Common Causes of Florida Bicycle Accidents
With year-round warm temperatures and sunny weather, biking season lasts all year in St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg also boasts a number of bike trails, and the entire State of Florida comprises almost 825 miles of coastline, presenting many opportunities for bikers and cyclists.
Given the year-round warm Florida weather, many Floridians rely upon bicycles as a means of transportation to and from their workplaces, and many ride after dark without utilizing the necessary and proper reflective equipment.
Most bicycle accidents occur as a result of the negligence of a motor vehicle driver. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law. Our experienced St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyers have the necessary legal skills to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you in court.
Florida Law Regarding Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents in Florida are unique in that the victims come from a broad age range. Anyone from a young toddler to a senior citizen can wind up the victim in a bicycle accident.
Under Florida law,1 all bicycle riders under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets while riding their bicycles. While it is not required, for safety reasons, it is recommended that all bicycle riders wear a helmet when riding their bicycles. However, under Florida law, an injured bicyclist’s failure to wear a helmet cannot be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence on the part of the injured bicyclist.
A bicyclist is essentially deemed a ‘motorist’ under Florida law. In other words, a bicyclist is normally subject to the same rules of the road as all other drivers on the roadway. This means that bicyclists must do the following when operating their bicycles on Florida roadways:
- Obey all traffic signs, such as stop signs and yield signs
- Obey all traffic signals and traffic control devices, such as traffic lights and railroad crossing signals
- Obey all posted speed limit signs
Also, unless there is an obstacle or other hazardous condition in the way, bicyclists are required to ride their bicycles in a designated bike lane, if one is available.
Common Causes of St. Petersburg Bicycle Accidents
Some of the most common causes of St. Petersburg bicycle accidents include the following:
- Negligent, distracted, or inattentive driving
- Driver failing to obey a stop sign or traffic control device
- Driver failing to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist at an intersection
- Defective bicycle parts (such as brakes)
- Rear-end collisions
- ‘Dooring’ accidents
In recent years, ‘dooring’ has been a common cause of bicycle accidents in cases where a motor vehicle is involved. ‘Dooring’ occurs when the driver or passenger of a parked car suddenly opens the car door in the pathway of an oncoming cyclist. This negligent action on the part of the vehicle driver or passenger typically causes the cyclist to fall from the bicycle, hit the ground, and sustain very serious injuries and damages.
Proving Negligence on the Part of a Motor Vehicle Driver
In order for an injured cyclist to recover for injuries and damages sustained in an accident caused by a motor vehicle driver, the injured cyclist must ordinarily prove negligence on the part of the driver. Specifically, the injured cyclist must prove that the driver breached the duty to act as a reasonably prudent and careful driver under the circumstances and that this breach factually and proximately resulted in the cyclist’s injuries and damages.
In order to prove the negligence of the driver of the vehicle that collided with a cyclist, there must be an intensive investigation conducted into the circumstances of the accident to gather as much evidence as possible. Bicycle accidents can have a number of seemingly small details that can end up proving integral of proving the negligence of another party.
One simple way to gather evidence at the site of an accident is to take pictures or video of the accident scene. Many details of an accident site can be determined through a picture or the number of frames that make up a video. Details such as the road condition, vehicle positioning, visual damage, lighting, weather, etc. can be used to prove the negligence of another driver. Witness testimony can also be useful for determining the exact circumstances of a bicycle accident and who exactly is at fault.
Common Injuries Caused by Negligent Drivers in St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Cases
When a motor vehicle collides with a cyclist, the result can oftentimes be catastrophic. Because a cyclist typically has little-to-no protection from the ground (except for possibly a bicycle helmet), the resulting injuries can be severe, and, in some cases, deadly. Some of the most common types of bicycle accident injuries include the following:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Scrapes, abrasions, scratches, and bruises
- Permanent scarring (especially facial scarring)
Potential Damages Available to Injured Plaintiffs in St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Cases
In St. Petersburg bicycle accident cases, upon successfully proving negligence on the part of the motor vehicle driver, an injured bicyclist may be able to recover some or all of the following types of damages:
- Payment of all related medical and hospital bills and expenses (including doctor bills, physical therapy bills, or surgery bills)
- Compensation for lost wages from time missed from work for attending medical appointments (and during the recovery period)
- Past, present, and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Past, present, and future mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of earning capacity in cases of permanent physical or mental impairment
- Compensation for permanent injuries and damages
- Payment of all related bills for psychological or psychiatric treatment
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or spousal support
- Wrongful death
Contact a St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
When a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the results can be catastrophic and deadly. If you or someone you love was injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a legal right to monetary compensation under Florida law.
Our experienced St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyers have the necessary legal knowledge and experience to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and if necessary, litigate your case. Remember that that insurance company, generally speaking, is not on your side and does not have your best interests at heart. In bicycle accident cases, the insurance company’s main goal is to settle the case for as little money as possible (or deny liability altogether), keeping the money in-house and distributing it to its shareholders
Our experienced St. Petersburg bicycle accident attorneys have what it takes to fight the insurance companies every step of the way – even if it means going to court or resolving the case via alternative dispute resolution, such as at mediation or arbitration.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712