Florida Bicycle Accidents and No-Fault Insurance Law

Florida continues to be one of the states in the nation with the highest number of bicycle crashes. In 2012, Florida had 6,425 bicycle crashes, a 28% increase from the previous year. In 2012, 6,058 cyclists were injured, almost a 31% increase over 2011. Broward County leads the pack at 822 crashes, followed by Miami Date at 751.

If you were riding a bike in Florida and were involved in an accident caused by a motor vehicle do you know what to do? Florida’s no-fault law limits the ability of bicycle accident victims to take legal action against the at-fault driver. In order for an injured cyclist to file an action against the at-fault driver to recover damages outside the realm of no-fault insurance law, certain conditions must be met.

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What is Florida’s no-fault law no Insurance?

Florida’s no-fault insurance law, also known as personal injury protection (PIP), states that regardless of who’s at fault, each driver, pedestrian or bicyclist who suffers injuries in an accident must file a claim under their own auto insurance policy to recover the following expenses and losses following the accident.

  • 80% of reasonable medical expenses including doctor visits, surgery, X-rays, dental, rehabilitative services, and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services
  • 60% of lost wages under their own policy
  • Replacement services like babysitting or lawn care

What is the Florida Bicycle Accident Law?

In the event that the bicycle rider doesn’t have auto insurance, Florida bicycle accident law allows the cyclist to file a claim under the responsible driver’s auto insurance policy. In these cases, the injured bicyclist may be able to recover from the at-fault driver’s property damage liability (PDL) benefits, bodily injury coverage or other policy coverage.

In order for an injured cyclist to file an action against the at-fault driver to recover damages outside the domain of no-fault insurance law, the injured victim must have suffered a serious injury, like:

  • Significant scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of a bodily function

Because cyclists are exposed and don’t have seatbelts or a shield to protect them like passengers in a car accident, often accidents involving bicyclists result in serious injuries or even death to the cyclist. In the event where a loved one died as a result of the accident, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact Our Bicycle Accident Lawyer Florida

If you or someone you know was involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, it’s important to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney to help you understand the nuisances of Florida’s no-fault laws.

We also help the victims of a bicycle accident in the following cities:

Eric RosadoFlorida Bicycle Accidents And No-Fault Law
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Reduce Bicycle Accidents In Florida

Between 2010 and 2012 Florida had 329 fatal bicycle accidents. In 2013, 7,400 pedestrians and 6,500 bicyclists were struck by motor vehicles. One problem is that the laws in place today to protect cyclists are archaic. But that might change.

A new bill in Florida is moving forward with the hopes to keep bike riders and motorcyclists safer on Florida roads. The bill will require cars to keep a 3-foot distance when passing a bicycle on the road. That includes any attachment or part of a vehicle, such as a trailer or side mirror. The legislation also makes it a misdemeanor to taunt, harass, or throw anything at someone riding a bicycle.

In November of 2014, the Florida town of Lauderdale received a $100,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation. The grant was used by the city to pay officers overtime for implementing a pedestrian and bicycle safety program. Similar programs have been introduced by the Sheriff’s Office in cities such as Pompano Beach, Dania Beach and West Park, as well as by Coral Springs. For more help contact our bicycle accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale at The Law office of Wolf & Pravato.

Some Florida Bike Accident Statistics

According to the department of transportation in Florida, Broward County ranks as the county in the state of Florida when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.

Nationally, bicyclist deaths account for around 2% of deaths involving motor vehicles nationwide. In Florida that percent is much higher at 5%. California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas, accounted for 54% of all cycling traffic fatalities from 2010 through 2012.

Florida Bike Accident Trends

A top scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed fatality data to uncover bicyclist crash patterns and noted “remarkable changes” in who is dying in crashes involving bicycles and cars. Some patterns he observed were:

  • Adults age 20 and older represented 84% of bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared with just 21% in 1975.
  • Adult males comprised 74% of the total number of bicyclists killed in 2012.
  • In 2012, two-thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets.
  • 28% of riders age 16 and older had blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or higher.
  • More bicycle commuters could result in more exposure of cyclists to urban auto traffic.

What Can Be Done?

When roads were first built, they were built to accommodate motor vehicles with little concern for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s been challenging for motor vehicles and bicycles to share the road. A cycle path provides the safest way to keep bicyclists safe by providing a physical separation between the two. But in their absence, Florida cities should consider:

  • Building more marked bike lanes.
  • Bicycle boulevards that travel through a network of traffic-calmed roads that parallel urban arterials.
  • Using bike boxes – a space in a lane before an intersection solely for bikes – that provide bicycle visibility and protection against cars turning right across the bike’s path. So called “right hooks” where cars turn right into the path of a bicycle that has the right of way are one of the most common car-bicycle crashes.
  • Build separate bicycle traffic signals with advance green lights for cyclists.

wear helmet on bicycleBicyclists should always take precautions to protect themselves in the road, such as:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic
  • Yield to traffic before entering the road
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Signal turns and lane changes
  • Make sure you are visible to crossing and turning traffic
  • Use headlights and rear lights when riding at night

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the law offices of Wolf & Pravato to schedule a free consultation with one of our West Palm Beach bicycle accident lawyer.

Eric RosadoNew Bill Hopes to Reduce Bicycle Accidents In FL, USA
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