According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, in 2018, there were 857 bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes, a more than 6% increase from the year before. In 2017, Florida had the highest number of fatal bike crashes with 125 crashes. Avoiding accidents is the responsibility of both drivers and cyclists.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recommends that drivers always remember to give bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing them, to yield to any bicyclist in the bike lane and make your turn behind the cyclist as outlined by law, to avoid using high beam headlights when you see a bicyclist approaching and check for bicyclists who may be approaching from behind before opening a door. It is equally as important for cyclists to remember to make sure all equipment on the bicycle is in working order, wear something reflective, a properly sized helmet and bike, appropriate shoes, and neon, fluorescent or bright colors when riding, pay attention, and never text and ride. Bikers should also ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible, using bike lanes whenever possible, and should never pull out from between parked cars or be towed behind a vehicle. It must be noted that Florida Law requires that the front of the bike be equipped with a headlight lamp which exhibits a white light visible for 500 feet, and the rear of the bike equipped with a taillight lamp and reflector visible for 600 feet when riding in the dark. Both parties must always obey all traffic laws, including signs, signals and lane markings, and abide by pedestrian crossing guidelines.
According to Florida law, all automobile accidents, including accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles, must be reported if the property or personal injury damages exceeds $500. Meaning that after an accident, first check or injuries, then call 911 to report your accident, address injuries, and make note of the scene. If you are seeking property damage coverage for your bike, helmet or gear, do not repair your equipment until you have consulted with an attorney. Be sure to keep all documentation about the details of your accident for your attorney, and if possible, try to make documentation of any injuries or pain, even if it is minor. In the case of an accident between a driver and a biker, your attorney will be negotiating with the negligent driver’s car insurance company for compensation for injury costs or property damages. Of course, there are different steps to take in the event of a hit and run situation, which can be read about here.
If you or a loved one have suffered damages, injury, or wrongful death as the result of a reckless road sharer, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the liable parties. A personal injury lawyer from our Lakeland office, serving Central Florida and Polk County, including Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, and Haines City, can help you and your family by ensuring that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call (863) 733-9090.