Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Florida’s new texting-and-driving law, in effect July 1st, broadens the circumstances under which police can initiate a traffic stop for texting drivers and increases the penalty for a violation.Broward bicycle accident attorney

If it’s well-enforced, it may also help in the goal of reducing Florida bicycle accident and pedestrian accident fatalities, which our Broward wrongful death attorneys have long known to be a serious problem.

Why Is Distracted Driving Such a Big Problem These Days?

The driving factor in the uptick of distracted motorist deaths is undeniably: Cellphones. The lure of constant connectivity has proven quite powerful, and many are still under the mistaken assumption people have the ability to multi-task (they don’t, not with high-level functions like reading, writing and driving).

Technically though, distraction can be anything that takes a driver’s full attention from the road. Examples include:

  • Turning to scold a child in the backseat
  • Personal grooming
  • Eating/drinking
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Having an unsecured pet in the car
  • Adjusting music or other in-stereo dials

Still, Florida lawmakers shied away from expressly naming any of these in the new statute. As our Broward injury lawyers can explain, individuals who engage in these behaviors may or may not be cited for a traffic infraction if they cause a crash. From a civil case standpoint though, any of these could represent a breach of a driver’s duty of care, the foundation for establishing negligence compelling compensation.

The biggest change that will come from Florida’s new distracted driving law will be to bump it from a secondary to a primary offense. That means an officer’s observation or reasonable suspicion that a driver is texting behind the wheel will be cause  enough in its own right to prompt a traffic stop. Previously, police had to have another reason to initiate a traffic stop before they could also issue a citation for texting/driving.

Fines under the new law will still be $30 for a first-time offense, $60 for a second offense, etc. Additional fines are added when offenses take place in certain areas, like school zones.

Cyclists Face Out-Sized Injury Risk From Distracted Drivers

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Numerous studies have established that bicyclists who wear a helmet are less likely to suffer serious head trauma. However, this is in comparison to those who wear no helmets. Truth is, you can sustain a traumatic brain injury if you’re involved in a crash while wearing one. bicycle accident lawyer

Recently, a group of four bicyclists traveling together in Port St. Richey were seriously injured when the wheelchair lift gate of a mobile PET scan vehicle somehow became dislodged and struck the riders one-by-one, FOX 13 News. Two of the bicyclists had to undergo emergency surgery.

Although the particular circumstances of this bicycle accident are somewhat unusual, trucks pose a serious threat to bicyclists, and so do cars, vans and sport utility vehicles. In many of these instances, especially if the vehicle is traveling fast, a helmet may help reduce the risk of serious injury, but it doesn’t eliminate it. Even the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute notes there is “no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet.” Roughly three-fourths of all fatal bicycle accidents involve a head injury. Although very few bicyclists who wear helmets die in crashes, nearly 15 percent of those who suffer serious injury were wearing one. Continue reading

A number of recent reports of injury caused by bicycle defects have led manufacturers and distributors to recall their products, alerting consumers to possible hazards. bicycle

For example, in January, bike manufacturer Trek recalled approximately 800 bicycles and 300 wheels (not including another 160 bikes and 40 wheels sold in Canada) for issues with the front brake caliper. For those who may be unfamiliar, a caliper is the component of the bike that allows for a single pivot side-pull, allowing the bike to reduce speed or stop. In Trek’s case, the front brake caliper can come in contact with a broken spoke, which puts the rider at risk of falling.

More recently, Advanced Sport International recalled 650 bicycles for an issue with the rear wheel freehub, which can reportedly slip while the rider is pedaling, putting the cyclist at risk for falling. A hub is the body at the center of the bike wheel, where the axle is located. A freehub is a kind of bicycle hub that incorporates a ratcheting mechanism.  Continue reading

A cyclist injured upon encountering a defective sidewalk has been awarded $4.85 million to settle a personal injury lawsuit against the settle with the city of San Diego.sidewalk and shadow

According to Bicycling.com, the bicycle accident occurred in 2014, when he struck an uneven sidewalk, resulting in a “ramp-like effect” that launched him 28 feet over the handlebars of his bicycle.

Apparently, a tree root had grown up through the concrete, raised it seven inches and cracked it, a condition the city was reportedly aware of the condition and failed to address it.

This is reportedly not the first time the city has paid out damages for bicycle accident injuries, though it is the largest amount the city has paid for this type of incident. Just last year, council members for the city agreed to pay $235,000 to a woman who was seriously injured after hitting a pothole while cycling in 2014. She was thrown from the bicycle, and suffered injuries to her head, pelvis and lower back, according to the San Diego Tribune.

