The non-profit Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) says most car-bicycle crashes are caused by impatient drivers. They fail to share the road with cyclists, look out for them or slow down when passing.
The consequences can be severe. In a recent year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles counted more than 5,000 traffic-related bicycle accidents in the state. Ninety-three percent resulted in personal injury.
If you or a loved one has been hit on a bicycle by a careless or reckless car driver, the Disparti Law Group, P.A., will protect your rights. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today. Our consultations are always free.
What Rights Do Tampa Bicyclists Have?
In most cases, Florida law treats bicycles the same as vehicles when they are on the road. The law extends bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorists or motorcyclists.
This means that drivers in the Tampa area should look for cyclists in traffic and leave them proper space. Where a car would yield the right-of-way to another car or motorcycle, it must do the same when it encounters a bicycle.
The FBA says cyclists should ride well into a traffic lane (instead of far to the right) so as to increase their visibility to drivers and discourage motorists from trying to squeeze past them within the lane.
Drivers are required to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing them. In fact, the FBA suggests drivers change lanes, even if it requires waiting before they can pass a bicycle.
Can an Injured Cyclist Recover Compensation After a Crash?
If a driver hits a bicycle, the bicyclist is likely to suffer such serious injuries as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones (fractures)
- Internal organ damage
- Serious lacerations or abrasions
- Other soft tissue damage.
If the bicyclist is killed in a collision with a motor vehicle, it is most likely due to a head injury, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports. (A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that wearing a bicycle helmet reduces head injury risk by 85 percent.)
Bicycle riders injured by motorists, or surviving family members of cyclists who die in an accident, may seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses through:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
- At-fault drivers’ liability insurance
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage.
Typically, obtaining money from a driver’s liability insurance requires a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. Even obtaining a proper settlement from your own insurer may require pursuing a legal claim.
In a bicycle accident lawsuit, as with any personal injury case in Florida, the law adheres to a principle called “comparative negligence.” This means that fault for the accident may be assigned to each party involved.
So, if you contributed to your bicycle accident in any way, your compensation could be reduced. For instance, you may have been hit on your bicycle by a speeding driver. However, if you were not crossing the road at a designated intersection, you may be considered partially at fault.
Contact Our Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
At Disparti Law, our attorneys are familiar with the arguments used to blame cyclists. That is why we thoroughly investigate our clients’ bicycle accidents before starting negotiations with the insurance company or heading to court. This allows us to fight from a position of strength when seeking the maximum amount possible for our clients.
For a free consultation, contact us today by phone or through our online form. We serve clients throughout Tampa and surrounding areas in Florida.
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