In a college town with year-round mild weather, such as Tallahassee, bicycling is a popular mode of transportation. Unfortunately, narrow roadways, congestion, and risky driving practices by the operators of passenger and commercial vehicles place bicyclists at risk of becoming injured or even killed in traffic-related collisions.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, a Tallahassee bicycle accident attorney from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help. They can assist you in understanding the process of seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts you incurred due to your injury during a free case evaluation. We have helped the injured throughout Florida obtain the compensation they need after being injured due to someone else's negligence.
Table of Contents
- Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tallahassee
- Who Is Most Likely to Become Injured in Bicycle Accidents?
- Types of Injuries Sustained in Tallahassee Bicycle Accidents
- What to Do After a Tallahassee Bicycle Accident
- Contact a Tallahassee Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tallahassee
The warm weather has consistently driven larger numbers of bicyclists to the roadways in Florida than in other states. However, according to AAA surveys, Florida also has the most fatal bicycle accidents in the nation. Many of these accidents result from human error, which the driver often makes in a passenger car or commercial vehicle.
Some of the most common places for traffic accidents to occur in Tallahassee—primarily due to speed, inattention, and congestion—include:
- Orange Avenue and Springhill Road
- Monroe Street and Orange Avenue
- Capital Circle and W. Tennessee Street
- Ocala Road and W. Tennessee Street
- Capital Circle and Apalachee Parkway
The city government of Tallahassee has been working on creating safer spaces for cyclists to ride and has developed a map of bike routes around the city that are rated based on how comfortable the rider is with certain conditions.
- High comfort roadways are generally one lane in either direction and feature a reduced speed limit.
- Medium comfort roadways feature higher speeds and more traffic, and cyclists are encouraged to prepare themselves for interactions with other roadway users.
- Low comfort routes are multi-lane or median-separated roadways with higher traffic volumes and speed limits.
- Very low comfort roadways are multi-lane roads with speeds of more than 40 miles per hour.
Here is a look at the common driver behaviors that can result in a bicycle accident.
Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way
The most commonly reported factor leading to a bicycle accident is the failure of a driver to yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist at an intersection, which is a factor in 38 percent of all bicycle fatalities in Florida. This often results from a lack of driver understanding of bicycle laws. However, other risky driving behaviors such as distracted, impaired, or aggressive driving can also lead to a bicycle accident involving a failure to yield.
Failing to ensure that non-marked intersections are clear before completing a turn is one common mistake many drivers make. Florida law considers all four sides of every intersection crosswalks, even if they are not marked, and drivers must yield to bicycles in the crosswalk.
Distracted driving is one of the country's most common causes of traffic fatalities.
A driver distraction is anything that:
- Causes the driver to take their eyes away from watching the road
- Causes the driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel
- Causes the driver's thoughts to stray from the task of safe driving
A particularly concerning type of distracted driving is texting and driving, which features all three distractions and can result in a driver traveling the length of a football field while reading or replying to a text without looking at the road. There is plenty of space for the texting driver to encounter a bicyclist on the roadway they did not anticipate. Bicycle accidents are commonly the result of a distracted driver drifting into a bicycle lane.
Like government officials in other states, Florida lawmakers attempted to reduce the number of accidents involving distracted drivers in recent years by passing the Hands-Free Law. This law prohibits motorists from using handheld devices such as cell phones while traveling through a school or work zone.
A speeding vehicle poses several hazards for Tallahassee bicyclists, including:
- A reduction in the time the driver has to see a bicyclist in their path and respond by braking
- An increase in the distance the vehicle will travel after the brakes have been depressed
- Difficulty for bicyclists and other roadway users to judge a safe gap in traffic in which to turn or cross an intersection
- Increased crash severity due to the additional force created by the speed
Tallahassee is the drunkest city in Florida, according to 24/7 Wall Street. The study reveals that one of every five adults in the city binge drinks. Nearly one-third of all fatal traffic-related crashes feature an alcohol-impaired driver.
For bicyclists and motorists, alcohol impairment creates profound deficits in the skills needed to navigate Tallahassee's city streets safely.
These deficits include:
- Loss of the ability to track a moving target, judge speed, or detect when a traffic signal has changed.
- Difficulty determining a safe gap in traffic in which to enter a roadway.
- Difficulty maintaining speed or lane position.
- Difficulty performing more than one task at a time.
- Loss of the ability to make good decisions.
Most people can think of a time when they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open and focusing on safe driving. Unfortunately, for many night shift workers and truck drivers, this frequently happens, as they drive during late-night hours when the body feels an instinctive need to sleep.
Fatigued driving produces deficits similar to those presented by alcohol-impaired driving, including difficulty focusing on driving safely, controlling the vehicle, and having an adequate response in emergencies such as when a bicyclist unexpectedly enters the driver's path.
