Bicycles are used in Florida to commute, for exercise, and for fun. While bicycles are a popular mode of transportation and leisure activity, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Bike crashes that involve falls are more common incidents but bicycle crashes that involve motor vehicles are especially dangerous for bicyclists. Though riding a bicycle is not an inherently risky activity, bike crashes are most common when there is a negligent driver, and bicyclists are more likely to be injured than the driver and passengers of a vehicle.
Every year, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and over 100,000 are injured in accidents, and usually up to three-quarters of these more serious accidents occur in urban areas. In recent years, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pinellas County had the highest cyclist death rate in the Tampa Bay metro area, which had the highest rate of any metro region in the U.S. Two of the most commonly cited reasons for fatal bicycle accidents are failing to yield the right away and bicyclists not being visible to a driver. The list below includes other factors and scenarios that contribute to bicycle crashes in Florida.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
- Driver Inattention – Drivers and bicyclists who are not paying attention to their surroundings are more likely to be involved in a crash. Hands-free devices, such as earphones and AirPods, may be distracting for bicyclists and in turn, lead to a dangerous situation of a bicyclist being unable to remain fully aware of his or her surroundings. Likewise, the advent of cell phones and text messaging has brought forth new distractions for motorists, who may take their eyes off the road for a second, leading to an accident with devastating outcomes.
- Failure to yield – Drivers and bicyclists must obey the laws of the road. However, this also means that drivers should yield to bicyclists at intersections, for example.
- The “right hook” accident – This accident occurs when the bicyclist is to the right of the vehicle at a traffic stop and as the bicyclist continues straight along the crosswalk, the vehicle makes a right turn, hitting the bicyclist.
- The “rear-end” bicycle accident – This accident occurs when a bicyclist is hit from behind by the front of a vehicle. These accidents are more prone to happen when a bicyclist shifts to the left lane to make a left turn.
- Wrong-way driving – While bicyclists may occasionally want to ride their bikes on the left side of the road, doing so may lead to dangerous consequences. Further, bicyclists must adhere to the same laws as drivers, including staying on the right side of the road.
- Driveways – The presence of driveways is a potential hazard for bicyclists, who may ride behind a driveway unseen by a driver who is backing out onto the street.
- Riding a bike at night – Because low visibility is a commonly cited reason for a car crash involving a bicycle, riding a bike at night comes with an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Bicyclists may opt for clothing and lights that may increase their visibility but nonetheless, crashes that occur between sunset and sunrise are often deadly.
- “Dooring” or Bicyclists riding near parked vehicles – In urban areas of South Florida, street parking is common. However, bicyclists who are sharing the road face an increased risk of an accident in streets that have frequent parking and turn-over. Drivers should also always look out for bicyclists when opening their vehicle’s door.
- Bicycle accidents involving children – Riding a bike to and from school and with friends are common reasons for children to use bikes as a way to transport themselves before being old enough to drive. Car crashes that involve a child riding a bike may cause tragic injuries and in some cases, may be fatal.
Why Choose Clayton Trial Lawyers for your bicycle accident
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