St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Cycling has become very popular in St. Petersburg and throughout Florida. It’s an environment-friendly, health-oriented recreational activity that just about anyone can enjoy. Unfortunately, while the number of Florida residents enjoying biking has increased, so too has the number of accidents involving cyclists. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that in 2018 alone, there were 622 bicycle crashes in Pinellas County, and in 2019, there were 513 crashes and 10 crash-related fatalities.
Bicycle crash injuries can be very serious, even fatal. Injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken or fractured bones, head and neck injuries, and internal injuries are common, often causing long-term pain and anguish. Regrettably, bicycle accident victims and their loved ones also often encounter numerous difficult life changes and challenges, including the need for extensive medical care and problems handling all of the expenses.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle crash, you do not have to face all of these difficulties on your own. The experienced Dennis Hernandez St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyers have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Florida and look forward to helping you hold the negligent party accountable and obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
Bicycle Crash Injuries and Fatalities
When traveling on the roadways in and around St. Petersburg, bicyclists are very vulnerable. The roads have bumps and debris that can cause a cyclist to lose his balance and fall, and distracted or impaired motorists are a constant threat. Except for a helmet and possibly some protective clothing, bicyclists are totally unprotected if a collision occurs. When hit by a motor vehicle, they can be thrown off their bicycles and end up with life-threatening injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, and damage to internal organs.
Injuries due to bicycle crashes can also be fatal. More than 850 people are killed each year in bicycle crashes in the U.S., and many more are injured. According to The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 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.
- In 2019, the number of pedalcyclists fatally injured in accidents on U.S. roadways decreased from 871 in 2018 to 846 (-2.9%), but the number of pedalcyclist Injuries increased from 47,000 to 49,000 (+4.3%).
Between 160 and 170 people die each year in Florida from bicycle crash-related injuries. In fact, according to 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.
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 St. Petersburg bicycle accident attorney can help you decide on your best option, given the details of your case.
Bicycle Laws in Florida
Each state in the U.S. determines what laws and restrictions apply to cyclists on the state’s roadways. In Florida, bicycles are considered the same as cars and trucks. In other words, people riding bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists on the roadways.
According to Florida law, cyclists have to follow the same traffic laws 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. However, they often 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, and back up into them.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in St. Petersburg?
Despite government agencies’ and cycling organizations’ educational initiatives on road safety, motorists’ failure to be on the lookout for bicyclists and to yield the right-of-way when required to do so are still leading causes of bicycle crashes.
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
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Lack of visibility
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
Advising cyclists to stay away from impaired, distracted, drowsy, or aggressive drivers would seem to be good advice, but it’s actually useless, since cyclists don’t know what the motorists around them will be doing or feeling. The most effective advice, then, is to understand how to ride safely and avoid dangerous situations.
The Florida Biking Association recommends the following guidelines, developed by Cycling Savvy:
- Obey Florida’s traffic laws. When on the roads in and around St. Petersburg, you should obey all traffic signs and lights,ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, yield to traffic before entering a roadway, yield to overtaking traffic when changing lanes, and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Remain with the traffic at intersections. If you are turning right, you should stay in the right lane; if you are turning left, you should use the left turn lane; and if you are not turning, you should stay out of the turn lanes.
- Ride in the line of traffic. Ride toward the middle of a lane rather than to the far right so motorists can see you and realize when they do not have enough room to pass you safely.
- Be very careful 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.
- Signal turns and lane changes. Using signals for turning and changing lanes is important for letting motorists know your intentions so they can be careful to avoid hitting you.
What to Do after a St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident
Collisions with cars and trucks can be very dangerous for bicyclists. Often, they are seriously injured, so getting emergency medical treatment is necessary. However, even if you are feeling okay after a crash, you should have a thorough physical examination to document any injuries and ensure there are no internal or head injuries that need immediate treatment.
As soon as you can after the accident, you should report it to the police so there is an official record of the accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common in bike crashes, but even if the negligent driver left the scene, reporting the accident to the police is still 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 or persons involved in the collision.
When you are able to do so, getting in touch with an experienced St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyer to discuss the accident and get advice on your legal options is in your best interest. An experienced lawyer will be able to review 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 with your lawyer’s help, 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 St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The Dennis Hernandez St. Petersburg bicycle accident attorneys want to hear what happened to you and make sure you are compensated justly for your injuries. We will:
- Listen closely to what happened to you.
- Advise you on your best course of action.
- Assure that the evidence needed to demonstrate negligence on the driver’s part is gathered and presented in a timely manner.
- Negotiate vigorously with insurance companies and defense attorneys on your behalf.
- Prepare 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 will do whatever it takes to settle out of court to 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 727.697.0000 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website to get started on your case.