Due to the ever-increasing cost of gas and a focus on being health-conscious and environmentally-aware, bicycles are becoming increasingly popular as a mode of transportation throughout Florida and on Tampa Bay’s busy roadways.
As bicycles are used more and more, there has also been an uptick in the numbers of accidents involving bicycle riders in recent years. In 2021, AAA named the state of Florida as the most dangerous state for bicyclists and the Tampa Bay area as the deadliest top metro area in the state for riding a bicycle. Cyclists in this area face many dangers when sharing the roads with cars and larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks, and their increased presence on the roads also increases the chance of injury, disfigurement or death due to a collision with a vehicle. If you have been a victim of an accident while riding a bicycle, call Future Firm Law for a free consultation and case review.
Accidents involving bicycles can occur for various reasons and can happen anywhere at any time—on a busy road or a seemingly deserted one. When a bicycle is in a collision with a motor vehicle, various factors such as weather conditions or a negligent driver can be at fault. If a driver is at fault, their negligence can have horrific consequences for a bicyclist.
Drivers may be fixing make-up, combing hair, adjusting the radio, texting, eating or doing something else. This causes them to not see a bicyclist and crash into them.
When roadways are improperly maintained, and have debris such as litter and unattended vegetative overgrowth or potholes, these may cause a bicycle accident. Whichever governmental entity that is responsible for maintaining a safe roadway is usually the negligent party in this case.
According to Florida law, when vehicle drivers pass bicyclists going the same direction as they are, the drivers are required to give cyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance between their vehicle and the bike. Sometimes, on narrow roads, drivers fail to leave the proper amount of space between their vehicle and a bicycle, and end up colliding with the cyclist.
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No matter how much protective gear a bicyclist wears, they are no match for a collision with a vehicle, and can suffer severe injuries. It is estimated that every year, at least 515,000 emergency room visits are precipitated by bicycle accidents. The most common injuries suffered by bicyclists in accidents are:
HEAD TRAUMA – Head injuries that occur during a bicycle accident can be severe and even life-threatening. If you are over the age of 16 in the state of Florida, you are not required to wear a bicycle helmet, but if you violently crash into a vehicle, you may suffer serious head injuries even if you are wearing a helmet.
NECK INJURIES – Neck injuries such as whiplash are common when the head snaps back and forth in a sudden crash.
BONE FRACTURES – The arm and the wrist are most commonly broken bones in a bicycle crash since the natural instinct is to put your hand down to try and brace yourself during a fall. A wrist fracture during an accident like this typically involves the radius and the ulna—both of which can be extremely painful. Many times, surgery is required to repair a fracture such as this, and rehabilitation afterwards will be needed.
SPINAL CORD INJURIES – These are some of the most catastrophic results of a bicycle versus vehicle incident. Broken backs and damaged discs in the spine can cause disastrous injuries and possibly even paralysis.
OTHER TYPES OF INJURIES – This category includes injuries such as broken legs, broken facial bones, loss of teeth and abrasions and cuts.
At least 84% of the bicyclists involved in a collision with a vehicle suffer some type of injury. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or has lost their life as a result of a bicycle accident that was caused by a driver’s negligence or irresponsible actions, it is possible that you will be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Our Future Firm Law bicycle accident attorneys understand that bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area are extremely vulnerable to the risk of a collision with a vehicle on our dangerous roads.
The fact is that while there are a variety of reasons that a vehicle driver may collide with a bicyclist, including the layout of the road and weather conditions, the majority of bicycle accidents are the result of the actions of a distracted or negligent motorist.
After a bicycle accident, you may find yourself unable to work and are having to spend money on medical care. Future Firm Law’s experienced team members can offer supportive guidance and will work to protect your rights and obtain for you the compensation to which you are entitled.