Florida has an unfortunate – and well-deserved – reputation for being one of the most dangerous places for bicyclists. More than 800 cyclists die in collisions with motor vehicles annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and 18 percent of those fatalities occurred right here in the Sunshine State. A huge part of the problem, say traffic safety experts, is a lack of bicycle-friendly roads and facilities. This brings us to another important issue: Unsafe bicycle paths.
This could refer to either a bicycle lane or a pedestrian/ bicycle path not intended for motor vehicle traffic. Although property owners – including the government – have a responsibility to maintain their site in reasonably safe condition for lawful visitors, some claims may be precluded by recreational use statutes. That’s not always going to be the case, so it’s important to at least discuss these matters with an experienced attorney. Most of these types of claims will center on a theory of premises liability. That could mean any individual or entity involved with the bike trail’s design, construction and maintenance could be named a defendant. The duty of care owed by landowners, trail management agencies, non-profit groups and local municipalities is worth investigating.
However, there are a number of possible defenses. Continue reading →