Florida has some of the highest bicycle crash and fatality statistics as anywhere across the country. To help protect bicyclists, Florida’s legislature has enacted laws to hold dangerous drivers accountable. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, seek immediate medical attention.
Florida Bike Accident Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that over a half million bicycle accidents occur each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that 1 in 6 U.S. bicycling deaths occur in Florida. Bicycle accidents require varying degrees of hospital care and/or advanced medical treatment. A bicyclist risks greater injury and exposure than a vehicle operator because bicyclists have limited safety gear and protections. As a result, a typical vehicle collision may not cause a vehicle operator much pain but may lead to substantial cyclist injuries.
In some bike accidents, a vehicle has either struck or caused the cyclist to hurdle onto pavement, stone work, shrubbery, trees, or to hit other vehicles, with little protection. Although bicycle helmets, pads, and safety decals can help lower the chance of injury, it can never truly prevent injury when involved in a serious accident.
Common Injuries Sustained During Bicycle Accidents
Traumatic brain injuries and head injuries may be the most common reason cyclists wear helmet protection. Unfortunately, bike riders may be at risk for other injuries.
Other injuries may include:
- TBI – Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken Bones
- Torn Ligaments
- Dislocated Body Parts
- Fractured Digits
- Dental trauma
- Eye trauma
- Facial Reconstruction
- Herniated disc
- Muscle strain
- Soft Tissue Injury
- Abdominal injuries
Vehicles Must Share The Road
Vehicle operators must safely and lawfully operate their vehicles. Additionally, vehicle operators owe a duty of care to share the roadway. Bicyclist fatality rates and injury reports illustrate that vehicle operators are one of the main leading causes of harm to bicyclists. Common reasons for vehicle operators striking bicyclists with vehicles, include drivers that are: texting, careless, reckless, inattentive, aggressive, ill, tired, impaired, or reckless.
Vehicle Operator Failures
Hazardous Road Conditions
- Hazardous road conditions
- Pot Holes
- Roadway without a Bicycle lane
- Inoperable Street Lights
- Intentional acts by drivers
- Hit and Run
- Brake Checking
- Road Rage
- Distracted drivers
- Reckless driving
Under the Influence
- Driving under the influence of illegal drugs
- Driving under the influence of prescription drugs
- Backing out of a driveway
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to signal
- Failed to stop at a stop sign
- Failed to stop at a red light
- Driving in bicycle lanes
- Making illegal turns
Bicyclists have common safety standards to help prevent traumatic injuries.
Wear a Helmet
Florida only requires children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. A helmet may help prevent or limit certain traumatic brain injuries.
Use Proper Equipment
Florida law requires cyclists to meet certain bicycle brake standards. Functioning brakes are essential to assist in avoiding cyclist accidents.
Watch for Vehicles
Dangerous vehicle operators operate on our roadways. For safety, bicyclists should always monitor vehicle operators, especially at busy intersections. Any cross sections, turning, stops, and condensed traffic can increase the likelihood of a bicycle accident.
Sometimes, even if bike riders take proactive safety measures, a cyclist can still become the victim of an accident due to a vehicle operator’s distracted and careless driving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do after a bike accident
If you have been injured in a bike accident and you are able to do so, follow these steps:
- Call the police if you are injured
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Request the Vehicle Operator’s insurance information
- Take photographs of the accident scene
- Write down the contact information of any witness
- Keep your bike as evidence (do not use)
- Contact a bike accident lawyer
How can I prove the driver is at fault?
Our firm will analyze the accident report, witness statements, and accident reconstruction to consider fault. Legal liability requires that we establish negligence. We must demonstrate that the vehicle operator breached its obligations to the cyclist.
Who do vehicle operators owe a duty of care to?
Vehicle operators owe a duty of care to:
- Other drivers
- Scooter Operator
- Individuals on the road.
What is comparative negligence?
Florida law creates a fact pattern where all parties may be liable in a single claim. Florida’s law allows for comparative negligence when determining fault and liability. Unsurprisingly, an insurance company may claim that your own negligence caused the accident. Moreover, the insurance company may claim that you were careless while operating your bicycle. As a result, the insurance company will attempt to prove that your action or inaction, at the very least, contributed to your accident. The insurance company will ask the court to reduce your settlement to reflect your percentage of fault.
What happens if a jury finds I am at 40% fault?
If a jury finds that you were 40% at fault for the accident, you will deduct your comparative fault from the total award to find your percentage. For example, if a jury finds a bicyclist 40% at fault and the trial award is $100,000, a bicyclist will receive 60% percent of the trial award or $60,000.
Can I sue the city or local municipality?
Often, a municipality, county, or city may have failed to properly maintain a street or roadway. Therefore, you may bring a claim against that agency. Additionally, if your injury was the result of construction or a failure to warn of construction, you may be able to sue the construction company. Construction companies are obligated to place you on notice of dangerous road conditions.
What if my bicycle is defective?
Do you believe your bicycle is defective? If so, stop riding it and maintain your bicycle in its current condition. If we can prove that your bicycle is defective and your bicycle caused your accident and injuries, you may have a claim against the bicycle manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
News & Resources
Bike Accident | Statistics | Bicycle Safety | https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html