Many people use bicycles as a form of recreation, mode of transport, or for exercise. Unfortunately, cyclists get involved in accidents that cause varying injuries and even death. The cause of these accidents are equally numerous. Florida is a no-fault state meaning it doesn’t matter who caused an accident, but when it happens, the victim collects damages. This implies a cyclist will seek damages from their insurance coverage until it is exhausted.
However, when the injuries are devastating or substantial, the party responsible for the accident pays for the damages. For this to happen, you need an experienced attorney to pursue the losses you incurred on your behalf. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand personal injury law and tirelessly work to ensure you get compensated for your losses.
Bicycle Accident Causes
As earlier stated, there are many causes of bicycle accidents. Many drivers on the roads like citing that cyclists are reckless and erratic. And that is the reason for the accidents. However, many motorists are responsible for these accidents, which, if they practiced caution, they might avoid. Bicycle accidents can be put in various categories. These include accidents due to the position of the cyclist and the vehicle and accidents due to human error. Some accidents may happen due to nature, and the cyclist is unable to stop them. Some common causes of bicycle accidents in Florida are:
Vehicle Positioning in Causing Bicycle Accidents
Some common causes of these accidents are the positions of the cyclist. This is in relation to the vehicle that collides with them. Positioning usually causes some of the following accidents:
- Door Accidents – This is a common cause of accidents under the position. When a motorist opens a car door in the path of a cyclist, the bicyclist will run into it and crash. This is commonly witnessed in busy streets that have heavy traffic, and cyclists get forced to ride close to parked cars. When the vehicle owner carelessly opens the door without checking if a bicyclist is coming, they end up causing these accidents.
- Side swiping – This is another cause of bicycle accidents in Florida. Side swiping as a cause of a cyclist accident happens when a motorist denies the cyclist enough space to pass. Drivers complain that cyclists get in traffic and interfere with vehicles when they keep to the left. When a driver is overtaking a cyclist and fails to keep sufficient distance, they sideswipe them, causing an accident.
- Rear-ending – This is another common type of bicycle accident caused by inattentive drivers. When drivers follow very closely to a bicyclist, some may get distracted even for a short while and end up hitting cyclists from the back.
- Crossing – Another common cause of bike accidents is when motorists cross in front of cyclists while underestimating their speed or position. When a driver disregards an oncoming cyclist and passes on their path, they will have the cyclist crash into them. A driver must practice duty of care, and they must check to see they are not in the path of the cyclist before crossing to avoid an accident.
- Right turns – Drivers making right turns also crash into cyclists. When a driver fails to check for oncoming cyclists, they always hit on them when near. Practicing caution or mindfulness is critical in avoiding these accidents.
Reckless Driving and Riding
Driving or riding with total disregard for the safety of others or yourself is reckless. When a motorist drives recklessly on the road, they are a danger to themselves, other road users and cyclists in this case. Disregarding traffic rules is one way of being reckless. It is expected for every road user to practice caution and follow the law or traffic rules.
For instance, when the lights are red, it means one should stop and give way. Unfortunately, a vehicle driver may feel they have a chance to jump the light before other traffic gets to the intersection. Unfortunately, in most cases, other road users may get to the intersection faster than anticipated. Typically, other road users expect a motorist to obey a red light. This is the same case with a cyclist. When a cyclist sees the lights have turned greed signaling, it is safe for them to ride into the intersection, they do so believing other road users are obeying the rules as well.
Unfortunately, when another road user disregards the rules and drives into the intersection, this is reckless and ends up in an accident. These types of accidents due to recklessness at an intersection often result in catastrophic injuries to the cyclist.
Riders can also be reckless as they use their bicycles. A cyclist also must practice the duty of care and caution. A bicyclist can also be reckless by disobeying traffic lights or driving on the wrong side of the road. Other cyclists will ride in and out of lanes carelessly, which in some cases leads to accidents that can result in death.
This means that both the cyclist and a driver can be reckless on the road, and their behavior will, in most cases, result in regrettable accidents.
Road conditions are known to cause accidents not only to motorists but also to cyclists. For instance, if a rider was using the road next to a motorist then faces a pothole suddenly on the way, this can cause an accident. The motorist, while attempting not to hit the pothole, can hit the cyclist and knock them down. Where roads are not well maintained, accidents do happen to result in catastrophic outcomes.
A cyclist can also be a victim of an accident because of a hazardous road. When a cyclist is riding fast, he or she may come across an unexpected road hazard like a pothole. Upon hitting the pothole, an accident is sometimes inevitable, resulting in significant injuries to the rider and damage to the bicycle.
When injuries or damage to property incurs, the cyclist, according to the law of no-fault in Florida, will turn to their insurance provider for damages. However, when the injuries are substantial, the cyclist’s coverage may not be sufficient to cover the damages, especially medical costs.
