Biking is a great way to exercise, avoid traffic, and enjoy all that Florida has to offer. The Sunshine State didn’t get its nickname without reason, and the number of bikers on Florida’s roads continues to rise each year. Unfortunately, this is likely the reason why Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths in the United States—and not just the highest rate, but a rate more than double the national average. This means that Florida bike accidents are far too common, and these cases often involve serious injuries. If you have been injured or a loved one was killed in a bicycle accident, call the Dolman Law Group for assistance at (727) 451-6900 immediately.
Common Causes of Florida Bike Accidents
The most common accidents involved bike-vehicle crashes when the drivers of the vehicles were between 20 and 24 years old. This was surprising to many Floridians, who often blame the aging snowbird population for road-related accidents, but drivers older than 75 were least likely to be involved when cars and bikes collided.
The most common negligent driving behaviors that lead to bike collisions are:
- Failure of drivers to yield right-of-way to cyclists
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Careless driving
- Running stop signs
Your Rights as a Florida Cyclist
Under Florida law, cyclists have “all the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.” Of course, there are certain exceptions, such as regulations for riding with a child younger than four and using a bicycle helmet if you are younger than 16, but cyclists are generally entitled to their fair share of the road. Bike riders are supposed to use the bike lane if they are riding slower than the normal speed of traffic—and if no such lane is available, then they are required to ride as far to the right as possible. But as you can imagine, failure to yield right-of-way accidents can often occur when drivers make right turns across bike lanes and crash into riders who adhere to the law. Unfortunately, most drivers do not consider bicycle lanes as actual traffic lanes, but this is no excuse for their negligence under Florida law.
Recovering for Your Injuries After a Florida Bike Accident
If you were injured by a motor vehicle while riding your bike, there are generally two causes of action your attorney may pursue in court: negligence and negligence per se. To show that another driver was negligent, your attorney must prove the following:
- Duty: The driver had a duty to others to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner and in accordance with Florida law.
- Breach: The driver failed to take measures to operate the vehicle in a safe, reasonable, or legal manner.
- Cause: As a result of the driver’s breach, you were involved in a traffic accident.
- Damages: As a result of the accident, you sustained injuries or other compensable damages.
If the accident occurred because an aggressive driver did not want to share the road, however, you have a case for both your personal injuries and to bring to the police. Negligence per se is also a potential cause of action if the accident was caused because the other driver violated Florida law and that violation caused the accident. For example, if the other driver changed lanes without using a turn signal or made a right turn over a bike lane, your attorney can argue that the driver should pay compensation for your injuries. Because bicycle accidents can result in serious injuries to riders, you should not hesitate to contact a Florida bike accident attorney to discuss whether you have a viable claim for compensation.
Most Common Bike Crash Injuries and Factors
Did you know that bicycle-related injuries are second only to horseback riding accidents on the scale of seriousness? The most serious injuries suffered in a bike accident include traumatic brain injuries, especially for those who do not wear helmets. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries can result in lifelong disabilities for injured riders. Even what appears to be a minor impact can result in fatal injuries depending on the way in which the cyclist hits the ground, vehicle, or other object.
Not all injuries are to the brain, however. In fact, the most common bike accident injuries include:
- Face, eye, and dental injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
- Punctured lungs
- Abdominal injuries such as bowel contusions and ruptures
Furthermore, the most common factors that contribute to a cyclist’s injuries include:
- Age and gender
- Time of day
- Lack of safety gear
- Unsafe riding environments, including uneven pavement
- Tricks and competitive riding
- Motor vehicle involvement
Reported Bicycle Accidents Involving Injuries in Florida
Even if certain factors—in addition to another driver’s negligence—contributed to your Florida bike accident, you may still be entitled to compensation, either from the driver’s insurance policy or in a court of law.
Call an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible
Bike accident law is a complex field due to the legal standards and protections that apply to Florida cyclists. It takes an attorney who understands that Florida cyclists have the same rights to use the road as drivers and that motorists should respect these rights. If you or a loved one were injured as the result of a bike accident, the Dolman Law Group has the personal injury lawyers and bike accident attorneys you need in the greater South Florida area. Call our office today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online for a free, no-risk consultation about your injuries.
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.