South Florida leads the nation in bicycle accidents. Of the more than 780 bicyclists killed nationally in a single recent year, 125 of them died on Florida roads. Where bike crashes account for 2 percent of total traffic fatalities nationally, they’re double that in Florida.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports, three-fourths of deadly bicycle accidents occur in urban areas, oftentimes in broad daylight. And while the average age of bike crash victims has slowly climbed in recent years (from 41 to 47), health officials are reporting an uptick in child bike crash injuries in 2020, attributed largely to the pandemic-fueled increase in ridership.
Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers are committed to helping those injured in these cases. Claims for damages require proof that another person or business (car driver, manufacturer of bicycle/safety equipment, city transportation officials) failed in their duty of care to keep you safe. This is called negligence.
Some of the most common negligent driver actions likely to result in bike accidents include:
- Driver failure to yield right-of-way to bicyclist
- Careless driving
- Distracted driving (such as texting and driving)
- Stop sign/red light running
In general, the statute of limitations for Florida injury claims is four years (two years for wrongful death cases). However, there are sometimes tighter notice deadlines when government agencies or employees are involved. It’s in your best interest to act quickly. In fact, what you do in the immediate aftermath of a bicycle accident may later factor in your ability to secure full and fair compensation.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bike crash in Florida, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Consider riding with the following items: Cell phone, personal ID, emergency contact and writing utensil. Most of us carry these items anyway, but they will come in handy if you’re in a collision. Even if you are rendered unconscious, your cell phone, ID and emergency contact information will allow witnesses and medical personnel to quickly reach your family and find out about your medical background before or as they are treating you.
- Call 911. You may need police, an ambulance or both. If you can’t do it, see if someone nearby can. Even if you do not leave the scene in an ambulance, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Having medical documentation of your injuries as soon as possible after the collision will be vital to any claim for damages.
- Wait for police so you can file an official report. The police documentation of the collision is essential, and may prove a critical piece of evidence in the weeks and months ahead.
- Don’t rush to move your bicycle – or fix it after the collision. Your bike should stay in the same position as it was in the crash until police arrive (unless leaving it there poses a safety risk to others, in which case, take a picture if possible). Don’t hurry to fix your bicycle either, at least until after you have spoken with an injury lawyer.
- Collect contact info from witnesses on scene. Their testimony could prove crucial later if the defendant disputes the cause of the bike crash – or your role in it.
Take photos and videos. Document the scene. Jot down notes of anything unusual. (Again, this assumes you’re in a position to do so.)
- Avoid trying to negotiate with the vehicle driver. It doesn’t matter who was at-fault (determining fault is often more complex than you think, and those involved aren’t likely in a position to do so from the scene of the crash). Just get the name of the driver, the names of passengers and the relevant insurance information. (Note that if nothing else, you as a bicyclist struck by a motor vehicle driver in Florida may be entitled to collect no-fault personal injury protection insurance from the driver [if you don’t have your own] – up to $10,000 – regardless of who was at-fault.)
- Don’t talk to an insurance company before you call a lawyer. This is important. You don’t want to make any statement that could reduce or jeopardize your claim to damages.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
More Kids Treated For Trauma Injuries From ATV’s And Bikes During Pandemic, Oct. 6, 2020, NPR.org