’ right of way. When a driver isn’t looking for a bicyclist, he or she can easily violate the right of way and cause serious injuries to them.
Intersections can be incredibly dangerous for bicyclists. Drivers may try to turn left and cause a collision with them. When turning right, drivers can knock bicyclists off their bicycles or cause them to turn into another vehicle’s path. Serious injuries can result from these accidents.
Drivers must give enough room to a bicyclist when passing them on a road or highway. If a driver passes too closely, he or she could injure the bicyclist with a side-swipe accident. A more serious passing accident could involve knocking a bicyclist off his or her bike or forcing the bicyclist to move into another vehicle’s path.
No regard for bike lanes
Drivers have a duty to watch for bicyclists who use designated bike lanes, especially in intersections and near driveways. If a driver disregards the rights of a bicyclist to his or her bike lane, an accident can occur.
Opening car doors without looking
If a driver opens his or her vehicle door in the path of a bicyclist, a serious injury could occur as the bicyclist veers to avoid an accident or is knocked off his or her bicycle. Drivers have a responsibility to watch for oncoming traffic and bicycles before opening their doors.
Not considering bicyclist’s stopping ability
Bicycles take longer to stop than vehicles. Bicyclists cannot make sudden stops like vehicles, because they risk being thrown off their bicycles. If a driver assumes that a bicyclist can make a sudden stop, an accident can occur that may be attributable to the driver.
The bottom line is this. If drivers fail to take bicyclists’ needs into consideration on the road, too often, serious accidents can result. Bicyclists can file claims for damages against drivers who acted with negligence to cause their injuries.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured as a bicyclist in an accident with a driver, you need to know how your rights are protected under Florida law. A knowledgeable Florida injury attorney who has experience with bicyclist injuries can help you know whether you can file a claim against a negligent driver. In a high number of instances, drivers are at fault for bicycle accidents, and we can help you receive fair compensation for your medical bills.
Our legal team will conduct a thorough examination of your case details, including all information available from the accident scene. We will pore through your medical records and estimate the amount of damages for which you can receive compensation, including lost income and pain and suffering.
Call today for your free legal consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney. We can help you get the money you deserve for your bicycle accident injuries.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.