When the injuries suffered are substantial or catastrophic, the law in Florida allows for the victim, in this case, the cyclist to seek damages from the fault party. This means, with the help of a lawyer, the cyclist can sue the agency responsible for maintaining the road for damages. A lawsuit is, however, the last result if the agency declined their claim.
Vehicles Coming at a Junction
Intersection accidents are common and often result in serious crashes. Some motorists have no respect or regard for cyclists. As a result, both the motorist and cyclist collide at the junction. Traffic lights control not all crossings. Unfortunately, both the cyclist and motorist sometimes fail to give each other the way and feel they are both right. This has often led to accidents injuring the cyclist and damaging their bicycle.
Both the cyclist and motorist must practice caution on the road and exercise a duty of care. Entering junctions is a leading cause of bicycle accidents in Florida.
When Vehicles Turn into the Cyclists Path
Again, this is another leading cause of cyclist accidents in Florida. Motorists sometimes make a turn into a cyclist’s path without stopping to check for oncoming riders. Unfortunately, when the rider is near the vehicle, they are unable to stop on time and end up crashing into the car. The injuries from this type of accident vary, with some being mild while others are severe.
When the cyclist suffers damages that their insurance coverage cannot adequately compensate, they are allowed by the law to seek damages from the motorist. However, even with this law, it is vital to establish who was at fault for the accident.
Distracted Riding and Driving
Inattentiveness on the road is another leading cause of bicycle accidents. A motorist can get distracted and fail to focus on the way and other road users. For instance, most distractions come from using the phone to make a call or text. Eating while one is driving, applying makeup, caring for children, or outside distractions are other causes of inattentive driving.
When a motorist is distracted by one thing or another, they may not notice a cyclist crossing or riding near them or even entering the road. As a result, they end up crashing into them, causing significant damage to their body and bicycle. Avoiding distractions while driving is critical in preventing accidents, even those involving cyclists.
Cyclists also get distracted and inattentive on the road. When they see something on the side of the way, they may get curious and focus on it. The use of phones either to call or text is also standard in causing distraction among cyclists. Others will even eat as they ride along busy highways. All these forms of distractions pose a risk for cyclists on the road. When a cyclist is distracted, they forget to focus on their riding and the road ahead. As a result, they crash into other road users and suffer severe damages.
Places where there are no lanes reserved for cyclists, they will share the road with other motorists. One common cause of crashes on the streets is speed. When a motorist is driving at excessive speeds, they will find it difficult to control their vehicle faced with an emergency. This means, if they suddenly come across a cyclist while they were moving at high speeds, they may not be able to stop. This will result in them crashing into the cyclist, causing catastrophic injuries to them.
Cyclists also ride at high speeds that are not necessary. When they suddenly are faced with an emergency like a pothole, a pedestrian, or a vehicle, they are unable to stop. As a result, an accident that would have been avoided by maintaining controllable speeds happens.
Most injuries attributed to high speeds are mostly catastrophic. These injuries alter the cyclist’s life forever and always require significant amounts of money in treating them. Riding at moderate speeds as well as driving often saves lives and reduces the severity of the injuries sustained.
Another cause of bicycle accidents is pedestrians. When pedestrians wander on the path of a cyclist, they can result in an accident. A cyclist may be unable to stop on time and crash on the person. Additionally, pedestrians can suddenly appear on the cyclist’s way or are distracted and walk on a collision path with the cyclist. This results in mild or moderate injuries, and in some cases, depending on the location, one can suffer catastrophic injuries.
Intoxication or Impairment
Intoxicated or impaired driving and riding is an offense in Florida. Despite the penalties, motorists and cyclists continue to use the road when impaired. Intoxication or impairment is another leading cause of bicycle accidents in Florida. When you consume alcohol or take drugs, whether prescription or others, the law states that they should not operate a vehicle or ride their bicycle.
When a person is impaired, it means they are unable to make sound decisions on the road. For instance, the caution a sober rider or driver would have before making a right turn may not be applicable to an impaired driver or cyclist.
When a motorist is intoxicated, and on the highway, he or she is likely to make bad or dangerous decisions. If a cyclist was nearby, they might not see them, or they may miscalculate their distance resulting in an accident. Impaired drivers are known to cause some of the most severe accidents that result in catastrophic injuries.
Cyclists also ride their bicycles impaired. This is dangerous because a bike requires balancing that an intoxicated rider may not have. When on the road and drunk, a cyclist can drive into a vehicle, crash onto a stationary object or enter and exit lanes carelessly. All these acts are responsible for some of the accidents cyclists get involved in.
Faulty Bicycles or Parts
Accidents can also be as a result of a faulty bike. When the bicycle left the manufacturer or distributor, it is believed to be in excellent condition to be used as intended. Unfortunately, when there is a fault in the design or part, the bicycle may not serve its purpose.
A defective bike may fail when the cyclist is using it, and it results in an accident. A faulty part, especially brakes, can also be responsible for an accident. For instance, if riding down a hill, you need to be confident the brakes work, and you can stop at any time. However, despite your careful riding, the brakes give way, and you are unable to control the bicycle or stop when you need to. This will result in you crashing onto a stationary object, a vehicle, or individually crash on the road.
