Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorney
Every year, Florida ranks first or second among the states for experiencing the most bicycle accidents in the country. Florida has more bicycle wrecks than California and more than double the number in Texas and every other state. Florida has the highest number of bicycle crashes as well as the highest fatality rate per capita, more than double the national rate.
Bicycle riders in Tampa are worse off than in most other places in the state. According to the most recent statistics, the latest three-year average shows 502 crashes annually in Hillsborough County, ranking us the fourth-worst county in Florida for bicycle accidents. These crashes caused 475 injuries and 12 fatalities. In other words, injury or death occurred in a staggering 97% of collisions between automobile and bike.
Tampa residents and visitors love to bike for exercise, recreation or commuting, but there is no denying the risks involved. Even skilled, cautious and experienced riders are at the mercy of negligent, speeding, drunk or distracted drivers, any of whom can fail to see a bicycle until it’s too late to avoid a crash, or who drive aggressively and recklessly around bicycles out of a lack of respect or failing to appreciate the danger they pose. Contact our experienced Tampa bicycle accident attorney for more information or assistance.
What Are the Leading Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tampa
Bicycle accident injuries can range from facial cuts and bruises, scrapes and sprains to catastrophic injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injury. Cyclists can get knocked down, run over or crash into a vehicle and flip over. Some of the most common ways cyclists get hurt by a car include:
- Getting knocked from behind
- Being swerved into from the side
- The car pulls out into traffic into the cyclist’s path from a parking lot, driveway, alleyway or side street
- The car makes a left turn into the path of an oncoming bike
- A driver makes a right turn and cuts off or strikes the cyclist
- The cyclist is brushed by the car or forced off the road or into traffic
- A parked driver opens the car door into the path of an oncoming bike (known in the cycling community as getting “doored”)
What Are the Laws for Bicycle Riders in Tampa?
Although they aren’t motor vehicles, bicycles are vehicles for the purpose of Florida traffic law, and bicycle riders are expected to obey all of the rules of the road and traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles unless the law simply would not be applicable to bicycles. So, it’s illegal (and unsafe) for a cyclist to coast past a stop sign or disobey traffic signals. Cyclists have to signal their intent to turn or change lanes before doing so. When cyclists ride on the road or in a bike lane, they should ride in the direction of traffic (i.e., going in the same direction as the cars). Bicyclists should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, and pedestrians should yield the right-of-way to bicycles if crossing in the middle of the street.
In addition to being bound by these general rules of the road, Florida also has laws that apply to bicycles and bicycle riders specifically. These include:
- Utilizing a white headlamp if riding at night
- Having the bike equipped with red reflectors on the rear
- Riding in bike lanes where provided
- Riding as far to the right as practicable if there is no bike lane, except when turning left, passing, or when it wouldn’t be safe because of a road hazard, pedestrian or obstruction
Florida also has a “three feet for safety” law that requires drivers to keep a safe distance when passing a bicycle. The required safe distance must be at least three feet, although it might be more than that in certain situations.
How Can Moore Law Help Me After a Tampa Bicycle Accident?
An injured rider can look first to his or her no-fault insurance policy for coverage of medical expenses and income lost due to the accident. No-fault benefits, also known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP, cover 80% of reasonable and necessary medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, up to a total of either $2,500 or $10,000 on a basic policy, depending on whether and when the victim sought treatment for an emergency medical condition. Riders can use their own PIP coverage if they have it or access no-fault benefits through another family member who has coverage or even from the driver who hit them.
Under Florida law, the the victim can also step beyond the no-fault system and sue the driver for negligence. If successful, the victim can recover the full amount of medical expenses and lost wages. Moreover, if the injuries are “serious”, which is often the case with bicycle claims, the injured cyclist can seek compensation for pain and suffering, loss in quality of life, scarring and disfigurement, and other harm.
Regardless of whether the biker was following safety laws or the driver was breaking them, an injured cyclist will still be in the position of a “plaintiff” in any bicycle accident case. This means the biker has the burden of proving the other driver negligently caused the accident, caused the cyclist’s injuries, and the amount of damages incurred. The insurance companies, meanwhile, will deny their driver was responsible and try to paint the bicycle rider as negligent, either to lessen the amount they have to pay or avoid liability altogether. At Moore Law, you’ll find a seasoned personal injury lawyer with experience representing plaintiffs in bicycle accident cases. Attorney Eric Moore knows how to gather the facts and build a case that proves the at-fault driver’s liability and puts you in a position to secure a full and fair amount of compensation for your injuries. We know the toll a bicycle accident can take on your body and your life, so we take an aggressive approach and try to get the most compensation available.
Call Moore Law for Immediate Help After a Tampa Bicycle Accident
If you or a member of your family has been hurt in a bicycle accident in Tampa, call Moore Law at 813-510-5400 for a free case analysis. We’ll work closely with you and help ensure you get the care and compensation you need and deserve after being struck by a negligent or reckless driver.