Sharing the Road: Bicycle Accidents
For many years, Florida has been the state with the highest number of accidents involving bicycles. The causes of these accidents range from failure to yield to making turns in a proper manner, failure to obey traffic laws, or even the cyclist wearing clothing that makes it difficult to see him or her at night.
It is important to keep in mind that bicycle riders are subject to the same traffic signals and rules as motor vehicles when using public roads, as they are considered vehicles. Therefore, accidents involving bicycles are considered road accidents where drivers and bike riders are subject to the same level of responsibility. This means that, just like in any negligence claim, an injured bicycle rider will have to prove the negligence of a motor vehicle driver in case of a collision. To do so, the injured cyclist must show:
- That the driver had a duty;
- The breach of that duty;
- That such breach caused damages; and
- What those damages actually were.
In 2014, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was signed into law in Florida. This piece of legislation sets forth severe penalties for drivers leaving the scene of an accident that causes severe injury or death to another person, including cyclists.
Out of the 125 bicycle accidents that occurred in Florida in 2019, 47 occurred in Marion County.
The city of Ocala, through the Transportation Planning Organization, has launched a long-term bicycle/pedestrian master plan. It is a 15-year plan that seeks to improve the safety and connectivity of non-motorized users. While this plan promises to increase the safety of bike riders, this is a long-term plan that will likely not be completed until 2035. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what to do in case of an accident involving a bicycle, during the rollout period of the plan, and after its implementation.
What to do in case of an accident
Injured cyclists who prove that their damages have been caused by the breach of a driver to drive carefully can recover compensatory damages. These include medical and any out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages due to disability caused by the accident, as well as diminished earning capacity. As with any other accident or collision, any individual involved in a bicycle accident should:
- Notify the police and emergency services;
- Take the contact information of the other individuals involved in the accident as well as any witnesses;
- Notify your insurance company;
- Seek medical attention to confirm whether any injuries have occurred even if not noticeable;
- Take photographs for purposes of documenting the occurrence; and
- Seek the advice and assistance of a personal injury attorney
If you have been injured, or have otherwise been involved in a bicycle accident and have questions about your right to recover damages, feel free to contact The Villages bicycle accident attorneys at Glover Law Firm, or call us at 352-205-4495, to schedule a free consultation.