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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Kevin Clark, now 32, who played the drummer in the popular Jack Black film “School of Rock” almost 20 years ago was struck and killed while riding his bicycle at a dangerous intersection on Wednesday, May 26. 

He was struck by a driver operating a Hyundai Sonata at about 1:20 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m. after being taken to the hospital for his injuries. 

The 20-year-old driver of the Hyundai was issued several citations, according to police reports. 

Riding a bicycle is loads of fun and a great way to get some exercise. Florida has a wonderful climate so that residents can ride pretty much year round, making cycling a passion for many Floridians. Sadly, this hobby can end in tragedy when motorists sharing the roadways fail to take care and watch out for cyclists. The number of bicycle fatalities is climbing across the U.S. In 2019, bicycle accidents increased by 6% according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In the last 10 years bicycle fatalities have grown 10% from 793 in 2010 to 1,089 in 2019 (the latest year data is available.) 

The NSC also points out that starting in June, bicycle fatalities start to rise and continue to stay high through September. For 2019, the most deaths from bicycle fatalities occurred in August – 125 and the fewest occurred in January – 63. 

If you have lost a loved one or have suffered any type of harm in a bicycle accident that was the result of another driver’s negligence, then you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for all of your suffering and related damages. 

Bicyclists are quite vulnerable on Florida’s busy roadways and intersections. When you go out for a ride, you share the road with fast moving cars, large trucks, buses, and other vehicles that can cause severe injuries and even death on impact. For the most part, bicyclists have the same right-of-way as any other motorists travelling on the roads. But despite these laws, most motorists fail to offer bikers the same courtesy as they extend to other vehicles on the road, which is why bike accidents happen so frequently. 

What Are The Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?

  • There are many reasons bike accidents can happen, but most often these dangerous accidents happen because of the following:  
  • Cars turning in front of bicyclists and crashing into them at an intersection
  • Motor vehicles turning right and striking bicyclists in the crosswalk
  • Drivers passing cyclists too closely and clipping them 
  • Drivers opening car doors while a biker is passing, also called “dooring.” 
  • Drivers failing to yield to bicyclists

What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?

  • If you are harmed in a bike accident, then we recommend taking the following steps: 
  • Call 911 right away – your health is the first and most important priority. You need to get medical care right away. 
  • Make a police report. Never let the at-fault driver talk you out of this very important step as failing to do this can lead to problems later on. 
  • You need to get information from the driver who hit you, like their driver’s license number and insurance information. 
  • If you can, snap some pictures or take some videos of the car that hit you, your injuries, your bike, and the scene of the accident. 
  • If there are any witnesses to the crash, then get their information, too. Police might miss this step, so help yourself by getting their contact information. 
  • Contact an experienced Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton at 866-608-5529 or contact us online. You should reach out to us before you make contact with the other driver’s insurance provider. 

What Can I Do to Protect Myself in a Bicycle Accident?

  • Wear a helmet that fits properly 
  • Wear reflective and bright-colored clothes 
  • Use a bike light and reflectors, or even reflective tape
  • Ride with the flow of traffic 
  • Obey all traffic laws 
  • Always use bike lanes, whenever possible 
  • Perform routine maintenance on your bike to make sure it is good working condition 
  • Make sure you are alert at all times and are not distracted 

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Last month five bikers participating in an annual 130-mile ride were killed by a box truck driver on a rural highway in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The driver struck a total of 14 cyclists after he claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, even though the cyclists were escorted by a safety vehicle equipped with flashers. Police later determined that the 45-year-old driver had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system when the accident occurred. He is now facing 12 felony charges, including DUI and reckless driving. 

This tragedy in Las Vegas has captured the attention of lawmakers and stretches beyond the state of Nevada. Activists are now working on gaining sponsors for a new bill that will change current safety legislation and tie in a “presumed liability” clause taking the burden of proof in an accident off of the bicyclist and placing it on the motorist. 

bikers-446362_1920-300x200The current argument by activists is that the law favors motorists in these cases, but defense attorneys are on the side that the blame is shared and that cyclists know the inherent risks of riding with motor vehicles present. 

It will be interesting to see what happens in Las Vegas in regards to bicycle safety laws, but you may be wondering where Florida stands on similar issues. Our Florida Bike Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to provide you with answers to any bicycle law questions you may have. You can call us anytime at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a free consultation. Below we have addressed the most commonly asked questions. 

What Are Helmet Laws for Bicyclists in Florida? 

