Bicycle Accidents

You’ve probably noticed more and more bike lanes popping up on your local streets.  And you may have even noticed these banks of bikes for rent downtown and at the beach.  What’s going on?  Well, the tides are turning and bicycling is becoming a very popular mode of transportation. Unfortunately, with more ease and popularity comes more accidents.  Even though the bike lanes are in, it doesn’t necessarily mean drivers and pedestrians know how to adjust… or even the bicyclists themselves.

Bicycle Safety

As a Florida driver, you need to be aware of bicyclists and bicycle lanes.  Whether you like it or not, just being in a car doesn’t necessarily mean you rule the road.  If you see a bike lane, be aware of it and provide the proper berth when passing a cyclist.  And, actually, same goes when there is no bike lane.  Always be aware of your surroundings and if you are coming up on a cyclist, provide room.

Now, as a Florida cyclist, whether a professional, weekend warrior, or visiting tourist, you need to be aware that just because the road is to be shared doesn’t mean everyone is going to follow that.  Also, you need to be especially aware of your surroundings and provide drivers with notice of your actions – things like turns and stops.  And remember, when you are on the road, you don’t have carte blanche to ignore traffic rules… when you are in the road, you are a vehicle, not a pedestrian.  DO NOT come up to a red light and decide it doesn’t apply to you – IT DOES!

To that end, if you are riding on the sidewalks, you are pedestrian, so be courteous to pedestrians.  Just as a car can’t (legally) run over a cyclist, a cyclist can’t (legally) run over a pedestrian.  So, use the bike lanes where available and be aware when you are riding on a sidewalk that you are sharing it and not ruling it.  Finally, if you are riding on a sidewalk and you get to an intersection, you have to follow the rules of a pedestrian – NO JAY-WALKING.  Get off of your bicycle and walk it across; intersections are a target for danger.

What to do if you are injured while riding?

First things first, get to a doctor.  Back to safety, always carry your cell-phone.  If you are able, get out of the unsafe area and call for help.  Even a seemingly minor accident can cause long-term problems, so don’t be a hero, get the ok from your doctor.

My bike is ruined, I’m hurt, and the medical bills are piling up – what can I do?

Well, here’s where a Tampa bicycle accident attorney can help.  The best practice is to see an attorney as soon as possible following the accident so evidence can be preserved.  In your initial consultation, your attorney should discuss all of the details of the accident with you and walk you through your options.  The main part of the consultation is to determine whether you have a cause of action and the relative strengths and weaknesses.  For example, who was at fault?  Did you have any portion of fault?  Where was the accident?  Have you sought medical care?  What are your injuries?  And many more questions.  The end point of the consultation is to determine your options, your potential recovery for property and injuries, and provide you with as much information as possible as to expected plans, and, perhaps even timelines, where appropriate.

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, call Carpenter Gandhi for a free consultation!