Florida Bicyclists Have a Right to Ride Safely & Not Fear Accidents
Under Florida law, bicycles and bicyclists are treated like motor vehicles and drivers when they take to public roads. Bicyclists have a right to be wherever other Floridians are, and motorists must respect that. Even as the City of Miami, like other municipalities, creates more bicycle lanes and dedicated bicycle paths, it is up to riders and drivers to look out for each other on roadways in Miami, Miami Beach, Plantation and all of South Florida.
When a bicycle accident occurs, it is likely for the cyclist to be seriously injured. This is particularly true in bicycle accidents involving cars, trucks or motorcycles. And when a bicycle accident was not the cyclist’s fault, an injured bicyclist is entitled to compensation for his or her losses.
Our bicycle accident lawyers work with injured bicyclists in the Greater Miami area who have been hit by cars or other motor vehicles. We work aggressively to help them obtain the compensation they deserve. We treat bicycle riders as Florida law requires — as citizens who have rights and who deserve the protection of civil law when they have been injured through no fault of their own.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths of any state in the nation. Overall, bicyclists die in accidents on U.S. roads twice as often as motor vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips among all types of transportation.
Meanwhile, more and more people are riding bicycles for cost-effective transportation and healthy recreation, especially more adult men.
Bicycle accidents are so common that bicycling advocates, bicycle accident attorneys, cyclists and others have come to recognize some of the typical bicycle accident scenarios. In some cases, Florida law has addressed the cause of specific types of bicycle accident.
See if you recognize the bicycle accident you have been involved in below:
- Right Hook. This collision occurs most often when a car passes a bicycle and then makes a right turn in front of the cyclist, causing the bicyclist to crash into the vehicle. Sometimes a motor vehicle driver simply makes a right turn into a bicyclist crossing the side street because the driver did not see the bicycle. Florida law (Section 316.083, F.S.) requires that when passing another vehicle on the left, the driver must leave a “safe distance” between their vehicle and the passed vehicle. Specifically, a driver must leave at least 3 feet between their car and a bicycle. Further, a car passing another vehicle on the left is not to move back to the right until safely clear of the vehicle they have passed.
- Left Cross. This accident occurs when a motorist makes a left-hand turn into a bicyclist’s path or into a bicycle. This type of collision happens because the motorist fails to see the bicycle or misjudges its speed. A left-cross bicycle accident will not occur if a motorist yields right of way before making a left-hand turn, as motor vehicle law requires.
- Unsafe Pullout. This happens when a driver pulls out of a side street, driveway, parking lot, etc., into a bicyclist’s path, causing a collision. Sometimes a motorist will pull out directly into a bicycle or make a right or left turn and hit a bicycle rider. Quite simply, this type of bicycle accident happens because the driver does not take the time to look and see the bicyclist before pulling out. This is negligence, a failure to safely share the road with bicyclists, as the law requires.
- Sideswipe. Sometimes motorists will attempt to ride alongside a bicycle instead of allowing the bicyclists to occupy the full width of the lane, as is the bicycle rider’s right to do.The proximity is dangerous, particularly if the driver is in a large vehicle and misjudges its size, or if the vehicle drifts into the bicycle. A sideswipe collision between car and bike can easily occur and cause serious injury to the bicyclist. An impending sideswipe may force a bicyclist off the road and into a crash, as well. Motorists must allow bicyclists to use public roads and should never ride alongside bikes within a lane of traffic. They are also required to slow down for bikes and to wait until it is safe to pass them.
- Dooring. Bicyclists get “doored” when the occupant of a parked vehicle suddenly opens a door into the path of an oncoming bicycle. The cyclist who is unable to stop in time collides with the door. The problem of dooring is so common and severe that Florida law (Section 316.2005, F.S.) makes it illegal to open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic. It is also illegal to leave a car door open in the path of traffic for any longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
These and additional kinds of collisions between cars and bicycles, such as rear-end collisions, are caused by the types of negligence and recklessness typically identified in car accidents, including but not limited to:
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving
- Driving while impaired (DUI, or drunk / drugged driving)
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Speeding and aggressive driving
Bicyclists can protect themselves by being vigilant around motorists; riding as far to the left in their lanes as they can safely; by making themselves more visible, such as by wearing bright colors and using hand signals when turning, slowing or stopping; wearing helmets and other protective gear; and by obeying all traffic laws, as is their responsibility.
Regardless, bicyclists can hold negligent drivers accountable when a motorist has caused a bicycle accident. Bicycle riders can seek compensation through an at-fault driver’s liability insurance and/or other coverage when a bicycle accident has left them with medical expenses, bicycle repair /replacement costs, lost income and other losses.
Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Will Fight for You
The Miami bicycle accident lawyers of Payer & Associates represent bicycle riders and/or their families after accidents caused by negligent drivers in South Florida. We have more than 40 years of combined experience helping people like you. We have seen the types of injuries you are likely to have and understand the pain, suffering and expenses ahead of you as you recover.
Our objective is to do everything possible to make you whole financially after a bicycle accident. We aggressively negotiate settlements for faster resolution of cases, which allows clients to move on with their lives. But we are always prepared to fight for you in court if that’s necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Miami Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today at Payer & Associates
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident that was not the bicyclist’s fault, contact Payer & Associates for assistance with a legal claim. You’ll get straight-forward, no-nonsense personal assistance at no up-front cost to you. Payer & Associates always provides free initial consultations, and we don’t charge for our legal services unless we recover money for you.
You cannot count on insurance companies to do what’s right after a serious bicycle accident. You need someone on your side who is ready to fight for you. You need Payer & Associates, a Miami injury law firm that stands up for people like you. Call us now.