A bicyclist was killed in a Fourth of July weekend bicycle crash after a motorist drove onto a sidewalk on San Carlos Boulevard, according to The News-Press.
The Florida Highway Patrol was investigating the collision, which occurred shortly after 11 p.m. when a 1996 Toyota Corolla driven by a 23-year-old Fort Myers man failed to negotiate a curve. The car traveled onto the sidewalk and partially overturned. FHP reports the crash was alcohol related and charges are pending.
Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida continue to see an increasing number of these car v. bicycle accidents. As is typically the case, rather than an “accident” this incident appears to be the cause of one or more negligent decisions by an at-fault driver.
High Bicycle Accident Risks in SWFL
It’s a timely reminder of the risks Southwest Florida riders face. Cycling is a year-around activity in South Florida. Unfortunately, inadequate bicycle paths and antiquated infrastructure make riding in close proximity to traffic an often unavoidable risk for riders looking to enjoy all the area has to offer. This is the case on Fort Myers Beach, where San Carlos Boulevard motorists must always vie carefully with pedestrians, bicyclists, scooters and beachgoers. But it is equally true in many other areas of our community.
Florida leads the nation in the number of fatal riding accidents. Lee County consistently ranks among the state’s 10 deadliest for cycling accidents. The Metropolitan Planning Organization continues to report increases in fatal bicycle and pedestrian collisions across our region. In 2016, traffic collisions of all types killed more than 100 people for the first time in a decade. Last year, nearly 120 deaths were reported as a result of Lee County Traffic fatalities. Among the objectives of the MPOs safety action plan are infrastructure, education, enforcement, livability and accountability.
BikeWalkLee offers excellent resources for riders, including biking safety resources and bike maps.
Riding responsibly is critical to safety at all times while on the roads of Southwest Florida. But our bicycle accident attorneys know most riders understand the risks and do whatever is within their power to stay safe. Riders should make sure they carry uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage on their auto insurance policy. Florida is among the states with the lowest minimum insurance coverage requirements. Florida also leads the nation in both uninsured motorists and hit-and-run collisions. UM/UIM coverage could be a critical lifeline in the event of a serious riding accident.
Liability for Bicycle Injuries in Southwest Florida
The vast majority of fatal bicycle collisions are the fault of a passing motorist.
Florida Statute 316.083 requires motorists to leave at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicyclist or other non motorized vehicle. This means passing is only permitted when that 3-foot buffer can be maintained. Bicyclists are considered motor vehicles under most traffic laws. Riders are entitled to their own lane and motorists must be especially aware of riders at intersections. Most collisions between a cyclist and a motor vehicle will result in serious or fatal injuries to the rider. It’s important for motorists to remember there is no such thing as a minor accident with a pedestrian or bicyclist. Even slow-speed parking lot collisions can result in broken bones and serious head injuries.
Exercising a little extra patience can send a rider home safe to his family, and help prevent you from being responsible for causing a serious or fatal collision.