Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Florida is sunny and warm year-round, and riding a bike is a great way to get around town, whether commuting for work or just for fun. It’s great exercise and pollution-free. However, it’s not always as safe as it should be, especially in Florida. Sadly, the Sunshine State consistently ranks as the number one or number two state in the nation for having the highest number of bicycle fatalities. Closer to home, the Tampa Bay metro region is the most dangerous metro area in the United States when it comes to cyclist death rates.
In Tampa, Florida and nationwide, fatal bicycle crashes are getting worse every year. In 2022, 211 people lost their lives in 7,124 bicycle accidents in Florida, and about a third of those deaths happened in Tampa Bay, including 476 bike crashes (18 fatal) in Hillsborough Cunty and 578 collisions (13 fatal) in Pinellas County. Florin Gray is a Tampa personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping the victims of serious or fatal bicycle crashes get justice and compensation for the harm inflicted on them by a negligent driver. We know that you are going through a difficult time, and we work hard to achieve success and top compensation in your case while providing you with the best client service possible. Contact our experienced Tampa bicycle accident lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss what happened and find out how we can help.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tampa
Bicycle accidents can happen for many different reasons, including negligent, reckless or aggressive driving on the part of the cyclist, or equipment failure due to manufacturing defects or faulty maintenance. Often, however, a negligent automobile driver is responsible for causing the crash. Cyclists know how vulnerable they are on the road, and they generally take great care for their safety. Unfortunately, they can’t always protect themselves from the negligence or aggressive actions of motorists. Here are some of the leading ways negligent drivers cause serious bicycle accidents in Tampa:
- Executing turns and lane changes without looking over their shoulder or signaling
- Opening car doors into the bicycle lane or a travel lane when a cyclist is oncoming
- Driving in the bike lane
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist
- Following too close
- Aggressive maneuvers that squeeze the cyclist off the road
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
Rules of the Road for Bicycles and Automobiles in Florida
In Florida, bicycles are classified as vehicles, although of course they are not motor vehicles. Cyclists are therefore required to obey all traffic laws that apply to vehicles except for those that apply to motor vehicles only. For example, bicycle riders must ride in the direction of traffic (on the right-hand side of the road) and obey all traffic signs and traffic control signals.
On city streets where bike lanes exist, they are the preferred lane of travel for bicycles, and they are often the safest place for bicycles to be, especially if traveling straight through an intersection. However, cyclists are not required by law to use bike lanes, and sometimes it is safer to ride in the regular travel lane rather than the bike lane. Examples include when making right turns or left turns at intersections, or when the bike lane is obstructed or poorly maintained. Cyclists can occupy the entire traffic lane by riding in the center of the lane, and it is illegal for a motorist to try and squeeze by them or squeeze them out of the lane.
Riding in the center of a traffic lane can make the cyclist most visible, although they can still be at risk of getting hit by aggressive or distracted drivers. The law against impeding traffic by driving too slow does not apply to bicycles, except that two bikes cannot ride abreast and impede traffic. A courteous cyclist will occupy the lane when necessary and pull to the right when safe to do so to let traffic pass.
Help After a Tampa Bicycle Accident
If you’ve been hurt as a cyclist in a collision with a motor vehicle, you can apply for no-fault benefits through the PIP policy on your insured vehicle. If you don’t have an insured vehicle, you can still get benefits through the PIP policy of someone else in your household or the driver who hit you. PIP pays for 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $2,500 or $10,000 depending on whether or not you had an emergency medical condition, provided you sought medical treatment within 14 days of the crash.
If you had a serious injury and your damages were much greater than the benefits that the PIP law provides, you might consider pursuing a fault claim against the negligent driver. You’ll have to meet the definition of serious injury provided under Florida law, and you’ll have to be able to prove the driver was negligent and caused the accident and your injury. The attorneys at Florin Gray can help you by putting together a solid case and negotiating a satisfactory settlement or litigating your case in court if necessary.
Don’t Delay, Call Florin Gray Today
If you have been hurt in a Tampa bicycle accident, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal bike crash caused by a negligent driver, the attorneys at Florin Gray can help you get justice and compensation for the harm done to you. Contact our experienced Tampa bicycle accident lawyers today.