Bike Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Bicycle accidents are all too common on the roads today. With improvements in technology, today’s bicycles are faster than ever. Unfortunately, even with new technology, today’s more frenzied drivers continue to drive distracted and oftentimes fail to see bicyclists before it’s too late.
With some of the best weather in the U.S., Fort Lauderdale attracts both casual and serious bicyclists, making the roads ripe for accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , in 2018 there were 857 bicyclists involved in fatal traffic accidents in the United States. Florida, in particular, is prone to some of the highest traffic-related bicycle deaths, ranking first in the United States for fatal bicycle accidents.
Not all bicycle accidents result in death. Oftentimes, an accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle can cause severe injuries to the bicyclist, leading to expensive medical bills, time away from work, and pain and suffering. If you were in a bicycle accident, a bike accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help. Bicycle injury attorneys such as those at Schlacter Law have the necessary experience to help ensure you get the best compensation possible for your injuries.
Causes of Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
Bike accidents often happen due to the failure of a motor vehicle driver to yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist. Bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers, with Florida Statutes, §316.2065(1), stating that “every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.”
Unfortunately, with our roads becoming more and more congested, it has become more difficult for bicycles and motor vehicles to share the road. The NHTSA  has found that 75% of bicycle fatalities occurred in urban areas, which typically have more traffic than rural areas. 27% of cycling accidents occurred in intersections, and an additional 10% of accidents occurred on roadsides, parking lanes, traffic shoulders, sidewalks, and other areas where bicycles and cars must share the road. This represents a large portion of bicycle accident claims.
Additionally, alcohol plays a large role in bicycle accidents, with 37% of bike accident fatalities occurring with either the vehicle driver or the bicycle rider having a blood alcohol count of .01 or higher. Almost 20% of fatal bike accidents occurred when a bike rider had a blood alcohol count of .08 or higher.
The type of vehicle and the impact that caused the accident plays a critical role in bike accidents as well. 73% of bicyclists were killed in a single-vehicle crash, and 82% of fatal bike crashes involved accidents where a bicyclist collided with the front end of a vehicle. Light trucks were involved in 44% of bike deaths, and in 88% of light truck crashes, the bike accident occurred with a crash to the front of the vehicle. Surprisingly, larger trucks and buses accounted for a smaller number of head-on collisions than expected, with truck and bus side impacts causing the most cycling accidents .
With an ever-increasing number of bicycle accidents, comes an ever-increasing number of injuries. When a bike collides with a car, the car rarely sustains significant damage. However, bicyclists will typically bear the brunt of the force, resulting in broken bones, lacerations, and sometimes severe injuries including paralysis. If you were on a bicycle and were involved in a traffic accident, a bike accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help. Bike crash attorneys have the know-how to identify the long-term effects of a bicycle accident, and the experience to know how to proceed in seeking compensation for your injuries. Call the bicycle accident law firm, Schlacter Law, today.
How to Prevent Bike Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has several pointers on how to help reduce your chances of being injured in a bicycle accident. These include:
- Wearing a safety helmet
- Avoiding high-risk situations
- Being prepared
- Riding defensively
- Riding predictably
- Improving your bicycle skills
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute  found that over 90% of bicycle fatalities occurred where the bicyclist failed to wear a helmet. Wearing a safety helmet is the best defense for avoiding severe injuries. Therefore, it is no surprise that helmets are required under Florida law for certain riders.
Florida Statutes, §316.2065(a), states that “a bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.” Regardless of the rider’s age, wearing a safety helmet increases the likelihood of surviving a bicycle accident, and riders of all ages should opt to wear one.
Fatal bike accidents occurred most often between six and nine in the evening. Visibility during dusk hours is limited and makes it more difficult for automobile drivers to see someone on a bicycle. Avoiding riding during these hours will decrease the likelihood of an accident. If you must ride during these hours, be sure to use reflectors and/or lights to ensure that anyone on the road can see you.
Being prepared for a ride includes ensuring that you have the proper equipment and that the equipment is appropriate for each rider. To avoid a bike accident, this might include ensuring that a bicycle is neither too large nor too small for the rider and that the bike has been properly maintained. Additional safety equipment could include long pants and shirts that protect the skin in the event of a fall and ensuring that there is only one rider per seat.
Riding defensively can also help avoid a bike accident. Defensive driving includes obeying all traffic signals and signs and following the proper flow of traffic. Distractions such as music players and cell phones should be avoided, and always ride under the assumption that automobile drivers can’t see you. If you anticipate that you can’t be seen, you’re less likely to take risks.
Predictable riding might include using hand signals to let other drivers know what you are about to do. Stopping at appropriate signals and obeying all traffic laws helps other drivers anticipate your next move, and could be the difference between a safe trip and a bike accident.
Lastly, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute recommends improving the skills you already have to help avoid a bicycle accident. If you lack experience riding on public roads, start first in an environment where you can avoid traffic altogether. Once you feel confident, slowly proceed onto public roads where you will share the road with motor vehicles. Additionally, schools, bike shops, and recreational departments may provide classes to help you improve your overall bicycling skills. To help avoid a bicycle accident, be sure to take a course in Fort Lauderdale to help build your overall confidence on two wheels.
Bike accidents can often be a life-changing event. From medical bills to life-long pain, bike accidents are rarely easy. A competent bike accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help. If you were hit while on a bike, a bicycle injury lawyer can assist in getting the compensation necessary to make you whole again.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a bicyclist was partially to blame for an accident they might still be able to receive compensation for any injuries. The doctrine of comparative negligence would apply and would reduce the compensation by the percent that the bike rider was to blame. Talk with a bike wreck lawyer today for a consultation to see how much compensation might still be available.
Florida has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time available for a claimant to file a lawsuit. The time limit in negligence personal injury negligence lawsuits is typically four years for negligence actions. Failure to file a lawsuit within this time period could result in losing any possible compensation. Talk with a bike crash lawyer today to discuss how much time is left to file a lawsuit.
A cycling accident lawyer can help negotiate a settlement to ensure that any payout is sufficient to cover both short-term and long-term costs associated with the accident or file a lawsuit if necessary. Before accepting a settlement agreement, be sure to consult a Fort Lauderdale attorney. Schlacter Law is here to help.