Bicycling is an attractive option for getting around the city of Fort Lauderdale. With a connected network of bike paths and dedicated bike lanes, residents and tourists can get around by bike whether for recreation, short trips, or their daily commute. And with bike-sharing now a fixture of our community through private companies as well as Broward B-Cycle, it’s easier than ever to grab a bike whenever you want to cycle to your destination.
Bicycling is not without its risks, however, and the attractive climate for cycling here makes Florida a leading state in the country for bike wrecks, often ranking as the first or second-worst state for bicycling accidents both in terms of total crashes and per capita deaths. Florida saw 6,664 bicycle accidents in 2019, an increase over the prior year. These crashes resulted in 156 deaths, 774 incapacitating injuries, and 5,455 other injuries. In other words, bicycling accidents in Florida ended in injury or death 96% of the time.
Broward County had the second-highest number of bicycle crashes in the state in 2019, at 716 accidents causing 673 injuries and 13 deaths.
Bicycle riders are almost completely exposed and vulnerable to catastrophic injury or death following a collision with an automobile on a busy city street. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident, Rosen Injury Law, P.A. can help ensure you get the medical care you need and the financial assistance you deserve after an accident that wasn’t your fault. Rosen Injury Law, P.A. specializes in serious accident injury cases, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and wrongful death. We’ve recovered sizeable verdicts for many Fort Lauderdale personal injury victims and are available to help you too in your time of need. Call our office at 954-787-1500 for a free consultation.
Rights and Duties of Bicycle Riders in Fort Lauderdale
Bicyclists are considered vehicle drivers under Florida law. Cyclists have all the rights and duties of vehicle drivers in Florida – they must obey traffic signals, travel in the direction of the flow of traffic, use headlamps at night, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and yield to other vehicles when entering the roadway from a parking lot, driveway, alleyway, or side street.
Florida law also includes rules that apply to bicycles specifically. Bicycle riders are required to use a bike lane if one is provided or to ride as close as practicable to the right where there is no bike lane. Important exceptions exist, however. Cyclists can leave the bike lane or the right side when passing or turning left or when necessary to avoid a parked car or a hazard in the road. If riding in a substandard-width lane that cannot safely accommodate both a motor vehicle and a bicycle, the cyclist is fully entitled to occupy the lane by riding in the center.
Florida law requires bicycles to be equipped with a white headlamp and rear red reflector. Riders under 16 years old are required to wear a helmet.
How Do Bicycle Accident Claims Work?
Riders face many hazards on the road from other drivers who pass too close and crowd them off the road or make left or right turns without noticing the presence of a cyclist either behind them or coming from the opposite direction. Florida law forbids drivers to pass a bicycle except at a “safe distance of not less than 3 feet,” but this law is routinely violated on crowded city streets by drivers who don’t respect the three feet for safety law or who are too distracted by their cell phones to notice they are passing a bicycle.
Cyclists using bike lanes or riding to the right also face the danger of getting “doored” when a vehicle occupant negligently opens their door into traffic. Getting doored can send a cyclist head over heels into traffic and cause catastrophic injuries.
Injured bicyclists can use their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to get minimum no-fault benefits after a crash, assuming they own a covered vehicle or a member of their household does. Bike crash victims can also look to the other driver’s PIP coverage or their Uninsured Motorist coverage if necessary.
The problem with PIP benefits is that they only pay for 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, and only up to $10,000 on a basic policy. A bicycle accident victim is likely to have serious or catastrophic injuries that far exceed in cost what PIP coverage provides. In the case of a serious injury, Florida law allows the victim to go beyond no-fault benefits and sue the negligent driver for the full amount of legal damages, including all medical bills and lost income, plus pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss in quality of life, etc.
Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney Eric Rosen is an expert when it comes to helping accident victims recover significant compensation after a crash. The team at Rosen Injury Law, P.A. will work to see that you are fully compensated for all the damage done to you and that you receive the most appropriate level of care for your injuries. We take on negligent drivers and their insurance companies and build a strong case that proves the other driver’s fault and liability while beating back attacks that blame the cyclist for negligence or dispute the serious nature of the injuries incurred. We are on your side fighting for you, and we get results.
The Help You Need After a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident
For help after a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, call Rosen Injury Law, P.A. at 954-787-1500 for a free consultation.