Bicycle Accidents On Florida Roads
Because of its year-round fair weather and warm temperatures, there are always a lot of Florida road users out and around, regardless of the time of year. However, this also leads to an increase in accidents, particularly those involving bicycles and pedestrians. Riding your bicycle should not be hazardous to one’s health – but for a variety of reasons, bicycle accidents in Florida can be deadly. If you have been injured, consulting an experienced attorney on what to do next is always a good idea.
High Numbers Of Bicyclist Fatalities
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that Florida has consistently had very high numbers of bicyclist fatalities – for many years, the highest in the United States. There are several different reasons why these types of accidents occur, though some of those that reoccur most commonly include a lack of infrastructure like crosswalks and lights (particularly in rural areas), failure to yield or observe the right of way, and bicyclists not being sufficiently visible.
If you have been injured in an accident with an automobile, and you believe that the driver was negligent or reckless, you have the right to seek money damages for that negligence. This goes even if you believe that your own behavior was partially responsible for your injuries; Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that even if you are found partially responsible, you may still recover monetarily, just minus your percentage of fault. Filing suit is often in your best interest, when you have medical bills to cover.
Details To Remember
If you do decide to file suit against the driver who caused your injuries, there are two things to keep in mind that affect your chances of prevailing. First, while Florida is a no-fault state for purposes of auto insurance, this does not apply to bicycles. Florida’s no-fault statute explicitly applies to four-wheeled, non-self-propelled vehicles only, and both of those grounds exclude most bicycles. This means that unlike accidents involving multiple cars or trucks, you are able to file an ordinary negligence lawsuit in court to try and recover for the damages you have suffered.
Second, it is important to know that while they are permitted to ride on sidewalks, bicycles do qualify under Florida law as vehicles, meaning that a bicyclist is a driver who has the same rights and duties as the driver of a car or truck. This does mean that if you failed, say, to yield the right-of-way, or made an improper turn, it will be held against you in terms of liability. It will generally not torpedo any chance of recovery, because Florida is a comparative fault state, but it can materially affect your ability to recover if you contributed to the accident’s happening.
Call A Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you are involved in an accident with an automobile while on your bicycle, a mismatch in terms of protection and speed can lead to serious injuries. You have the right to try and hold that person accountable for what you have been through. A Tampa bicycle accident attorney can offer compassionate and dedicated representation during a scary time for you and your family. Call the Rinaldo Law Group today for a free consultation.