Failure to See the Bicyclist
Bicycles feature a smaller, slimmer frame than other vehicle types and often have fewer lights. Drivers often have difficulty seeing them, particularly at night and on poorly lit streets. Aside from fewer lights and a smaller frame, drivers also often fail to see bicyclists on the road due to inattentional blindness.
This is not a medical condition but rather the usual way the brain processes a chaotic environment such as a busy intersection, focusing on the biggest hazards. Smaller, unexpected things, such as a bicycle crossing the roadway, often do not register with the driver's brain, even if they have looked right at the bicyclist before pulling out.
It is worth noting that even though inattentional blindness is a normal phenomenon, drivers are still liable for accidents that result from failing to ensure that a lane is clear before entering it or crossing it.
Failure to Provide a Safe Space Between the Bicycle and Other Vehicles
In Florida, drivers must provide at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle as they are overtaking it on the roadway. Unfortunately, many roads around Tallahassee do not have bike lanes that buffer between cyclists and other types of traffic. Many drivers are unaware that this space is required.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
A blind spot is an area around the vehicle that the driver cannot see by looking in their rear or side-view mirrors and must turn their heads and look over their shoulder before turning or changing lanes to ensure the area is clear. All cars have a blind spot; the longer and taller the vehicle is, the larger the blind spot used to be.
Bicyclists are often injured when motorists attempt to make a right turn without first ensuring that no bikes are traveling in the bike lane next to the vehicle. Bicyclists can also be struck in non-intersection areas if a driver attempts to change lanes without looking.
Dooring is a dangerous phenomenon for motorcyclists and bicyclists in Tallahassee that occurs when the occupant of a vehicle parked on the roadside opens their door into the cyclist's path. This causes the rider to collide with the door or swerve into an adjacent lane.
Who Is Most Likely to Become Injured in Bicycle Accidents?
For many years, children using their bicycles to ride to school sustained the most bicycle accident injuries. However, more adults use bikes to exercise and as a primary form of transportation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,000 bicyclists die across the nation each year, and bicycle accidents injure another 130,000.
These deaths and injuries span all age groups, but certain groups are more likely to suffer injuries or die.
- Adults between 55 to 69 have any group's highest bicycle accident death rate.
- Adolescents and young adults have the highest rate of bicycle accident injuries.
- Male bicyclists are six times more likely to die and five times more likely to become injured in a bicycle accident.
- Bicycle fatalities are more likely to occur in urban areas where riders are close to fast-moving traffic and risky driving behaviors.
The Types of Injuries Sustained in Tallahassee Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists are considered vulnerable roadway users. They have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users, but the bicycle is much smaller than other vehicles and lacks safety features such as a seat belt, airbags, or a steel frame that would protect the rider's body from injury in an accident. Because of this, the injuries sustained in Tallahassee bicycle accidents are often severe or even catastrophic.
A catastrophic injury has a high likelihood of permanent disabilities that will impair the sufferer's ability to earn an income simply due to the part of the body where it occurs.
A traumatic brain injury is the most common catastrophic injury associated with bicycle accidents. This injury can result in permanent disabilities such as memory loss, difficulty understanding verbal communication, the inability to move in a balanced or coordinated manner, or difficulty controlling one's emotions, behaviors, or impulses. Spinal cord injuries are also considered catastrophic due to the likelihood of partial or complete paralysis.
Other catastrophic injuries resulting from a Tallahassee bicycle accident include traumatic limb amputations and injuries resulting in the loss of hearing or sight.
Other injuries commonly experienced in bicycle accidents include:
- Road rash is a deep skin abrasion caused by contact between the skin and a rough surface, such as an asphalt road.
- Broken bones in the lower extremities
- Broken bones in the arms, wrists, and hands result from the rider attempting to catch themselves when falling as a collision occurs.
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to the cartilage and ligaments in the knee
- Internal injuries can result in organ damage or dangerous internal blood loss.
What to Do After a Tallahassee Bicycle Accident
One of the most important things to do after you a Tallahassee bicycle accident injured you is to speak with an experienced Tallahassee personal injury attorney to seek compensation.
Florida claimants don't always know whether they should seek coverage of their expenses through their personal injury protection insurance policy or how to deal with a hit-and-run accident.
Contact a Tallahassee Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
After your case, your attorney will receive your compensation and deposit it into a trust fund. The attorney will satisfy medical liens placed on the claim and deduct a percentage of the award for payment. If you should lose the case, you owe nothing for our legal services.
Bicycle accidents are complex, and so is the process of obtaining compensation after one injures you. Let us give you the peace of mind of having a compassionate and aggressive legal team on your side as you fight for the compensation you deserve. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling 850-790-5830.
2707 Killarney Way, Suite 205
Tallahassee, FL 32309
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