Ft. Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyers Providing Knowledgeable Legal Assistance to Injured Riders
Bicycling can be an enjoyable and environmentally friendly way to travel that can benefit your health and pocketbook. When riding your bike in Fort Lauderdale or other Florida cities, you have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists and must obey all applicable laws. Sadly, even if you follow every rule and regulation, there’s a possibility that you may still be involved in a dangerous crash. This is particularly true if your fellow motorists are not staying alert for bicyclists and sharing the road as they should.
If you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver or pedestrian while biking, RTRLAW can advise you on your legal rights and options. We take bicycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we secure a settlement for you. Contact us today at 954-370-5152 or call toll free at 833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787) for a free no-obligation case review with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer who is ready to work for you.
What Specific Florida Laws Apply to Bicyclists?
Under Florida state law, bicycles are considered vehicles, and bikers must follow the same rules of the road as other drivers. This includes signaling before turns and obeying posted signs and stop lights. Car drivers also owe a duty of care to bicyclists and should treat them with the same respect as other vehicles. By law, cars must leave a three-foot minimum distance while passing a bicycle.
In addition, there are state laws that apply solely to bicycles. Following these rules may not guarantee that you will not be harmed in an accident while biking, but it can improve your chances of a safe ride. Riding in accordance with the law also protects your rights to a full settlement if a negligent driver injures you.
Some of the rules that Florida bicyclists should familiarize themselves with are:
- A helmet is required for cyclists under 16 years of age: The helmet must fasten and fit correctly. There are no laws regarding adult helmet use. However, helmets are strongly recommended because of their potential to prevent head injuries.
- Lights are necessary if riding at night or dusk: Riders must outfit their bicycles with a white headlight and a red rear light or reflector to make themselves visible.
- Working brakes must be installed: Your bike must be equipped with brakes that can bring you to a complete stop within 25 feet when traveling at 10 miles an hour.
- Double-ear headphones or earplugs are prohibited: You must be able to hear and react to your surroundings. Single-ear headphones are allowed.
- Bikes should not impede the flow of traffic: Bike lanes should be used when available. If a bike lane is not present, you should attempt to ride as far to the right of the roadway as possible. A maximum of two bicycles can ride side
–by –side, but if they are likely to disrupt traffic, they must ride single file.
- Local laws may allow riding on sidewalks: In many Florida cities, bicycles are permitted on sidewalks. Pay attention to local signs to know whether or not it is legal to ride on the sidewalk. Cyclists must audibly warn pedestrians before they overtake them, and they should yield to other sidewalk users.
- Fort Lauderdale residents must register their bicycles with the police: You will receive a decal that should be placed in a visible area on your bike.
What Are the Leading Causes of Bike Accidents?
While we often think of bicycle accidents as crashes involving a vehicle and a bike, the truth is that serious accidents can be caused by various circumstances, including pedestrians, other bicyclists, damaged roads, potholes, and cluttered sidewalks. However, car-involved bicycle accidents present some of the greatest dangers to riders. Bikes are supposed to be afforded the same rights as other vehicles, but many drivers do not pay attention to bikes or don’t give them the respect and space they should.
Some of the most common driver errors leading to bicycle crashes are:
- Driving while fatigued: Tiredness slows reflexes and diminishes awareness, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Distracted driving: This is one of the leading factors in all types of crashes. Focusing on anything other than driving makes drivers less likely to notice or react to changing conditions or nearby bicyclists.
- Not checking for oncoming bicyclists before opening car doors in urban areas: Riders staying to the far right of the road and bikers on the sidewalk can be severely injured by an unexpected car door blocking their path.
- Failing to notice bicyclists: Collisions can occur if drivers do not check for bikes when turning or changing lanes. Cyclists are recommended to wear bright clothing to make themselves more visible, but this still does not guarantee safety if the nearby motorists are not paying proper attention.
- Rear-ending, tailgating, or crowding: By law, cars must always keep three feet of space from bicycles. However, some drivers may become aggressive or impatient and encroach upon the rider, leading to accidents.
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Anything that impacts a driver’s ability to pilot their car safely puts everyone around them in danger. Even over-the-counter or prescription medications can pose a problem if they cause dizziness or drowsiness.
What Types of Injuries Can a Bicycle Accident Inflict?
Bicyclists do not have the benefit of seatbelts, airbags, or any safety features to protect them from the full force of striking the ground or a vehicle. Cars also may accidentally run over a bicyclist after they are down on the road, compounding the damage. Whether you’ve experienced a major accident or a seemingly minor fall, your first step should be to receive a medical evaluation to treat and catalog your injuries. This evaluation protects your health and provides crucial evidence of the damages you’ve suffered for your claim. Some of the common injuries seen in bicycle accidents are:
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord damage, possibly leading to paralysis
- Head and skull injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and deep bruising
- Damage to internal organs
- Fractured and broken bones
- Strains and sprains
Some injuries caused by bicycle accidents can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die in crashes on U.S. roads every year. Survivors may face a long road to recovery, especially if they have suffered a head injury. Brain damage can cause lifelong issues such as vision and hearing problems, difficulty speaking, seizures, mood disorders, memory issues, and more. If you or a loved one have been severely injured, contacting a trusted, experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible can be critical to your case.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Bicycle Accident Case?
A bicycle accident can cause significant disruption to your life. If you’ve been injured, you’ll have bills for hospital and doctor’s visits or two at a minimum. However, in many cases, the damage is much more extensive, and a comprehensive claim will need to cover the following:
- Medical expenses, including ER costs, surgeries, prescriptions, rehabilitation, travel expenses, and future medical care, if needed.
- Lost wages and the loss of future earnings if your accident has left you unable to work.
- Property repair and replacement.
- Reimbursement for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
- Consideration for mental anguish, scarring, and disfigurement.
- Loss of consortium if you are married or have children.
A driver’s actions sometimes go beyond simple negligence and show the hallmarks of a malicious or intentional act. For example, drivers may exhibit road rage toward
s a bicyclist they believe is impeding their progress and may go so far as to hit them or force them off the road. If your injuries are due to this type of egregious action and your case goes to trial, the judge may choose to award further damages, known as punitive damages, to punish the driver for their harmful acts.
How Can RTRLAW Help You?
The damage done by a bicycle crash can be immense and long-lasting. You may face physical, mental, and financial challenges due to your injuries. At RTRLAW, our experienced bicycle accident lawyers will fight to protect your rights and ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
If you have questions about your case, contact us today for a free no-obligation case review with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. Call 954-370-5152 in Fort Lauderdale or toll
– free at 833-HIRE-RTR to schedule your case evaluation today.