Bicycling has grown increasingly popular, not only among children but also among adults. Many adults now enjoy the benefits of commuting to work on bicycles, particularly as around 50 percent of the American workforce resides within five miles of their workplaces. The advantages of eco-friendly travel combined with physical activity, along with Tampa’s consistently warm climate, make cycling advantageous for countless commuters and recreational cyclists in the area.
Unfortunately some cyclists will inevitably encounter collisions with the cars they share the road with. Recent statistics from the nonprofit alliance Transportation for America reveal that Tampa has ranked among 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 bicycle accidents happen at intersections or nearby, when drivers fail to obey right-of-way rules and collide with cyclists who are obeying the laws. Another common scenario involves cyclists colliding with cars while emerging from spaces between parked or stationary vehicles. Accidents occurring in parking lots or on smaller side streets are also frequent occurrences.
Although cyclists are responsible for adhering to traffic laws just like motorists, it often turns out that drivers are the ones disregarding these laws, leading to injuries for cyclists. In many cases, drivers don’t realize they must treat cyclists as they would other motor vehicles, resulting in collisions. 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 indicate that the primary cause of cyclist injuries in Florida, including Tampa, is drivers’ failure to yield the right of way to cyclists. While accidents do happen due to cyclists not following traffic regulations, they are less common. In some instances, a cyclist might get injured when overtaken by a car. While Florida law permits cyclists to ride against traffic, data shows that doing so increases the likelihood of injury or even death.
The injuries resulting from car- bicyclist collisions range from minor bruises and fractures to severe head trauma or critical injuries to the neck and spine. In extreme non-fatal cases, a cyclist might end up paralyzed. Because cyclists lack the protective measures a vehicle provides, even seemingly minor accidents can lead to life-altering injuries.
There are instances where cyclists sustain injuries not due to vehicle collisions, but rather because of poor road conditions. Florida is notorious for inadequate bike lanes. The road edges designated for cyclists to stay out of traffic may be poorly maintained, causing accidents due to potholes and other surface issues. Even in these situations where no vehicles are directly involved, cyclists have options to seek compensation for their 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.
Right after a bicycle accident occurs, if possible, the cyclist should follow the same steps they would after a car accident. This includes promptly contacting the police to initiate an accident report, obtaining statements from witnesses, and taking photos of the accident scene. Seeking medical attention is imperative, even if the cyclist believes their injuries are minor. Bicycle accident lawyers also advise against repairing the bike, as it should remain unrepaired to serve as evidence in an investigation or trial.
When a bicyclist sustains injuries in a car-related accident, one of the initial steps they or their family should take is to consult a lawyer experienced in bicycle accident cases. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations to assess the cyclist’s case and determine if it’s worth pursuing. Some lawyers even provide at-home consultations to begin the case before the cyclist can move freely after the accident.
A bicycle accident laywer can assist a cyclist in obtaining the necessary financial compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the accident. Recovery from a bicycle collision with a car often takes longer and requires more medical attention than recovering from a severe car accident.
Our skilled Tampa attorneys specialize in bicycle accidents and can help the cyclist evaluate their medical insurance coverage in order to secure the funds needed for treatment. Similarly, the lawyer can work towards compensating for the wages lost during the recovery period.
Cycling offers a pleasant means of transportation in Tampa and its surroundings. If you’re one of the many cyclists injured yearly due to accidents, it’s essential to reach out to an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you’ve sustained injuries in a bicycle accident in Tampa, FL, Jack Bernstein and his team possess over three decades of experience handling bicycle accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll assist you in pursuing the rightful compensation. Remember, you won’t incur any fees unless you win.