Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Cycling has become a very popular past-time in and around Fort Myers. It’s good for the environment, good for personal wellness, and just plain fun. Unfortunately, though, cycling can also be very dangerous. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports there are more than 6,660 bicycle crashes and more than 150 crash-related fatalities per year in Florida, and in Lee County alone, there are approximately 220 crashes per year.
Bicycle crash injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, broken or fractured bones, head and neck injuries, and internal injuries, can be life-threatening. Often, they cause chronic pain and trauma that can affect quality of life as well as one’s ability to work and earn a living. Accident victims and their families also encounter additional challenges, such as the need for extensive medical care and financial hardship.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a bicycle crash, you do not have to face all of these problems alone. The experienced Dennis Hernandez Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyers have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Florida and look forward to helping you hold the negligent party accountable and get the financial compensation you deserve.
Injuries and Fatalities from Bicycle Accidents
When cycling on the roads in and around Fort Myers, you are very vulnerable. Some roads have debris and other obstacles that can make you lose control of your bike and fall, and impaired, distracted and negligent motorists are a constant threat. Except for a helmet (if you wear one), you are totally unprotected if a collision occurs. If a motor vehicle crashes into you, you can be thrown from your bicycles and end up with life-threatening injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal damage, and damage to internal organs.
Bicycle crash injuries can also be fatal. More than 850 people are killed each year in bicycle crashes in the U.S., with between 160 and 170 of those fatalities occurring in Florida. In fact, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, Florida has the highest fatality rate per million residents in the U.S., with 5.96 bicycle accident fatalities per every million residents.
Throughout the country, the proportion of people killed on the nation’s roadways while not in a vehicle has increased dramatically in the past 25 years. NHTSA reports that the proportion of people killed “inside the vehicle” (occupants of passenger cars, light trucks, large trucks, buses, and other vehicles) has declined from a high of 80 percent in 1996 to 66 percent in 2019, while the proportion of people killed “outside the vehicle” (motorcyclists, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other nonoccupants) has increased from a low of 20 percent in 1996 to a high of 34 percent in 2019.
If you have lost a family member due to bicycle crash injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages and collect compensation from the negligent party with a wrongful death suit. An experienced Dennis Hernandez Fort Myers bicycle accident attorney can help you decide on your best option, given the circumstances of your case.
Florida’s Bicycle Laws
In Florida, bicycles are treated the same as cars and trucks when on the roadways. According to Florida law, cyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as people driving motor vehicles follow. That is, they must ride with the flow of traffic, stop at stop signs and red lights, yield to vehicles when entering a roadway, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and use lights from dusk to dawn.
Motorists also have a duty to share the road safely with cyclists, yielding to them when appropriate and passing only when they have a minimum of three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle. Unfortunately, many motorists ignore or forget their duty to treat bicycles on the road as vehicles and recklessly pull out in front of bicyclists, change lanes in front of them, sideswipe them and back up into them.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Fort Myers?
Government agencies and cycling organizations have worked diligently to educate the public about road safety, but many motorists still fail to be on the lookout for bicyclists and to yield the right-of-way when required to do so.
Data from NHSTA on bicycle accident fatalities throughout the U.S. show that:
- Alcohol is a factor in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes.
- Regardless of the season, bicyclist deaths occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (75%) compared to rural areas (25%).
- Eight times as many males as females are involved in fatal bicycle accidents.
- Light trucks are the most frequently involved vehicle in motor vehicle crashes in which a bicyclist is killed.
Analyses of accident data suggest that the most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
- Impaired driving
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Lack of visibility
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
Since cyclists can’t control what motorists do on the road, the best advice for them is to understand how to ride safely and avoid dangerous situations.
The Florida Biking Association offers the following safety tips, developed by Cycling Savvy:
- Obey Florida’s traffic laws. When cycling in and around Fort Myers, you should ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, obey all traffic signs and lights, yield to traffic before entering a roadway, yield to overtaking traffic when changing lanes, and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Move with the traffic at intersections. Do not pass vehicles or turn in front of them at intersections. If you are turning right, stay in the right lane; if you are turning left, use the left turn lane; and if you are not turning, you stay out of the turn lanes.
- Ride in the traffic lanes. Riding to the far right on the righthand side of the road may seem safe, but it can be dangerous when vehicles try to pass you or don’t see you. Riding toward the middle of a lane rather than to the far right is actually safer.
- Be cautious when passing. Passing stopped vehicles is tempting, but also very dangerous because traffic can start moving at any time, and vehicles can pull out without seeing you. Passing parked cars is also very dangerous because a vehicle door can open directly in your path.
- Use signals when turning and changing lanes. Using signals when turning and changing lanes is important to let motorists know your intentions so they can be careful to avoid hitting you.
What to Do after a Bicycle Accident in Fort Myers
Crashes involving cars or trucks can be very dangerous. Often, cyclists are seriously injured, so getting emergency medical treatment is necessary. Even if you are feeling fine at the time, you should still have a thorough physical examination to document any injuries and ensure you have not been injured internally.
As soon as possible after the accident, you should report it to the police so there is an official record of the accident. Hit-and-run accidents are common, but even if the negligent driver left the scene, reporting the accident to the police is important. Hopefully, you weren’t the victim of a hit-and-run accident and you or someone else at the scene got contact information for the other person involved in the crash.
Getting in touch with an experienced Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyer to discuss the accident and get advice on your legal options is also in your best interest. An experienced lawyer will be able to assess what happened in the accident, as well as the injuries resulting from the accident, and help you decide if taking legal action to hold the negligent party responsible and recover damages for your injury is your best option.
By filing a personal injury claim, you may be able to obtain compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses already incurred as well as those possible in the future, including hospital expenses, medication, medical equipment, diagnostic procedures, treatments, office visits, and transportation to appointments
- Income lost due to time off work due to accident injuries
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
Get Help from Reliable, Experienced Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The Dennis Hernandez Fort Myers bicycle accident attorneys want to hear what happened to you and make sure you are compensated fairly for your injuries. We will:
- Advise you on filing a bicycle accident lawsuit.
- Ensure that all of the evidence necessary to demonstrate negligence on the driver’s part is gathered and presented in a timely manner.
- Negotiate strenuously with insurance companies and defense attorneys on your behalf.
- Build a strong case to demonstrate your need for compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the bicycle accident.
- Not settle for less than what you deserve.
- Fight for your rights in court when necessary.
While many personal injury lawyers are eager to settle out of court and avoid going to trial, Dennis Hernandez attorneys never back down and settle for less than what you deserve. We are committed to fighting for justice for you and supporting you through the entire legal process.
Call us at 239.202.0000 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website to get started on your case.