The injuries and damages can be devastating to the cyclist. If one suffers injuries to the spine, they may end up partially or permanently paralyzed. This is one of the outcomes of such an accident with other potential consequences too. These types of catastrophic injuries may not get sufficiently covered by a personal insurance policy, forcing the victim to seek damages from the party responsible.
Adverse weather conditions can also be responsible for many bicycle accidents in Florida. Heavy rainfall or storms cause distractions on the road and poor visibility. As a result, the rider is unable to ride as well as they would when the weather is good.
When a cyclist rides into a storm or heavy rainfall, it is best to stop and let it pass. Unfortunately, when there is no safe place to stay, many cyclists keep riding to get to safety. As a result, they may end up getting into an accident despite their mindfulness.
Without realizing, riders also get fatigued. Fatigue may be as a result of riding for long hours, or in challenging terrain or from other things not related to cycling. Typically, fatigue, regardless of its origin, can cause accidents. When one is not well-rested and gets on a bicycle, their concentration gets divided, and they are not as mindful. Fatigue makes a cyclist miscalculate their distance or speed as well. The lack of mindfulness often results in them getting involved in accidents they would have avoided if they had rested.
Injuries Following Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists suffer more substantial injuries compared to motorists or their passengers. Irrespective of the causes of the accidents, the injuries suffered range from mild ones to devastating ones. Some of the injuries cyclists suffer following an accident include:
- Road rash – When the accident was not significant, the cyclist can suffer from surface injuries that are easy to treat. These injuries are mainly on the skin and can be very painful. However, the healing time for the injuries is short, ranging from a few days to weeks. The cost of treatment is relatively affordable, meaning personal insurance coverage can pay for the damages without involving the insurance of the other party.
- Injuries to the soft tissues – When the accident is a little more serious, the cyclist or victim may sustain injuries to the tissues. These injuries take longer to heal than those that are skin deep, but the severity of the injuries determines the healing time. The injuries are not as costly to treat, meaning the victim will turn to their insurance cover for damages.
- Broken bones or fractures – These types of injuries are common in bicycle accidents. A cyclist is not protected by anything else like a motorist is by the body of the car. When an accident occurs, the impact is directly on the body, causing significant injuries. These injuries take a longer time to heal and cost more to treat. The lost income as one recovers, among other damages is compensable by the personal insurance cover.
- Head injuries – Although cyclists wear helmets to protect their heads against injuries when crashes happen that are significantly forceful, they do suffer head injuries. In most cases, head injuries are traumatic and can cause lasting damages. Some of these head injuries alter the life of the victim forever, especially when they are significant or catastrophic. A victim may be left in a vegetative state requiring care for the rest of their lives. This is both costly to the victim and their family and also psychologically devastating.
- Spinal cord injuries – When a cyclist crashes into a vehicle, the impact can be forceful, throwing them off their bike and landing on the hard surface. As a result, the cyclist may suffer from severe injuries to their spine or back. Spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis. This means the cyclist may lose the use of somebody’s parts or get paralyzed from the torso down. The damages are costly to treat, and often personal insurance coverage is not enough to meet the costs. This prompts the victim with the help of a lawyer to seek damages from the other party responsible.
- Amputations – Because of the lack of protection for cyclists, an accident can result in the loss of a limb. When this happens, it means the cyclist may require a prosthetic part to replace the lost one. This is costly, and often personal coverage cannot cover the cost-effectively. An amputation in Florida is described as a catastrophic injury where the victim can seek damages from the party responsible for the cyclist’s accident.
As earlier stated, Florida is a no-fault state. As a result, a person injured in an accident looks at their insurance coverage to cover the damages that arise. When one is seeking damages from their coverage, it does not matter if they are responsible for the accident or not.
However, sometimes the personal coverage is not sufficient to cover for the damages. This is when the injuries sustained are significant, according to the law. If this is the case, the injured cyclist can seek damages from the other party responsible for the accident.
If the insurance provider for the other party receives a claim from the cyclist’s lawyer, they will investigate it before deciding. Once a decision is arrived at, it is then communicated to the attorney. The insurance adjuster can decline, accept, or adjust the claim. A lot of negotiations are involved until an agreement is reached.
Sometimes an agreement is not reached. In such a case, the injured cyclist is permitted by law to sue for damages. The attorney will collect all the evidence necessary and file a petition in court seeking costs.
Find a Injury Lawyer Near Me
Bicycle accidents are often devastating to the victim and their loved ones. The cost of treatment is also overwhelming, forcing them to seek compensation from the party responsible. The process of pursuing damages can become hectic, making it necessary to have an attorney to do it for you instead. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand the pain of an accident and the expenses involved. Contact us at 904-494-8242, and together we will ensure you receive compensation for your damages.