All cyclists under the age of 16 are required by law to wear a helmet. This law pertains to cyclists, any passengers and those being towed in trailers or semi trailers that are attached to a bike. The helmet  riders, passengers, and people riding in trailers or semi trailers attached to bicycles. The helmet must meet the following requirements:

  • Be an actual bicycle helmet
  • Fit properly and have a strap to secure the helmet to the head
  • Meet the federal requirements set forth by bicycle helmet safety standards

When Do Bikers Have to Use Headlights, Tail Lights or Reflectors? 

Florida law requires riders to have a working headlight, taillight, and rear reflector if you are riding during non-daylight hours such as before sunrise or after sunset. Your headlights must be visible from at least 500 feet and your tail light and reflector must be visible from at least 600 feet. 

What Are The Rules Of The Road For Bikers? 

When you are riding on the street you are required to follow the same traffic laws as other motorists, which includes yielding to any traffic signs and signals. You are required by law to stop at stop lights and stop signs and are not permitted to travel through a red light even if there is no traffic approaching. 

The law requires you to ride in a bike lane, but if none is available then you are required to ride on the right-most side of the road.

When you are riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk the law treats you as a pedestrian, so you must abide by the same laws that apply to walkers with one exception: you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and call out before you pass them. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports show that Florida is the deadliest state in the United States for bikers. In 2018, the latest year data is available, the U.S. saw a total of 783 bicyclist deaths, and 125 of those occurred in Florida – the most deaths than any other state. Most bicycle deaths can be attributed to failure to yield right of way, bikers not being visible, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, and making an improper turn.  Continue reading

A woman who was driving without a valid license is accused of fatally hitting a 13-year-old girl Wednesday morning as the teen was riding her bike to school.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 25-year-old woman from Argentina who had been staying in the Kissimmee area.

According to deputies, the woman was driving a minivan around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday when she struck the 13-year-old student in the Poinciana/Kissimmee area.

The eighth grader was on her way to Lake Marion Creek Middle School when she was hit. The child was airlifted to Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, where she later died.

The man told deputies she has been in the U.S. on a “visitor pass” since October of 2018. She presented an Argentinian identification card to investigators.

Deputies said condensation covered approximately 80% of the woman’s windshield at the time of the crash, obstructing her view.

She has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license causing death, a third-degree felony.

If your son or daughter has been killed in a pedestrian or bike accident, this is a tragic time for your family. It is important that you do not accept an insurance company settlement as compensation for your loss without consulting our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. A sudden death in a family can take its toll not only emotionally, but also financially. Not only are family members grieving an irreparable loss, but they are also struggling to deal with medical expenses and funeral and burial costs, which can add up quickly.

The insurance company does not care about your family’s welfare or your losses. Their goal is to offer you the least amount of financial compensation possible so they can get rid of your claim quickly. During such a challenging time, you need our Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys on your side as we have successfully handled numerous fatal pedestrian accident cases.

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The Volusia County Sheriff was injured in a crash while riding a bicycle Friday morning.

Authorities said his bike was hit by a pickup truck in the 4900 block of South Peninsula Drive. It happened just before 9 a.m.

The driver of the truck, who remained at the scene, was found at fault and received a traffic citation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The man was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

He suffered a broken left hand, a possible ACL tear in his right knee and two fractured vertebrae. He also received sutures in his left knee.

The 54-year-old was elected sheriff in November 2016 and sworn in on Jan. 3. He formerly served as police chief in Daytona Beach.

Volusia County is a populated region, and a lot is happening here all the time. Bicycle accidents are pretty common here, sadly. The most common reasons bike accidents occur are due to the following:

  • Negligence of the drivers on the road.
  • Drivers operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drivers failed to stop at stop signs.

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A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking is correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The work by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also identifies the safest and most dangerous metropolitan regions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S.

Using improved travel data, the study calculated the rates of fatalities for walkers and bicyclists in 46 American regions with populations greater than one million.

The safest regions identified by the meta-analysis were:

Walking

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Bicycling

  • Portland

The most dangerous regions were:

Walking

  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa

Bicycling

  • Jacksonville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach

The study uses data from the National Household Travel Survey, which includes work, recreational, shopping, school and social trips, so it goes beyond the “journey-to-work” data collected by the U.S. Census.

Analysis of all 46 regions also provided support for the “safety in numbers” hypothesis: More pedestrian and bicyclist traffic overall is related to lower crash risk for each person walking and bicycling.

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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