Articles Posted in bicycle accidents

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Florida has once again ranked as the deadliest state in the nation for bicycle riders.

And it’s getting deadlier. A total of 125 bicyclists were killed on Florida roads in 2017, compared to 148 deaths last year. That’s a year-over-year increase of about 20 percent, which is particularly alarming because Florida was already the nation’s deadliest state for cyclists.

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Our bicycle injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral want to remind motorists that Florida law requires drivers provide riders with at least three feet of clearance when passing. Florida Statute 316.083 governs overtaking and passing a vehicle. F.S. 316.156 requires drivers pass on the left at a safe distance (of at least 3 feet) and not drive back to the right until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects a slight decline in the final tally of traffic fatalities in 2018, even as the number of pedestrian and bicycle deaths continues to rise.

Overall traffic deaths are projected to decline by 1 percent, Forbes reported. However, pedestrian deaths were up 4 percent last year, while bicycle deaths surged 10 percent. Both were already at historic highs. Nationwide, more than 36,000 people were killed on the roads last year. pedestriansafety-225x300

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers note Southwest Florida continues to be one of the deadliest areas in the nation for bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports California, Florida and Texas annually report the highest number of pedestrian deaths. All three states join Arizona and Georgia in reporting more than 100 pedestrian deaths a year and together account for nearly half of the nation’s fatal pedestrian accidents.

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Friday was Bike to Work Day, which signals the beginning of the summer riding season.

While northern riders are just getting back out on the roads after a long winter, bicyclists in Southwest Florida enjoy year around riding weather. However, even such year-around activity does not explain why Florida remains the most dangerous state in the nation for serious and fatal bicycle accidents. bicycle-200x300

Our bicycle injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral note safety advocates have been using the entire month of May to promote cycling safety and awareness, in much the same way that May has become known as Motorcycle Safety Month for more than a decade. Both campaigns target motorists with their messages, as automobile drivers are most likely to be responsible when a collision occurs with a cyclist or motorcycle rider.

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Cycling events are kicking off in Southwest Florida as prime riding season gets underway.

We recently wrote about the risk of motorcycle accidents as Daytona Bike Week gets underway March 8. But in Southwest Florida its two-wheel riders of a different kind who will hold one of the year’s largest events. Cyclists will participate in the 21st Annual Royal Palm Challenge on March 9 & 10. Our bicycle injury lawyers in Naples and Fort Myers urge motorists to use extra caution and to respect the rights of cyclists on the road. A moment of inattention or impatience can cause a tragedy.cyclingsafety-300x225

Spring is prime season for cyclists in Southwest Florida. Moderate temperatures, cool breezes and little chance of heavy downpours make it perfect riding weather. A large number of visitors and tourists add to the mix. In most cases, a collision with a rider is the fault of the motorist, and almost always results in the rider suffering very serious or life-threatening injuries.

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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.bike accident lawyer

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 →

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The number of bicycle accident deaths is on the rise. Florida not only had the highest number of such fatalities, it reported the second-highest rate of deaths, when factoring in both population and percentage of total traffic deaths. bicyclists

This troubling news means once again, Florida is the most dangerous place for bicyclists in the country. It’s an issue about which our leaders – and drivers – must take more proactive measures if we hope to change course.

The report, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reveals there were 818 bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2015 (the latest year for which final statistics are available). This accounted for 2.3 percent of the total number of traffic deaths that year and marked a stunning 12.2 percent hike as compared to the final death toll tallied in 2014, when 729 bicyclists lost their lives. Continue reading →

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The City of San Diego has agreed to pay almost $5 million to a man injured in a bicycle accident that resulted in severe injuries when his bike was thrown nearly 30 feet after striking a sidewalk that was damaged by a tree. sidewalkcrack

The bike accident occurred three years ago, and resulted in the cyclist suffering torn spinal cord ligaments, numerous lost teeth and a possible stroke after he landed on his head.

