Bicycle Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles in Florida
Florida’s highway patrol considers bicycle users to be among the state’s so-called vulnerable road users, and for good reason. The state’s rate of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles is consistently one of the highest in the country, and for fatalities, the state ranked first in terms of bicycle deaths, at double the rate of any other state in the nation. According to data from a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, there were 0.57 bicycle fatalities per 100,000 people in Florida last year. The nationwide average is 0.23 per 100,000.
If you have been injured – or your loved one hurt or killed – in a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, you will need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida who can be by your side to guide you through the process of seeking the compensation you need in order to move forward.
Florida Bicycle Safety Initiatives
In response to the dismal bicycle fatality data, Florida has launched several bicycle safety initiatives, on top of its existing efforts, including the Share the Road campaign and specialty license plates available through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. New efforts seek to address some of the vulnerabilities bicyclists face on the roadways, though only time will tell how effective these new measures may or may not be.
Common Causes of Bicycle – Motor Vehicle Accidents in Florida
There are several factors that make bicyclists especially vulnerable on the road, including:
- Low light and visibility;
- Improper passing of bicycles by motor vehicles and vice versa;
- Vehicles improperly parked in bike lane;
- Weather conditions;
- Heavy traffic levels for both motor vehicles and bicycles;
- No bike lane available;
- Drunk driving;
- Drowsy or distracted driving;
- Road rage and aggression towards bicyclists;
- Reckless driving.
Comparative Negligence Doctrine in Florida as it Applies to Bicycle Accident Victims
Bicycle accidents are sometimes the result of bicyclist failure to obey traffic laws or traveling in low light, and motorists who hit bicyclists frequently cite poor bicyclist adherence to traffic safety laws and regulations as a defense. Fortunately for bicyclist victims, however, Florida is not a contributory negligence state but instead operates under the comparative negligence doctrine.
In other words, victims are not barred from recovering compensatory damages simply because they contributed to their own injuries in some way. Rather, their damage awards may be reduced by the portion of fault they shared in causing the accident or incident that led to their injuries.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Florida Who Handles Bicycle Accident Claims
If you were injured in a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle, your bicycle accident attorney in Clermont with the Scoma Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to, even if you may have not been obeying the traffic regulations perfectly. Regardless of your compliance with the traffic laws, you have a right as a bicyclist to be safe on the roadways.