Naples Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles defines bicyclists as “vulnerable road users,” along with motorcycle riders and pedestrians. In their Crash Facts 2020 report, the FLHSMV reports 5,952 bicycle crashes in Florida that year, leading to 169 fatalities, 759 incapacitating injuries, and 4,815 other injuries. In other words, bicycle accidents in Florida caused injury or death in 96.5% of the incidents reported.
As the statistics show, bicycle riders are in grave danger of getting hurt in any encounter on the road with a motor vehicle. At Cardinal Law, our goal is to help accident victims in Southwest Florida get a full amount of compensation to deal with their medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages after being hurt by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident caused by a car or truck driver’s negligence, call our Naples bicycle accident lawyers Cardinal Law at 239-610-0845 for a free consultation.
Leading Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Naples
Bicycle accidents can happen for many different reasons, including potholes or other defects in the road, a cyclist’s inattention or lack of experience, or mechanical defects that cause the bike to break down. They can also happen because of a car driver’s negligence. Driver negligence can cause a bicycle accident in many different ways, making cars the biggest threat on the road to cyclists. Some of the leading causes of bicycle accidents in Naples include:
- A driver or passenger opens their door into a bike lane or the path of an oncoming bike. Getting “doored” can deal a severe blow to a speeding cyclist or cause them to flip over the car door, potentially suffering a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, facial lacerations and other serious injuries.
- Drivers occupy the bike lane, causing a collision with a cyclist or forcing them off the road or into traffic to avoid getting hit.
- Drivers making right turns without checking for a cyclist on their right traveling through the intersection
- Drivers turning left without noticing a cyclist coming from the opposite direction with the right-of-way
- Automobiles making sudden stops
- Drivers who make unsafe lane changes without signaling or checking their blind spots
- Cars running stop signs and red lights
- Texting while driving and other distracted driving that keeps drivers from noticing bicycles in their vicinity
Rules of the Road for Cyclists and Motorists in Florida
Bicycle riders under 16 years old must wear a properly fitted and properly fastened helmet that meets federal safety standards. Older riders are not required to wear helmets to comply with Florida law.
Bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Florida law, although they are not “motor vehicles.” Therefore, riders are subject to any laws and rules of the road that apply to vehicles, but they don’t have to comply with laws specifically for motor vehicles. For example, cyclists can occupy a travel lane and can take up the entire lane by riding in the center. Motor vehicles are prohibited from driving so slowly that they impede traffic, but since bicycles aren’t motor vehicles, a cyclist occupying a travel lane is not unlawfully impeding traffic even if they are going slower than the flow of traffic.
Bike lanes are recommended for cyclists, but riders are not required to use them. Bike lanes can be safe places for through travel but can become dangerous at intersections and when executing turns. Naples has over 30 miles of bicycle pathways and well-marked lanes for bicycle travel. It’s up to cyclists to choose a safe path, and it’s up to drivers to be mindful and respectful about sharing the road with bicycles.
Seeking Compensation for Bicycle Accidents in Naples
Bicyclists can access no-fault (personal injury protection) benefits after a crash without worrying about who was at fault or having to prove another driver’s negligence. PIP benefits provide up to $10,000 in benefits and pay for 80% of an accident victim’s medical expenses and 60% of their lost wages if they miss work due to the crash. Riders must seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident, and their benefits can be capped at $2,500 if the medical provider decides they don’t have an emergency medical condition as defined under Florida law.
Bicycle accident victims who suffer a serious injury can file a civil claim against the at-fault driver and recover the full amount of their medical bills and lost income, as well as damages for pain and suffering. A serious injury is one that meets one of these criteria set out in Florida law:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
If you or your loved one were seriously injured in a Naples bicycle accident, Cardinal Law can help you recover the full amount of compensation from the negligent driver by building a strong case that proves their negligence and fault and the extent of your injuries. Our team is experienced in handling serious injury cases and will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or go to trial if your case requires a jury verdict or court judgment to get what you deserve.
Get the Help You Need After a Serious Bicycle Accident in Naples or Southwest Florida
At Cardinal Law, we want to take care of you after a serious bicycle accident in Naples and make sure you get the medical treatment and compensation you need. Give us a call at 239-610-0845 and let us help you with your case. Your call is free, and we only charge a fee after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.