WEST PALM BEACH BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Were You Injured in a Bicycle Accident in West Palm Beach?
Bicycles are becoming an increasingly popular way to get around. They’re free to ride, they keep you fit, and they’re good for the environment – three things that make them extremely attractive to people today. However, it’s not just as simple as riding to work on the sidewalk, if you want to use your bicycle to save money, get fit or reduce your carbon footprint then you must understand the rules of the road when it comes to cycling. You should also know your legal rights and responsibilities when sharing the roadway and make sure that you are as protected as you can be. Remember that bicycles provide considerably less protection than other modes of transport and therefore even if you are the most experienced of cyclists, you are still more at risk of personal injury. While you can wear your helmet and buy protective clothing to try and keep you safe, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to know the Bicycle Laws if something does happen.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Unless you are going to stick to the sidewalks and weave in and out of pedestrians, then as a cyclist you’re going to have to share the roads with other vehicles, and they’re going to be a lot larger and a lot faster than you are. There’s motorbikes, cars, buses and lorries to contend with and again, even if you are a very experienced and skilled cyclist with excellent control over your bicycle and good knowledge of the highway code, you are only safe if others using the road are equally aware of the rules, and they are following them.
There are many reasons why you could end up in an accident from either your lack of road awareness or someone else’s; it could be a lapse in judgement in speed or distance or a drive unable to see you on your bike. The most common causes of cycling accidents are:
Vehicles Turning Into The Path Of Cyclists
As a cyclist, you’ll find that you’re often being overtaken by cars. Once they have done this, drivers quite often tend to forget that you were there, so when they slow down to turn, they put themselves directly in your path and don’t leave you with much space or time to slow down.
Drivers Failing To See Cyclists When Turning Or Changing Lanes
Other vehicles often forget that you are on the road, so it’s common for them to turn at high speed and then are unable to stop in time and end up hitting a cyclist who is going at a much slower speed. Other vehicles also often underestimate the speed of a cyclist and move into the cyclist’s lane, not giving the cyclist enough time to react.
Vehicles Pulling Out Of A Junction
This scenario is pretty self-explanatory and again comes down to drivers of vehicles not expecting a cyclist to be there and not leaving enough time or distance for the cyclist to get out of the way.
Vehicle Doors Opening In Front Of An Oncoming Cyclist
Accidents like this one happen far more than you might think, as people don’t bother to check properly before they open their doors and again cyclists have little or no time to react and even when they do, their only options are either to swerve into lanes with other vehicles which are a lot faster than they are or to crash into the door.
Pothole-ridden roads are a nightmare for cyclists as bikes are so lightweight, they can often lose balance or get damaged on bumpy roads, resulting in accidents and injuries.
Just like with any other road traffic accidents, alcohol can play a significant part in cyclists accidents. According to the Florida Traffic Crash Records Database, alcohol was a contributing factor in as many as 100 fatal bike accidents in Florida between 2013 and 2016 which is in line with the national statistics that showed nearly 25 per cent of cyclist fatalities involved cyclists who were legally drunk, according to Reuters.
Time Of Day
Then, of course, there are things out of your control, such as what time of day it is. According to statistics, 51 per cent of the fatal cyclist accidents occurred when it was completely dark, both in areas without lighting and areas with lights. It’s imperative to make sure that as a cyclist, you are visible to others in all times of the day and all types of weather.
Bicycle Accident Case Types
The kinds of cases that get brought to West Palm Beach bicycle accident lawyers are things like pothole claims, spillages on the road surface which have caused a cyclist to slip and suffer an accident on the road, collisions (as we have mentioned) with other vehicles, roundabout incidents which are often widely disputed and complicated claims and then there are the bike component failure complaints, for example, something as simple as a loose bolt could cause an accident and lead to a severe injury.
Common Injuries Related to Bicycle Accidents
There are several different injuries that a cyclist can fall victim too, it’s not just being knocked off your bike. For example, road rash is a common injury which can be caused by minor falls or skids. These can heal quite quickly and can usually be managed with antiseptic and some cream. Then you can get more severe injuries such as soft tissue damage which can take a few weeks to a few months to heal, fractures to wrists, collarbones, ankles and legs are all pretty common from accidents. Then, of course, there is probably the most dangerous, and that’s head injuries, it could be a mild concussion, but it could also be brain damage. It is so crucial that you wear a helmet. You can also experience psychological injuries after a bicycle accident and suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mood swings and paranoia which can severely affect your quality of life. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, then you really should see a bicycle injury lawyer.
Hiring A Bicycle Accident Lawyer
When it comes to hiring bicycle accident lawyers, you need to first of all look at how long they have been offering this service. You want to hire a firm with plenty of experience, and an attorney with extensive knowledge and skills on how to argue your case out to ensure that you get maximum compensation. An experienced lawyer will be able to handle questions from the police and advise you on how to deal with this. They will also be able to carry out their own investigation and seal all loopholes in your case to ensure that you have a strong case. They will also have the skills to be able to argue with the other attorney on the other side of the case.
Make sure that whoever you hire is a specialist in this field and has handled many cases related to personal injuries and accidents and had a good success rate.
Bicycle Accident FAQs
Do Bicycles Have to Follow The Same Traffic Rules as Cars?
Yes. A cyclist must follow the same traffic rules as drivers do and must also obey regulations adopted specially for bicycles.
Do Bicycles Have To Have a Light?
As mentioned above, over 50% of accidents happen in the dark, and actually, the law in Florida states that a bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front, and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.
Are Cyclists Required to Wear Helmets?
Although adults are not legally required to wear helmets, a bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and meets a nationally recognized standard. Even though it’s not a legal requirement, it’s still advised that everyone wears a helmet to limit the risk of head injury.
Can Cyclists Wear Headphones While Riding?
No. Florida law prohibits a cyclist from wearing a headset, headphones or listening device, other than a hearing aid while riding.
What side of the road should cyclists ride on?
A cyclist on the road must ride on the side for the direction they are travelling in as riding against traffic increases crash risk and is a factor in about 15% of bicycle-car accidents.
Can a cyclist Ride on the Sidewalk?
Sidewalks are not designed for bicycle speeds, but bicycle use is allowed except where prohibited by local ordinance. Since a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk has the rights of a pedestrian, they can actually ride in either direction. A cyclist riding on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to a pedestrian and must give an audible warning before passing a pedestrian.