Gainesville Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bicycle-Vehicle Collisions in Florida
Year after year, Florida remains one of the deadliest states for bicyclists. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 5,952 bicycle crashes in 2020 (the latest year for which data are available), leading to 169 deaths and more than 5,500 injuries.
If you were injured or if your loved one died due to a bicycle-vehicle collision, you deserve justice—and Schackow & Mercadante can help. Based in Gainesville, we serve victims of serious accidents in and around Alachua County, providing personal attention, compassionate support, and dedicated representation in and out of the courtroom. Together, our attorneys have over 126 years of combined legal experience. We are ready to fight for you and the fair recovery you are owed.
Call us today at (352) 261-6767 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Florida Bicycle Laws
Like other states, Florida has laws in place to protect bicyclists and those with whom they share the road. Generally speaking, the state considers bicycles “vehicles;” bicyclists, as a result, have many of the same rights and responsibilities as any other motorist on the road.
Some of these rights and responsibilities include:
- The Right to the Road: Bicyclists have the right to use the road, including the full lane. However, bicyclists should use designated bike lanes and/or ride as far to the right side of the road as possible whenever possible.
- The Responsibility to Obey Traffic Laws: Bicyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws when sharing the road, such as coming to a full and complete stop at all red lights and stop signs and yielding the right of way whenever necessary.
- The Right to Ride on the Sidewalk: Except where prohibited by municipal law, bicyclists are permitted to ride on sidewalks in Florida. However, they must give audible signals when overtaking a pedestrian and must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- The Responsibility to Signal: Bicyclists who share the road must signal to motorists and others on the roadway by using the correct and appropriate hand signals indicating turns, lane changes, stopping, etc. Bicyclists should always be aware of their surroundings when riding.
- The Responsibility to Use Appropriate Safety Gear: All bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear an approved and securely fastened bicycle helmet. All bicycles, regardless of the rider’s age, must be equipped with proper brakes and lights (if riding at night).
Additionally, the state’s DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) laws apply to bicyclists. It is possible to be arrested for and charged with DUI while riding a bicycle in Florida.
Motorists also have certain responsibilities to bicyclists. They must maintain a minimum distance of three feet when passing or overtaking a bicyclist, and they must not open a vehicle door to intentionally hit, injure, or otherwise interfere with a bicyclist or the flow of traffic.
Most bicycle accidents result from negligence or wrongful conduct. Sometimes, bicyclists themselves are careless, but more often, it is the drivers of motor vehicles who cause these devastating collisions through error, carelessness, or reckless behavior.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Failure to keep a safe distance
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Distracted driving, including texting
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to properly share the road
- Drunk driving
- Dooring (opening a car door into a bicyclist or bicyclist’s path)
- Failure to properly signal
Sometimes, bicycle accidents are the result of dangerous, defective, or otherwise hazardous conditions. This includes roadway defects, such as potholes, as well as inclement weather, improper highway design, and poor roadway maintenance. In such cases, a private or municipal entity may be partly or entirely liable for an injured bicyclist’s damages.
Does No-Fault Insurance Cover Bike Accidents in Florida?
Florida’s no-fault insurance, known as personal injury protection (PIP), does cover bicycle-vehicle collisions. If you are insured, you can file a PIP claim and receive compensation for certain damages. However, PIP does not cover the full cost of your damages. Instead, it only covers up to 80% of your medical expenses after an “emergency medical condition” (EMC) and up to 60% of your lost wages and miscellaneous related expenses after a disabling injury. If you do not have an EMC, you will only be entitled to $2,500 in PIP compensation.
If you do not have auto insurance, or if you suffer a “serious” injury (as defined by the state), you can go outside the no-fault system and seek additional compensation by filing a claim against the liable party. If you file a third-party personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, including all medical expenses and lost income, loss of earning ability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and more.
Our Gainesville bicycle accident attorneys can review the details of your case and advise you on your various legal options. We offer free initial consultations and case evaluations.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicyclists are no match for large, heavy, fast-moving vehicles. As a result, they often sustain catastrophic injuries when they are involved in bicycle-vehicle collisions. Sadly, many of these injuries ultimately lead to serious impairment, lifelong disability, and death.
Some of the most common bicycle accident-related injuries include:
- Broken bones/fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Serious cuts, scrapes, and abrasions
- Soft tissue damage
- Injuries to internal organs
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Accidental amputation
- Facial injuries
The cost of treating these and other severe injuries can be immense, easily amounting to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Additionally, many victims are unable to return to work for weeks, months, or even years, leading to lost wages, income, and employment benefits.
One of the harshest costs of a bicycle accident, however, is the significant physical and emotional pain and suffering victims experience. The only way to be fairly compensated for your pain and suffering after a bicycle-vehicle collision is to bring a personal injury claim directly against the liable party.
At Schackow & Mercadante, we have seen firsthand just how much bicycle accidents change the lives of victims and their loved ones. We understand the immense challenges you are facing—and we want to help.
Our Gainesville bicycle accident lawyers believe that you deserve justice. You should not have to suffer the life-altering consequences of someone else’s negligent or wrongful behavior on your own. Our team is here to support you in your fight for fair compensation, ready to provide the dedicated representation you need to navigate the legal system.
We will handle every detail of your case, from gathering important evidence to negotiating with the insurance company to litigating and trying your case in court if necessary. You can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to maximize your recovery and help you get back on your feet. We are even able to help reduce our clients’ medical bills in many instances and are always happy to answer your questions and address your concerns along the way.
For a free initial consultation and case evaluation, call Schackow & Mercadante at (352) 261-6767 or contact us online using our secure request form.
“I met with Marie Banks to go over Car Accident Preparedness. She was awesome and so full of knowledge. Patient with all my questions and I left her office feeling good about the insurance I had and felt prepared if an accident were to happen. She treated me like family. Thank you! 10 out of 10 would definitely recommend.”
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