Increased Accident Rate in Florida
Florida had the highest bicycle fatality rate in 2008 with 125, more than twice the number of the next nearest state, Arkansas, with 53. Florida is a highly urban state with warm weather most of the year, so more bicyclists are apt to be on the road over the course of the year than in many other states.
Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorney
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that in 2016, 126 people were killed in motor vehicle vs. bicycle accidents. More than 6,000 bicyclists were reported injured in this same time frame. The most common type of Tampa bicycle accidents we see are motorists causing collisions with bicycles to include the following:
- Failure to yield when turning left at an intersection
- Cutting off a bicyclist when turning right
- Rolling stop or proceeding from a stop sign without looking
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Pulling out or backing out from a parking lot, side street or driveway
- Clipping or bumping people in crosswalks
- Sideswiping or rear-ending bicycles on the street
- Drifting into a bicyclist, walker or jogger on the shoulder of a road
Also, see our Bicycle Accident FAQ’s
Bicycle Safety in Florida
To help promote bicycle safety, your Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorneys remind riders that it is important to be aware of other statutory provisions set out in Section 316.2065, Florida Statutes:
- When operated on a roadway, a bike is considered a “vehicle” and the cyclist is the “operator” of a vehicle. The cyclist must follow the same traffic rules as the operator of a vehicle as well as those rules applicable to a cyclist. However, when on a sidewalk, a cyclist is considered a “pedestrian” and must follow the same rules as that of a pedestrian as well as those rules applicable to a cyclist.
- Cyclists under the 16 years of age must wear a helmet. Fastened. Yes, it is a battle, but make your teens and ‘tweens wear them. In fact, should a child be injured in a cycling accident, Section 316.2065(19) provides that the failure of a parent to allow a child to ride without a helmet may be considered evidence of the negligence or contributory negligence of that parent.
- When a roadway has a marked bike lane, cyclists must use it. If there is no marked bike lane, then the cyclist must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb. Or if on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes, ride as close to the left-hand edge as possible.
- If riding between sunset and sunrise: cyclists must use a front light showing a white light which can be seen from at least 500 feet; and on the rear, a reflector showing a red light visible from at least 600 feet.
- On a roadway, a cyclist must ride with traffic. Statistics show that riding the wrong way into oncoming traffic accounts for 15% of bike-vehicle collisions. It has to do with a vehicle driver not expecting traffic. Whether bike or vehicle, approaching from the wrong direction.
- However, when on a sidewalk, since a cyclist is considered a “pedestrian,” the cyclist can ride in either direction.
- When riding on a sidewalk, cyclists must obey pedestrian intersection crossing signals. So yes, you need to wait for the crossing light to change to green.
- Cyclists cannot use earbuds, headphones or other listening devices, other than a hearing aid. Although not specified in the statutes, it could be argued that this includes a prohibition against the use of cell phones.
- Cyclists cannot ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, just as the operator of a vehicle cannot do so. However, because a driver’s license is not required to ride a bike, the requirement to submit to a breath test does not apply to a cyclist. Further, open containers of alcoholic beverages are prohibited while riding.
- Violations of this statute are considered noncriminal traffic infractions, subject to a fine of up to $500.00.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident FAQs
Can I sue if I was hit while riding my bike in the street?
In Florida, a bike is considered a vehicle for the purposes of vehicle code. This means a cyclist can ride in the streets so long as there is no bike lane. The cyclist also has to obey all traffic laws and can be ticketed the same as a driver. If a car hits a bike, the law will look to see who was negligent, and this person will have to pay for damages.
Does a motor vehicle always have to yield to a pedestrian?
Florida law gives pedestrians the right of way in all situations where a pedestrian and a car has a right to the road. If the crosswalk light is red for the pedestrian, then the car has the right of way. However, even in those situations, a motorist has to use due caution when driving around pedestrians and might still be liable for injuries.
If I’m not wearing my bike helmet, and I get a head injury in a bike accident, can I still get compensation?
Florida law requires that anyone under 16 wear a helmet while riding their bike. However, if someone 15 or under isn’t wearing a helmet and gets hit by a car and sufferers a head injury, the law doesn’t prevent them from seeking compensation for their injuries. At trial, the insurance company can bring up the non-use of a helmet, and the jury can consider assigning some of the blame to the cyclist.
Need a Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to win your case. Contact us for a free confidential initial consultation at 813-915-1110. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.