One of the scariest thoughts for any cyclist is the possibility of being struck by a vehicle.
Florida is generally bike-friendly, with plenty of great weather for being outdoors and biking for fun or for transportation.
Unfortunately, there is always a risk for accidents whether you are a driver, pedestrian, or cyclist.
Bike accidents can be devastating.
If you have been hit by someone while on a bicycle, you need a bicycle accident lawyer in Pensacola who understands your situation and can get you the compensation you deserve.
Bike Accident Statistics in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 5,034 bicycle crashes in 2020 across the state. It is no surprise that warmer states have higher numbers of bicycle accidents.
The weather is more conducive to outdoor travel. One report showed that 40% of the nation’s bicycle accidents occurred in California, Florida, and Texas. Each of these accidents is unique and deserves careful attention when it comes to asserting legal rights to compensation.
Common Types of Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can result in severe and even fatal injuries to cyclists.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles statistics state that of the total bike crashes in Florida state-wide in 2020, 160 crashes resulted in death. Those that are not fatal can still be life-changing, both mentally and physically. You should not have to suffer without compensation, which is why contacting an experienced Pensacola bike accident lawyer is important.
Common injuries from bike accidents include the following.
Bone Fracture Injuries
Collarbone and wrist injuries are common because of the way a cyclist may extend an arm to break their fall. Fractures in other parts of the body are also possible and heavily depend on the angle of impact. Legs and ribs are also targets for this kind of injury and even the spine.
Rarely does a cyclist remain upright after being hit by another vehicle. Falling onto the ground at any speed can lead to road rash injuries. These abrasions range in severity from minor scrapes to disfigurement.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Impacts to the spinal cord are one of the most tragic injuries for cyclists. These injuries are often irreversible and can result in partial or complete paralysis for life. For someone to go from an active cyclist to paralyzed is very difficult to adjust to, to say the least.
Head and Brain Injuries
Even with a helmet on, the brain is vulnerable. After contact with an object such as the ground or a vehicle, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is possible. Similar to spinal damage, these injuries can be life-changing and life-long. Concussions may have temporary symptoms but could also have long-term impacts. It is important to not disregard a headache after impact.
Injuries are dependent on a number of factors including the speed and angle of impact, size of the vehicle and cyclist, road conditions, protective gear, and more. Other injuries may include internal damage, soft tissue injuries such as bruises and lacerations, and psychological injuries. All of these injuries have the potential to affect someone’s ability to work or care for themself.
Compensation for Bicycle Accidents in Florida
If you are in a bicycle accident in Pensacola, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Let an experienced Pensacola bicycle injury lawyer help you determine what compensation you are entitled to.
Most claims will initially go through negotiations with insurance companies. If you cannot reach an agreement for fair compensation, you have the right to bring a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
It is important to note that Florida is a comparative negligence state.
This means that if you are partially responsible for the accident or your injuries, the damages you are awarded are reduced by your percentage of fault. Choosing a bike accident attorney in Pensacola who is willing to do the work to prove that you were not at fault could make a big difference in the amount you can recover in your lawsuit.
Florida Bicycle Laws
Properly following bicycle laws can make a difference when evaluating your degree of negligence and thus the compensation you receive. Florida bicyclists generally must follow the same traffic laws as other vehicles.
There are specific Florida bicycle laws which include:
- Anyone under the age of 16 must wear a bicycle helmet;
- You must be sitting on the seat when riding a bicycle (rather than standing on the pedals);
- A bike must have an additional seat to allow a passenger;
- A person riding a bicycle cannot attach themself to any moving vehicle on the roadway;
- All bicycles must have a brake or brakes that allow the bicycle to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour in ideal conditions;
- A child passenger must be in an appropriate seat;
- The child seat must secure the child from all moving parts of the bicycle;
- A child cannot be left on the bicycle unless the rider is on, near, or riding the bike;
- Two bicycles may only ride next to each other on roadways set aside for bicycle use and must not impede traffic; and
- Bicycles ridden between sunset and sunrise have to have a lamp on the front of the bike that is visible from at least 500 feet and a lamp and reflector visible on the rear that is visible from 600 feet.
Failing to follow any of these rules may result in comparative negligence, though some violations carry more weight than others.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Pensacola
Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon is a full-service law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims since 1913. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys understand what it means to truly advocate on your behalf.
From insurance negotiations to evidence gathering and litigation, we are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve.