Across America, bicycling as a means of transportation has greatly increased. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans biking to work has increased 60% in the last decade. In addition, more than $6 billion a year is spent on bicycles, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, with an increase of more than $1 billion year-over-year. Yet with the growing popularity of biking comes the greater likelihood of accidents, and Florida is no exception.
The GMV Law Group has the skills and knowledge needed for bicycle accident cases. Not only can these accidents leave their victims injured and upset, but can be life-altering or even life-ending. Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer is prepared and ready to fight for your rights for fair compensation through our experienced understanding of:
- Defective Bicycles
- Common Bicycle Injuries
- Older Bicycle Accident Victims
- Children and Bicycle Accidents
- Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
- Cars vs. Bicycle Accidents
- Damages in Bicycle Accidents
- Florida Bicycle Laws
Our experienced cycling accident attorneys proudly represent victims in Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Margate, West Palm Beach, Miami, and Orlando. We are passionate about protecting the rights of those injured, and we recognize that we serve victims who are harmed in Florida, a state that is consistently being named one of the most dangerous places for cyclists in the country.
Florida Bicycle Accident Danger
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 750 bicyclists are killed in accidents in the U.S. each year. These deaths make up 2% of all fatal traffic accidents in the country per year. Of those crashes, almost 70% take place in urban areas.
In Florida, 133 cyclists were killed in 2013, which is nearly 18% of the national total of fatal bicycle accidents, and which was 5.5% of the traffic deaths in the state for that year. When considering the deaths of bicyclists per 1 million population, Florida averages 6.80 compared to the national average of 2.35, making it the worst in the country.
The Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategy Safety Plan, a recent development to analyze and lessen the number of bicycle accidents in Florida, offered a sobering report. There were 532 bicyclists killed and another 22,000 seriously injured between 2007 and 2011. The top 10 counties were responsible for 62% of the fatalities and injuries from bicycle accidents in this 4-year time span. These counties were, in order:
- Palm Beach
The accidents that caused the injuries reported come from a variety of reasons. A National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors list the most common causes of bicycle accidents as:
- Cyclist fell off of bike
- Cyclist was hit by a car
- Cyclist wrecked due to poor roadway condition
- Cyclist wrecked due to rider error
- Cyclist was involved in a collision (including “dooring”)
- A dog ran out and caused cyclist to wreck
According to American Family Physicians, injuries related to a bicycle accident account for almost 580,000 visits to the emergency room, and 23,000 admissions to the hospital each year. In addition, bicycle-related injuries also account for 1.2 million physician visits. All of these combined, taxpayers spend $8 billion per year on these accidents.
Common Bicycle Injuries
Minor scrapes and being lightly shaken is the best scenario following a bicycle accident. But sadly, many bicyclists experience much worse. If the accident involves a motor vehicle, the majority of bicycle accidents result in serious injury. Wearing a helmet offers protection, but a bicyclist is still left vulnerable, lacking the metal protection of a car. When a several-ton vehicle collides with a cyclist, the rider can easily be pulled under the vehicle, or could be ejected onto the road. There is almost no protection for bicyclists facing motor vehicles, which is why American Family Physician states that the majority of injuries and fatalities caused by bicycling accidents involve an encounter with a motor vehicle.
While the most common injuries in such cases are soft-tissue injuries and/or musculoskeletal trauma, often the injuries are much more severe, such as head injuries and, in the most debilitating cases, brain trauma. Injuries like these can be fatal.
But multiple other injuries are possible, such as:
- Broken Bones
- Broken Neck
- Skull Fracture
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Back Injury
- Facial/Dental Injuries
Whatever the cause of and injuries from a bicycle accident, every incident is likely traumatic to the rider. At GMV Law Group, we take every accident seriously, seeking to understand what caused it and what difficulties victims have faced as a result of the accident.
Bicycle Accident Lawsuits
Bicycle accident lawsuits our lawyers consider generally fall into two categories:
- Negligence against a driver and/or against a road maintenance entity (i.e., a defective road design or defective maintenance)
- Product Liability against the manufacturer of a bicycle or of a vehicle
When it comes to bike accidents involving a car, it is important to know that Florida is a no-fault state concerning accidents involving motor vehicles. Each motorist’s own personal injury protection (PIP) will likely take effect first. Cyclists are not required to carry insurance, so the benefits of the driver’s PIP—up to $10,000—can usually cover a bicyclist’s injuries.
If a victim wants to move beyond the no-fault system, the cyclist will have to show that the injuries he or she suffered were more than $10,000, or that the injuries were severe, disfiguring, or disabling.
If a cyclist desires to prove negligence, the following must be shown:
- The driver or local government owed you a duty of care;
- That duty of care was broken;
- Your injuries are a direct result of that breach;
- Your injuries are significant and you can receive compensation for them.
- On the other hand, a product liability claim must show:
- The bicycle or a bicycle part was “unreasonably dangerous”
- The bicycle was being operated as the manufacturer intended
- The bicycle had not been significantly changed since it was first made or sold
Compensation can include damages such as:
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost Wages
- Medical Bills
- Emotional/Mental Suffering
- Loss of Life Enjoyment
- Loss of Consortium (your spouse)
If you have been a victim of such losses, or if you have tragically lost a loved one in a South Florida bicycle accident, the Broward County bicycle accident lawyers at GMV Law Group are ready to help. We offer free, confidential appointments where we discuss your situation and your legal rights. When it comes to personal injury cases, we work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win compensation for you.
Contact Our Offices Today!