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 →