Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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Most serious Florida bicycle accidents occur on public roads, and the majority of the time, defendants in the cases are careless drivers. However, Florida has an avid – and growing – cycling community that enjoys off-road biking. The question of whether the property owner of these trails (in most cases, the city, county or state government) can be liable for an injury resulting from a bicycle accident on them will depend on a number of factors. 

These cases are often predicated on the legal theory of premises liability. Specifically, plaintiffs will need to show the government/ property owner owed some duty of care to those who were invited on site and that this duty was breached by the creation of or failure to address a dangerous condition on the property.

For instance earlier this year, a federal judge ruled the government was responsible for serious injuries sustained after a bicycle accident on an Air Force Academy trail. Part of the trail appeared to look simply shaded, but in fact, it was missing entirely. Plaintiff was flung off his bicycle and onto an asphalt path, where he sustained a traumatic brain injury, vision loss, damage to his endocrine system and permanent scarring. His case prevailed against the federal government under the federal Premises Liability Act.  Continue reading →

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Bicycle commuting could become more commonplace in South Florida, as a Silicon Valley start-up called LimeBike is expanding into Miami, offering yet another means to rent a bicycle during the daily commute. Already home to Citi Bikes, which have become prevalent in the areas of downtown and Miami Beach, Miami is poised to become a cycling destination. Citi Bikes require users to pick up and return the bikes to an existing docking station. LimeBike, meanwhile, offers an app that allows users to look up the location of nearby bikes that aren’t being used, along with an estimated walking distance to get to that bike. Cyclists use the app to unlock the bike and take it, and then drop it off and lock it up when they’re finished. 

The company has about 400 bikes in use so far in Key Biscayne, North Bay Village and Miami Shores and is exploring further expansion, possibly into Broward County as well. The bikes cost $1 an hour (50 cents for students), and monthly memberships are $30 for 100 rides. There are currently 10,000 of the bright lime green bikes in more than a dozen cities across the U.S., opening three to four new markets weekly. They’re being promoted heavily to students, tourists and residents alike.

Still, biking in Florida is not exactly for the faint of heart. As our bicycle accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know, bicycle lanes aren’t common place (though the city’s Complete Streets initiative is hoping to change that). We also know that Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents in the country.  Continue reading →

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A bicyclist who suffered a severe injury after his bicycle struck a pothole will receive a $6.5 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles, following lawmaker approval of a claims bill. The claims bill process involving public entities in L.A. is somewhat similar to how such matters are handled here in Florida, where damage caps per F.S. 768.28 allows for up to $200,000 per claim or $300,000 per occurrence, unless legislators pass a claims bill to allow for more. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, plaintiff suffered severe and permanent brain damage when he encountered a pothole while on his bicycle. The impact tossed him from his bicycle, causing him to suffer several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

He alleged in his lawsuit that the street on which he crashed was poorly maintained, causing what was in essence a concealed trap for those on bicycles. Claimant presented evidence that he is likely to suffer some form of disability for the rest of his life. Members of city council agreed to approve the multi-million dollar settlement.  Continue reading →

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Earlier this year, the family of a 6-year-old Apopka boy received the news that is a parent’s worst nightmare: Their son had been killed. He had been riding his bike in an Orange County neighborhood one Sunday afternoon in January when a 50-year-old driver struck him. The boy had been riding in the street and then, for reasons unclear, rode out into the street. 

Bicycle accident fatalities are a major problem in Florida – and it’s not just children who are losing their lives, though they do account for about a fifth of the total. However, the average age of bicycle crash victims between 2006 and 2015 rose from 41 to 45.

Recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate there were a total of 808 bicycle deaths in 2015, accounting for 2.3 percent of all traffic deaths throughout the year. That’s an 12.3 percent increase over 2014, when there were 726 bicyclists killed, accounting for 2 percent of all traffic deaths.  Continue reading →

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A defective sidewalk was reportedly to blame for injuries suffered by a California man who encountered an uneven slab that launched him some 30 feet from his bicycle. 

Now, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, city leaders have agreed to settle his personal injury claim for nearly $5 million. That’s a substantial sum considering previous defective sidewalk claims against the city have ranged in payouts between $75,000 and $235,000. The severity of injuries the man suffered as a result of the bicycle accident no doubt played a significant part in the city’s decision to settle, rather than take their chances at trial. The last time the city gambled on a trial involving a case of poor maintenance of city property (in that case, it was a dead tree), jurors awarded the victim, who was paralyzed, a $7.6 million verdict.

City officials originally called plaintiff’s injuries “minor” and “trivial.” Apparently after more closely reviewing the evidence, they had second thoughts of that characterization. Continue reading →

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A civil trial is underway in South Florida alleging personal injury and loss of consortium in a bicycle accident in July 2014 that nearly killed a cyclist, also a husband and father. 

As The News-Press reports, plaintiff in the case said he now “feels more like a son than a husband” to his wife after the accident. He explained during testimony at trial that his relationship with his wife was substantially altered following the collision in which an elderly motorist plowed into him as he and other cyclists rode in a group on Fort Myers Beach. As the cyclist lay bleeding and unconscious on the road, the 86-year-old driver reportedly shouted, “I should have hit them harder. I should have hit all of them.”

Family members for the driver, who is now deceased, say those comments were extraordinarily out of character for him. Photographs taken in the aftermath of the crash show him standing nearby with his pants on backward. They say he was later treated for a neurological issue. He died less than two years later.  Continue reading →

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Florida bicycle accidents that result in serious injuries are often caused by collisions with motor vehicles. However, there are some bike accidents that are the result of defective bicycles. 

In those situations, depending on the circumstances, there are a number of entities that may be held responsible. Those include:

  • Designers
  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Retailers

However, in order to hold any one of these entities accountable, plaintiffs need to prove there was a defect in the bike and that this defect was the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.  Continue reading →

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The family of a 17-year-old laid him to rest last month after police say a 22-year-old driver, distracted by an electronic cigarette, struck the teen, who was riding his bicycle in Orlando.

The driver told investigators he had fumbled with and then dropped his e-cigarette while driving on Trevarthon Road when he struck the bicyclist, knocking him off his bike. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver then said he panicked and fled the scene. At first when questioned by troopers about the damage to his car, he told them he’d run into a tree. However, authorities said he soon confessed. Witnesses would later say he was traveling at a high rate of speed.

He had valid insurance, a valid driver’s license and was apparently on his way to work at the Orlando International Airport when the incident happened. He expressed remorse to troopers, but, as one sergeant told a reporter, “It’s too late.” Continue reading →

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Florida authorities have long recognized how dangerous it is for motor vehicle drivers to get too close to those on bicycles.

That’s why in 2006, they initiated a law requiring drivers to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing them.

When it first passed, the measure was hailed as a necessary move to protect those on two wheels. However as the years have worn on, the effectiveness has been questioned.

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Not long ago, a video surfaced that quickly went viral. It depicted a motorcycle rider in Southern California plowing into a group of bicyclists along Mulholland Drive, sending the cyclists flying.

As frightening as the video is, our Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys find the notes made in the “comments” section even scarier. One wrote, “I think about doing this all the time…” Another, “You have no idea how much I love this video.” The headline referenced joy in watching the bicycle riders get “demolished.”

Also recently, a number of other videos have surfaced in which bicyclists have captured motorists in the midst of expletive-laden rants directed at the cyclist solely for having the nerve to share the road.
Continue reading →

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