Many residents of and visitors to Stuart and the surrounding area enjoy riding bicycles. Florida has both sunshine year-round and a huge network of bicycle trails for cyclists to enjoy. Many Floridians also use their bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to and from work. With ideal weather and a growing population, bicycle riding is becoming increasingly popular in the state. Unfortunately, many people are seriously injured or killed in bicycle accidents each year. If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed, a bicycle accident attorney at The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. may help to protect your rights.
Bicycle laws and responsibilities
It is important for cyclists and other motorists to understand the rights and responsibilities that bicyclists have in Florida. The law allows cyclists to use most Florida roads, and they may also ride on sidewalks unless the sidewalks are located in designated business districts. When cyclists are traveling on roads, they are considered to be motorists. When they ride on sidewalks or through crosswalks, they are considered to be pedestrians.
Bicyclists who are traveling on public roads are expected to follow all of the laws governing motorists as well as some additional cyclist-specific statutes. Some people only partially understand the rules governing cyclists. For instance, while cyclists must generally use bicycle lanes that are available to them, they are allowed to exit the lanes and enter the traffic lanes when they are turning left if remaining in the bicycle lanes would be dangerous. Motorists likewise must follow the traffic safety laws, and they have duties of care to watch for bicyclists and pedestrians in order to minimize the risk of colliding with them.
Bicycle crash factors
There are numerous factors that can lead to bike accidents, including the following:
- Uneven pavement
- Road conditions
- Driver inattentiveness
- Crossing in pedestrian crossings and crosswalks
- Traveling through roundabouts
- Defective products
- Animal attacks
Collisions with motor vehicles are the leading causes of bicycle accidents in Florida. In some cases involving bicycle and car crashes, the accidents happen because of the drivers’ negligence. Negligent driving behaviors such as speeding, inattentive driving, texting, failing to slow at crosswalks, and impaired driving may all lead to serious bike accidents when the motorists collide with bicyclists around them. Drivers sometimes fail to notice oncoming cyclists when they turn left, causing the cyclists to collide with them or crashing into the bicycles as they turn. Motorists also sometimes cause bike accidents when the motorists travel too close to the cyclists while the cyclists are traveling in bicycle lanes.
Bicycle accident injuries
Because cyclists do not have the same protection that car occupants do, they have a higher risk of suffering severe injuries or fatalities. Unlike the occupants of trucks, cars and SUVs, cyclists do not have a vehicle frame surrounding them to absorb some of the forces involved in collisions. It is common for cyclists to suffer such injuries as fractures, head injuries, spinal injuries, serious limb injuries, permanent scarring, road rash or deaths.
Handling bicycle accidents caused by negligent drivers
Cyclists are able to file claims with the personal injury protection policies that they have for their motor vehicles. In Florida, if an injured bicyclist seeks medical care within 14 days of their accidents their PIP insurance may cover up to $10,000 of their lost wages and medical expenses. Additionally, they may file claims against the negligent motorists who caused their accidents, allowing them to recover damages. The injury attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. may advise you about the potential damages that you are entitled to recover and help you with seeking the maximum possible amount.
Potential damages in a bicycle accident claim
There are a number of different types of damages that might be available to you in a bike accident claim, depending on the severity of your injuries and your losses. You may recover your medical expenses, lost income, lost ability to perform work, damages for permanent scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering and others. The Eberst Law Firm, P.A will then negotiate on your behalf to recover the maximum amount for you so that you may be made financially whole. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. will litigate vigorously on your behalf through a jury trial in an effort to recover a verdict in your favor.
Bicycle accidents may leave people in Stuart and the surrounding areas with devastating injuries and permanent disabilities. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important for you to learn about your potential rights. Contact The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. to schedule a free consultation today so that we can discuss your case with you.