Plaintiff filed his personal injury lawsuit in 2015. The settlement agreement is for a much higher sum than what the city normally pays for bicycle injury lawsuits or injuries resulting from damaged sidewalks. Three recent settlements in the past ranged for between $75,000 and $235,000. However, the settlement agreement is still lower than the $7.6 million that was awarded to another cyclist at trial five years ago, after a man was paralyzed when a queen palm tree fell on him during a 2010 storm. Plaintiff in that matter argued the city was negligent because it responded to the Great Recession by, in part, slashing funds for the tree maintenance and inspection program. Continue reading →

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A valet company that did nothing to stop its drivers from cutting through alleys, barreling illegally across lanes of traffic and engaging in other reckless actions will pay $38 million to the bicyclist who was seriously injured by one of its employees. bike

According to The Seattle Times, injury attorneys for the bicyclist won the multi-million dollar case for their client after he suffered a traumatic brain injury, shattered hip, broken ribs and internal injuries. To this day, he can no longer ride a bike – which he used to do every day to and from work. In fact, he can’t even walk more than a short distance without the aid of crutches. Once an employee of the city’s traffic division, he is now permanently disabled. In addition to the surgeries and medical assistance he’s already needed – which has amounted to nearly $430,000 by the middle of 2015 – plaintiff is likely to need four or five more surgeries, his attorney explained.

At trial in Washington State, where the incident occurred, defendant valet company (a company that made $129 million in profits during the first three quarters of last year) had tried to argue the cyclist was at least partially responsible for his own injuries because he didn’t act sooner to the car crossing the street. But the car, driven by a 21-year-old employee of defendant, was reportedly moving across two lanes of travel at a perpendicular angle when he struck the cyclist. Jurors sided with plaintiff.  Continue reading →

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A recent report by The Chicago Tribune lamented the fact there have been six bicyclists struck and killed by large commercial trucks in the city just this year alone. In a city that typically sees six bicycle deaths total every year, to reach that in September – with three more months of the year to go – is deeply troubling. That every single one involved a commercial truck highlights a more serious problem. bicycleincity

It’s one about which our Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyers are fully aware: Trucks pose a serious risk to cyclists. A number of different studies – from England to New York to Seattle – have found that large vehicles account for roughly a third of all bicycle fatalities, despite only accounting for about 7 percent of total traffic volume.

A 2012 study by the University of Washington explored why trucks and bicycles are often in conflict. Researchers noted that movement of freight is central to the local and regional economy, but simultaneously, bicycle travel is increasing and given priority. Bicycles have the potential to impede the flow of traffic, but the sheer size of trucks can do the same and is extremely intimidating to cyclists. One big problem in urban settings? Bicycle lane obstruction by trucks.  Continue reading →

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Recently in Georgia, a University of Athens student was struck and killed by a driver allegedly under the influence of drugs when she slammed into the 25-year-old cyclist. The graduate assistant was reportedly on a night bike ride with a group of cyclists, several of whom were injured and tossed into a nearby ditch. One of the other cyclists injured was listed in serious condition. The riders had been traveling single-file when a woman in a sport utility vehicle traveling the opposite direction reportedly crossed the center line and hit three of the riders. bicyclists3

Investigators were later told by the 31-year-old driver that she’d been looking down at her cell phone when the crash happened. Her toddler was also in the back seat of the vehicle, and police suspect the defendant was on drugs. She was arrested on charges of first-degree homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs, failure to maintain lane and improper use of a mobile phone while driving.

Although this incident happened in Georgia, it’s a familiar scenario across the south and in urban areas in particular, where bicyclists and motorists are more likely to encounter one another. Florida has historically had the most bicycle fatalities nationwide. The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that there were 139 bicycle deaths in Florida in 2013. Not only was that more than any other state, it was also one of the worst when population was factored in – 6.99 pedalcyclist fatalities per 1 million population. Wyoming was actually No. 1, but it had a total of 5 bicycle deaths the entire year (to Florida’s 139), The only other state that even came close was Arizona, with a rate of 4.31 bicyclists deaths per 1 million. Bicycle deaths in Florida account for 5.6 percent of Florida’s total traffic fatality count — also worst in the nation. Continue reading →