Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Attorney
Dedicated Legal Advocacy in the Fort Myers Area
Bicycling is a great way to stay in shape, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beautiful weather in Southwest Florida. Unfortunately, cyclists are at a disadvantage when it comes to collisions with motor vehicles. With no protection from a frame or door, a cyclist can be seriously injured or killed by even the slightest contact with a car.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. At The Dellutri Law Group, PA, our attorneys are dedicated to helping cyclists and their families obtain the compensation they deserve. Our Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyer is prepared to fight for your rights and your future.
What Causes Most Bicycle Accidents?
A bicycle accident refers to any collision or incident involving a bicycle and other vehicles or obstacles that results in injury, damage to property, or loss of life. Commonly, when we talk about bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles, we're referring to accidents where a car, truck, or motorcycle is involved. These accidents can occur for various reasons, some of which are more prevalent than others.
Here are some common causes of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles:
- Failure to Yield Right of Way: Motorists may not yield the right of way to cyclists when required, such as at intersections, crosswalks, or when merging onto a road.
- Distracted Driving: Drivers using mobile phones, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distractions are more likely to miss seeing cyclists and cause accidents.
- Speeding: High speeds reduce reaction time for drivers and increase the severity of accidents when they occur, making it harder to avoid cyclists.
- Unsafe Passing: Motorists may pass too closely to cyclists without providing sufficient space, putting the cyclist at risk. This is often exacerbated when drivers misjudge the speed of the cyclist.
- Dooring: Opening car doors without checking for approaching cyclists can lead to a dangerous collision, often referred to as "dooring."
- Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drug impairment can impair a driver's judgment and reaction time, leading to a higher risk of accidents.
- Aggressive Driving: Aggressive drivers who tailgate, honk, or engage in road rage with cyclists can create dangerous situations.
- Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Motorists who disregard traffic signals and signs can collide with cyclists who have the right of way.
- Inadequate Visibility: Poor weather conditions, lack of proper lighting, or vehicles with obstructed views (e.g., due to dirty windshields) can make it harder for drivers to see cyclists.
- Inexperienced Drivers: Inexperienced or novice drivers may struggle to navigate road situations involving cyclists safely.
- Failure to Check Blind Spots: Some drivers fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or making turns, potentially leading to collisions with cyclists.
- Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven road surfaces, or debris on the road can be hazardous for cyclists and lead to accidents.
- Lack of Bike Lanes and Infrastructure: In areas with inadequate bike lanes and infrastructure, cyclists are forced to share the road with motor vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Reckless Driving: Reckless behaviors such as street racing or excessive lane changing can put cyclists in danger.
Florida Bicycle Laws
Bicycle laws in Florida are designed to ensure the safety of both cyclists and other road users. These laws cover various aspects, including helmet requirements, equipment, riding on the road, and interactions with motor vehicles.
Here are some important bicycle laws in Florida:
- Riding on the Road: Bicycles are generally considered vehicles in Florida, and cyclists are expected to follow the same traffic rules as motor vehicles. Cyclists should ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable, except when passing another vehicle, preparing to turn left, or avoiding obstacles.
- Bike Lanes: When a bike lane is present, cyclists must use it if they are traveling at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic. Cyclists are not required to use a bike lane when making a left turn, passing another cyclist or vehicle, or avoiding hazardous conditions.
- Sidewalk Riding: In Florida, there is no statewide law prohibiting cyclists from riding on sidewalks. However, individual municipalities may have their own regulations, so it's essential to check local ordinances.
- Helmet Requirements: Florida law requires helmets for cyclists under the age of 16. Helmets must meet the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Lighting and Visibility: When riding at night, bicycles must be equipped with a white light on the front and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from at least 600 feet. Cyclists are encouraged to wear reflective clothing to increase their visibility.
- Hand Signals: Cyclists must use hand signals to indicate their intention to turn or stop. A left arm extended horizontally indicates a left turn, and a left arm extended downward indicates stopping or slowing. A right turn is indicated by a left arm extended upward or a right arm extended horizontally.
- Stopping at Stop Signs and Red Lights: Cyclists must obey stop signs and red traffic signals, coming to a complete stop before proceeding.
- Passing and Overtaking: When passing another vehicle or cyclist, cyclists must give an audible signal (e.g., bell or verbal warning) and leave a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle being passed.
- DUI Laws: It is illegal to operate a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI laws apply to cyclists just as they do to motor vehicle drivers.
- Yielding to Pedestrians: Cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
- Traffic Enforcement: Law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce traffic laws on cyclists, and cyclists can be issued citations for violations.
Violating any of these laws before being involved in a bicycle accident means you could be partially or completely held liable for causing the accident.
Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. This means that in a personal injury case, the court considers the percentage of fault for each party involved, including the injured person (plaintiff) and the defendant. The plaintiff's recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault, but they can still recover damages even if they were mostly at fault.
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