Articles Posted in Pedestrians/Bicyclists

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If you are a cyclist who avails of the increasing number of bicycle trails in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, you may want to keep in mind that if you are injured due to some dangerous condition thereon, you may have a more difficult time recovering damages. bicycle11

That’s for two reasons:

  1. Florida’s recreational use statute, F.S. 375.251 allows for a limitation on liability of persons who make available to the public certain areas for recreational purposes without charge.
  2. Florida’s governmental immunity law, the waivers to which are outlined in F.S. 768.28.

So private land owners who open their land for recreational biking, either on paved paths or rougher terrain, could enjoy protections under the recreational use statute, while government entities would be protected under governmental immunity laws. Continue reading →

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The case of a teen pedestrian who suffered serious injury as a result of being struck by a vehicle will be retried after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled instructions to the jury prior to the verdict were both erroneous and prejudicial. crosswalk2

The case of Samson v. Nahulu was complex for the fact that it contained a host of witness descriptions of the incident, and several of those were conflicting. That meant there were many different issues of material fact for the jury to weigh. Juror instructions are critical in any injury lawsuit, and mistakes could open the door for a successful appeal –  no matter which side prevails at trial.

Both plaintiffs and defendants have the opportunity to propose jury instructions on various issues of law as they pertain to the case, through it’s ultimately up to the judge whether to approve or reject submissions. Continue reading →

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It’s been nearly 10 years since plaintiff in Camicia v. City of Mercer Island was seriously injured in a Washington state bicycle accident that left her paralyzed. The case has been volleyed to various courts over the years on a number of issues, most recently to the Washington Supreme Court on the question of the applicability of the Recreational Use Statute. The high court remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.biketrail

Now, less than two weeks before trial was scheduled, the city agreed to settle the case for $6.95 million. Another defendant, a construction company, settled weeks before that for a confidential sum.

Bicycle accidents are a serious problem nationally, but especially so here in Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports in 2013, there were nearly 750 bicyclists killed and another 48,000 injured. Florida had the second-highest number of bicyclist fatalities that year with 133. However, the state with the most – California – had 141 – which is 6 percent higher, despite the fact that California’s population is 95 percent higher than Florida’s. Continue reading →

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Florida is the No. 1 worst place for bicyclists who prize their safety. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics revealing the bicycle death rate in this state is 0.57 deaths per 100,000 people – the highest of anywhere in the nation. In fact, the state with the second-highest rate, Delaware, clocked in at 0.38 deaths per 100,000 people.bicyclists3

There are a number of issues, including the fact that we have an abundance of tourists, who are unfamiliar with the area and driving patterns. Distracted driving is a major problem, and we have cyclists year-round, so there are bound to be more crashes.

News-Press Reporter Janine Zeitlin noted all of this a few years ago, and quit riding her bicycle on public roads because of the risks. But then, as the number of bicycle-versus-car accidents continued to mount, as did severe injuries and deaths and light penalties for drivers, she began to aggressively report on the issue. According to a new article by the Columbia Journalism Review, with backing from her editors, Zeitlin not only delved into a long-term, in-depth progress on the issue, she helped set up a “Share the Road” page on the newspaper’s website, a community page on Facebook and engaged with bicycle safety advocacy groups across the region to raise awareness of the problem. Continue reading →

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A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reveals bicycling injuries in the U.S. have risen astronomically in the last 15 years.bicycle

Sifting through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data, researchers wanted to find out more about trends in adult cycling injuries and related hospital admissions.

What they discovered was that in 2012-2013, there were 15,427 hospital admissions for bicycle injuries. That was a significant uptick than what was reported in 1998-1999, when there were 8,791 hospital admissions. Another revelation was that the age of cyclists has shifted dramatically. While the majority of victims used to be primarily children, we now see that figure has dropped dramatically. This is good. But the number of over-45 cyclists who suffer serious injury and death sharply rose. Continue reading →

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While a woman has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence following an incident in which her vehicle struck and killed a physician bicyclist, the victim’s husband has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver.bicycleocean

Although the cases are proceeding in different courts – one criminal, one civil – they are overlapping in ways that make the case rather complex.

Florida has the highest incidence of bicycle injuries and fatalities. Although this accident occurred in Vermont, there are elements of law that are applicable to bicycle accident cases in Florida. Continue reading →

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When large trucks and bicycles collide, the potential for serious injury is very high. One of the reasons is because an individual who is on a bicycle or on foot can get thrown underneath the truck and be run over by the back wheels.bicyclist8

With an increasing number of truck vs. bicyclist and truck vs. pedestrian injuries occurring, particularly in urban areas, both municipalities and private trucking companies are taking a simple action that could help reduce the severity of these incidents. They are installing side guards on large trucks.

These metal panels run between the two sets of wheels on larger trucks, and prevent a person who is hit by a truck from falling underneath the vehicle and into the path of the rear wheels. It may not reduce the number of accidents, but it helps to decrease the chances the bicyclist or pedestrian will be killed or suffer catastrophic injury.

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While Florida is a beautiful place for a bicycle ride, it hasn’t been known as a safe one.
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In fact, the Sunshine State has consistently ranked as having the highest numbers and rates of bicycle fatalities annually. Unfortunately, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that’s still true.

But, there is also evidence we are making strides. The League of American Bicyclists has ranked Florida 24th out of 50 for bicycle friendliness, with an overall score of 39 out of 100 – a slight improvement from the 2014 score of 35 out of 100.
Continue reading →

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There are still plenty of reminders in the headlines that Florida is not a safe place for bicyclists.
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For example, there was the fatal bicycle crash on the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami in which a cyclist in his 20s died after being a struck by a vehicle after another driver cut off that motorist. In Palm Beach County, there was a cyclist flown to a nearby hospital in serious condition after being struck on Beach Road near U.S. 1. In Bradenton, a bicyclist was struck and killed trying to cross the street in a crosswalk when he was struck by a Jeep. And in Delray Beach, a prominent New York bank executive was killed after being struck by a vehicle as she road in the bike lane on State Road A1A in Highland Beach.

All of this backs Florida’s reputation as the No. 1 most dangerous place for bicyclists in the country. But even in light of all this, there is evidence the situation may be improving. That’s the assertion made by bicycle safety advocates writing a special feature in The News-Press.
Continue reading →

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In an effort to shield bicyclists from motorists who whiz by too fast and too close, the Florida legislature passed a law in 2006 that requires drivers to maintain three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists on the road. bicycletire.jpg

But in the years since, it’s been shown that enforcement of this law is lacking.

The News-Press reports that in 2014, there were a total of 500 tickets issued statewide for the offense. Now, that is certainly better than the average of 100 tickets that were doled out in the first few years after the act passed into law.

But consider that in the same year there were 121 bicyclists killed in Florida. Thousands more were seriously injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accidents and bicycle deaths in the country. This is something we must take more seriously.
Continue reading →