That was one of several pothole-related lawsuits filed against the city in the last few years, each alleging city officials were aware of the dangerous condition, yet failed to address it. Continue reading

There several dozen valet services in downtown Fort Lauderdale that offer assistance to motorists who need help parking their vehicles in the crowded urban streetscape. Often, these vehicles are parked off-site of where they are dropped off. The valet driver must drive the car to the off-site location and then return them. carandbike

For the most part, these workers are diligent in doing their job safely. However, there have been some cases reported where the drivers are careless with property or in abiding basic traffic laws.

One such case was recently chronicled before a trial court in Seattle, where a bicyclist was awarded $38 million by a jury in a claim against a valet company whose drivers routinely took illegal shortcuts in dropping off and picking up vehicles. Continue reading

Just a handful of months ago, a 5-year-old boy on a bicycle in Boise, ID was seriously injured when he was struck and dragged by a minivan as he crossed at an intersection. The boy was wearing a helmet, but his injuries were life-threatening. testing

That prompted the Idaho Department of Transportation to take decisive action on the issue of bicycle safety in that state. Now, new drivers are going to have to educate themselves on proper interactions with bicyclists as they navigate roads throughout the state. Driver’s education curriculum will be updated to meet the criteria that will ask new motorists on license exams about things like right of way, minimum distance and blind spots.

While bicycle-related questions were always within the pool of possible queries motorists could be asked, it wasn’t a given and a fair number of tests lacked any bicycle safety questions at all. Then this little boy was nearly killed.  Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court recently took on the issue of collateral source evidence in Joerg v. State Farm, a case stemming from a serious bicycle accident injury. bicyclenight

The collateral source rule, also sometimes referred to as the collateral source doctrine, prohibits the admission of evidence that a plaintiff or victim has received compensation from some source other than defendant. The idea is a defendant shouldn’t have to pay less for a tortious act just because a plaintiff had health insurance or collected workers’ compensation.

Still, since 1984, the court had allowed a limited admission of evidence regarding certain kinds of free or low-cost future collateral source benefits. But that has now changed. In the Joerg case, the court ruled all defendants are barred from introducing evidence of collateral source benefits plaintiffs may receive in the future. These include Medicare and Medicaid. Given that almost all Americans will at least collect on Medicare at some point in their lives, the decision has widespread implications in personal injury law. Continue reading

The good news is that for what seems like the first time in a long time, Florida has a relatively low rating when it comes to poor driving: 32 out of 51 (with D.C. included), according to a recent study by CarInsuranceComparison.com. In fact, it doesn’t even rank in the top 10 when study authors ranked factors such as:

  • Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled;
  • Percentage of fatal crashes involving failure to obey traffic laws;
  • Drunk driving;
  • Speeding;
  • Careless driving resulting in fatal crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists per 100,000 residents.traffic6

Interestingly, Montana was deemed to have the worst drivers in the country. That was followed by South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota Delaware and Mississippi.

However, Florida did come out No. 1 in one category: Careless Driving. Continue reading

Bicycle ridership is increasingly touted as a cheap, easy, environmentally-friendly way to burn calories and get to your destination.
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There is ample evidence to suggest bicycle ridership has increased in Florida and nationally over the last several years. This is good for our air quality and overall health.

But there are some downsides to it as well, most notably being the dramatic rise in the number of bicyclist injuries and deaths.

Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study analyzing the number of bicycle trauma injuries and hospital admissions in the U.S. between 1998 and 2013. Doctors reported that the number of hospital admissions due to bicycle injuries during this time nearly doubled during this time.
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Bicycling in Florida can be great. There are many miles of flat, picturesque terrain and weather that is generally conducive year-round to good riding (though you may opt for an early morning or evening jaunt at the peak of summer).
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But bicycling in Florida is also very dangerous.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 19 percent increase in pedalcyclist fatalities since 2010, with Florida having by far the highest percentage of bicycle deaths. We had 6.80 bicycle deaths per million, and a total of 133 for the year in 2013. That was far in excess of any other state – even those with much higher populations.

We also know that an increasing number of riders are over the age of 65, with many even over the age of 70. A report last year by peopleforbikes.org found that between 1995 and 2009, there was a 320 percent increase in bicycling rates for those between the ages of 60 and 79.
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