Florida bears a dubious distinction: the highest rate of bicycle deaths in the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2016 data. Florida residents increasingly ride their bikes to exercise, commute to work, shop or school, or just for fun. Drivers and bicyclists should be on the lookout for increasing dangers — but often they’re not. Drivers are supposed to ‘share the road’ with pedestrians and bicyclists, but often drivers either don’t pay attention, are reckless, cavalier, or even retaliatory.
Recent NHTSA statistics reveal that bicyclists annually represent:
- Two percent of all accident injuries and traffic fatalities
- Over 1,100 traffic-related deaths
- Over 52,000 traffic-related injuries
Some additional facts about bike crashes, per NHTSA’s most recent report, include:
- Of those killed, over 80 percent were male
- The average age of those killed in bicycle accidents was 46
- One-third of deaths involved alcohol
- Light trucks were the most frequently used vehicle in crashes where a bicyclist died
- Most accidents do not occur at intersections
- Not surprisingly, bike lanes dramatically decrease accidents and injuries (only 4 percent of bicycle accidents occurred in marked or otherwise delineated bike lanes)
We know that when a car or truck crashes into a bicyclist, it is nearly always the bicyclist who gets hurt – usually seriously or fatally.
Bicycle accident victims have a long road to recovery and crashes can leave families without a loved one. If you or a family member sustained severe injuries in a bicycle accident in the Aventura area, please call the law firm of Sibley Dolman for help today.
Bicycles are “Vehicles” under the Florida Motor Vehicle Code
Bikes are vehicles and must obey the rules of the road like cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Likewise, cyclists have the same right to use roadways as any driver. They are entitled to the same respect, safety and protection as any car driver. Florida law is clear on this — a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a vehicle driver under Florida Statute §316-2065.
The Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) publishes several helpful guides for bicyclists, including a law enforcement guide and “Florida Bicycling Street Smarts,” both available here on the FBA’s website.
How are Bicycle Collisions Typically Caused?
Bicyclists are hurt in many ways, often because:
- The biker slams into an open car door
- The bicyclist is not clearly visible, sufficient to be noticed
- The motorist turned left, at an unmarked or uncontrolled intersection
- Road hazards which may not be hazardous to cars, but are dangerous for bicyclists (such as poor maintenance, drainage, design, lighting, potholes)
- The motorist or biker failed to stop at a stoplight or stop sign
- The car or bicycle passed on the right
- The driver passed unsafely or without enough clearance
- The driver or bicyclist wasn’t paying proper attention or was simply distracted (for example, by cell phone, car stereo, lighting a cigarette, or from another passenger)
- A driver intentionally ignored a biker’s right-of-way (often thinking he can pass or ‘beat’ the bicyclist in time)
- The bicyclist or driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs (including over-the-counter medications)
When a bicyclist causes the accident or is partially at fault, that may limit her ability to recover damages against the car driver. Therefore, bicyclists must obey the rules of the road. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has an excellent web page devoted to bicycle laws, suggestions and safety tips.
Are you Entitled to Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident Injuries?
When a motor vehicle causes a bike accident (whether on the street, sidewalk, bike lane or parking lot), bicyclists usually are entitled to recover damages for their injuries. Of course, each bicycle accident case differs. Where the driver is negligent, a bicyclist may be compensated for physical injuries, financial loss, and emotional pain. Compensation may include:
- Lost salary (past and future)
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Medical bills (doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation, home care, assistance, medical appliances, and equipment)
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to injuries
Your experienced attorney will help determine your case’s merits, and estimate damages you may be able to recover. Of course, there are no guarantees as every injured client is unique.
Other Causes of Bicycle Accidents and Injuries
Bicyclists can be hurt for reasons besides colliding with a car. Some examples:
- The bicycle may have defective components (often brakes or steering not working properly)
- Bicycle parts may not have been designed or maintained properly
- The rider’s foot slipped off the bike pedals (which occurs if not clipped properly or improper footwear is used)
- Poor road conditions (from ice, snow, wet leaves, debris, potholes, etc.)
- Bicyclist distraction or impairment
- Improper signage
The right bicycle accident attorney will help determine who is at fault, and therefore liable, which is crucial to pursue a case for damages.
Why You Need an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
Many lawyers handle personal injury cases. But not all lawyers focus on bicycle accidents, which present unique and different issues. Your attorney should understand bicycling. What sets an experienced bicycle accident attorney apart from the generalist? Our attorneys know:
- How to negotiate with insurers, to bring your case to trial before a jury
- The biases some have against bicycle riders (police officer reports often conclude the bicyclist is at fault, without even talking to the rider)
- The science and forensics particular to biking (for example, speeds, braking, cornering, pavement and roadway conditions)
- Bicycle and motor vehicle laws
- The mechanical parts of bicycles
- Riding practices, customs, techniques, and skills
- How to hire and use consultants, engineers and accident reconstruction experts
- How to value your case and best present your circumstances to others
These skills cannot be overestimated, and differentiate a seasoned bicycle accident attorney from other lawyers who don’t regularly handle bike crash cases.
Were You Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? Call an Experienced Aventura Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today for Help
If you or someone you know was hurt in a bike-related accident, don’t delay. You may be entitled to substantial compensation. You need a skilled, experienced attorney. Trust the dedicated legal professionals at Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP, conveniently located in Aventura, Miami-Dade County, South Florida. Call us right away at 954-302-7068 or contact us online confidentially. We understand bicycle accidents and know how to best navigate your case and injuries. Our clients’ best interests are our law firm’s core mission.
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
20807 Biscayne Boulevard Suite 100,
Aventura, FL 33180
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“So happy I chose Sibley Dolman!!! My experience with the law firm right from the start was fast, friendly and understanding. I started treatment for my injury right away, and while I was focusing on getting better the firm was fighting for me. Incredibly happy with the outcome, thank you to Brent and the team for all the hard work and updates.”
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