Bicycling is becoming more popular than ever, and not just among kids. Adults now reap the benefits of commuting to work on their bikes, since statistics show that about 50 percent of America’s workforce lives within five miles of their offices. The advantages of environmentally-friendly travel in addition to physically challenging activity, coupled with Tampa’s attractive climate of warm temperatures year-round, make cycling a real benefit for many thousands of Tampa commuters as well as pleasure cyclists.
Unfortunately, however, it’s inevitable that some cyclists will collide with the cars with which they must share the road. Statistics compiled by the nonprofit alliance Transportation for America show that in recent years Tampa has ranked in the top five most dangerous urban areas for cyclists in the United States. The reasons that Tampa, along with two other metropolitan areas in Florida, are so dangerous for cyclists are varied, but can be traced to some basic facts.
Most bike accidents occur at or near intersections, when drivers don’t obey right-of-way rules and hit cyclists that are following the laws. Cyclists also more frequently collide with cars are when they emerge from between parked or stopped cars. Accidents in parking lots or on smaller side streets are also frequent.
While cyclists do have the responsibility of following traffic laws as do cars, it seems that it’s often drivers that disobey traffic laws, resulting in injuries to a bicycle rider. Frequently a motorist doesn’t realize that he must allow a cyclist to proceed as though the cyclist were another motor vehicle, which can result in a crash. At other times a cyclist may be struck when the road has a very narrow or a completely non-existent bike lane, requiring the cyclist to ride in traffic that may be traveling much faster than he is able to travel.
Statistics show that cyclists in Florida, including the Tampa area, are most often injured because drivers fail to yield the right of way to the cyclist. Accidents do occur in which the cyclist doesn’t follow traffic regulations, but they’re less frequent. In other instances, a cyclist may be injured when he’s overtaken by a car. Florida cyclists are allowed by law to ride against traffic, but statistics show that a cyclist is more likely to be injured or even killed if he does so.
The types of injuries that result when a car hits a cyclist can range from serious bruising and broken bones to major head trauma or severe injuries to the neck and spine. In some extreme cases that aren’t fatal, a cyclist could be paralyzed. Since cyclists don’t have the protection a vehicle affords a driver, even accidents that don’t seem to be severe can lead to life-altering injuries for the cyclist.
There are times when a cyclist isn’t injured due to a collision with a vehicle, but instead has an accident due to poor road conditions. Florida has a reputation for not providing adequate bike lanes. The sides of the roads on which cyclists must ride to stay out of traffic may not be properly maintained, resulting in crashes due to potholes or other surface problems. Even in these cases, when another vehicle isn’t directly involved in a crash, a cyclist has options for receiving necessary compensation for his injuries.
If a cyclist has been killed in an accident with a motor vehicle, his family needs experienced representation to bring about a wrongful death lawsuit against the motorist that caused the accident. An attorney who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits caused by bicycle-car accidents can guide the family through the process of receiving compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Immediately after a bicycle accident occurs, the cyclist if possible should do all the things he would do if he had been in an auto accident. He needs to contact police immediately to start an accident report. He should get statements from witnesses and take photos of the accident scene. It’s imperative that one of his first steps should be to see a doctor, even if he doesn’t think he’s been seriously injured. Bicycle accident lawyers also recommend that the bike not be fixed, but instead remain unrepaired so that it can be used as evidence in an investigation or trial.
When a cyclist has been injured in an accident with a car, one of the first things he or his family should do is consult with an attorney who has experience in bicycle accident cases. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation that allows the attorney to evaluate the bicycle rider’s case and determine whether a case should move forward. Some attorneys even provide at-home consultations so that a cyclist’s case can begin even before he’s able to move around after his accident.
A bicycle accident attorney can help a cyclist get the financial compensation he needs to cover medical expenses and lost wages resulting from an accident. Recovery from a bicycle collision with a car may take more time than recovery from a serious car accident and require more medical attention. A Tampa attorney experienced in handling bicycle accidents can help a cyclist assess his medical insurance coverage and then obtain the money necessary to complete treatment. Likewise, the attorney can work to cover the wages a cyclist may lose due to not working during his recovery period.
Cycling is an enjoyable way to get around Tampa and its surrounding areas. If you’re one of the hundreds of cyclists injured each year due to an accident, it’s time to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can work to get you the compensation you’re due for your injuries.