Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney

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Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyerFort Lauderdale, the “Venice of America,” is a cyclist’ paradise. With its picturesque canals, year-round sunshine, and many attractions, it’s no wonder that locals and tourists alike choose to explore the city on two wheels.

Yet, with the influx of visitors and the hustle and bustle of busy Fort Lauderdale traffic, the dangers for bicyclists become ever more apparent. Add to this mix of distracted drivers and the continuous pull of their phones; the risk increases exponentially.

Imagine being hit by one such distracted motorist while crossing NE 32nd street after a leisurely afternoon at Shooters Waterfront, or facing a hit and run on E. Las Olas Blvd just outside the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Situations like these make seeking a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer not just a wise choice but often a necessity.

The chilling fact is that Florida leads the country in bicycle fatalities. With its vibrant urban environment, Fort Lauderdale is not exempt from this worrying trend. And while the city offers a range of experiences, the mix of regular traffic, an influx of tourists unfamiliar with local roads, and a growing number of bicycles makes for a dangerous cocktail.

If you or a loved one has experienced the trauma of a bicycle accident in the city, enlisting the help of a bicycle accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale is essential. At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, we specialize in protecting your rights, ensuring you get the justice you deserve. We’re not just familiar with Florida’s bicycle accident laws; we’re also deeply rooted in the Fort Lauderdale community. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.

How Often Do Bicycle Accidents Occur in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

Fort Lauderdale is a city that combines the charm of coastal beauty with the buzz of urban life. Its appeal isn’t just limited to the locals; the city is a magnet for tourists worldwide. However, this influx of visitors, especially pedalcyclists, has also brought some challenges.

Tourism and Commuters

Florida’s significant seasonal tourism is a crucial factor in the spike in bicycle accidents. States with substantial seasonal tourism, such as Florida, experience a considerable increase in population during peak times that can’t be measured purely by the number of residents. With its beautiful beaches, canals, and cultural events, Fort Lauderdale attracts many visitors daily. In addition, the city’s population may not accurately reflect the number of bicyclists. Fort Lauderdale, at peak tourist season may have considerably more people biking than other cities in the US.

As experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, we are well aware that this increase in cyclists, who might not be familiar with the local roadways and traffic behaviors, increases the risk of accidents.

Other Factors Contributing to the High Number of Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale sees its share of bicycling accidents often due to driver error. In many cases, other drivers, due to negligence or sheer recklessness, are the culprits behind these accidents. When drivers aren’t vigilant or engage in irresponsible behavior, they might overlook a bicyclist, leading to dire consequences. Some primary causes of bicycle accidents in Fort Lauderdale include:

  • Driver Distraction – Texting, calling, or any distraction poses a grave danger.
  • Drowsy and Fatigued Driving – Tired drivers can make poor decisions or have slowed reactions.
  • Failure to Yield – Ignoring right-of-way rules can result in dangerous collisions.
  • Hazardous Road Conditions – Potholes, debris, or slippery surfaces can trip cyclists.
  • Impaired Driving and Cycling – Alcohol and drugs diminish the ability to operate vehicles safely.
  • Incorrect Lane Changes – Abrupt or un-signaled changes can surprise and endanger cyclists.
  • Lack of Experience – Inexperienced drivers or cyclists might not fully understand road safety rules.
  • Poor Passing Distance – Close passes can be terrifying and dangerous for cyclists.
  • Reckless Driving – Irresponsible maneuvers and aggressive driving often put cyclists at risk.
  • Speeding – Faster speeds reduce reaction times and can lead to severe impacts.

By understanding these causes, Fort Lauderdale can work to create a safer environment for cyclists. City officials can identify the factors contributing to these accidents, making it easier to develop solutions ranging from infrastructure improvements to public awareness campaigns. As a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney will tell you, addressing these issues not only protects the rights and lives of cyclists but also improves Fort Lauderdale’s vision of a sustainable and vibrant urban future.

Why Are There So Many Bicycle Accidents in Fort Lauderdale?

As experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers we are often asked how often they occur in the city.

Bicycle accidents are unfortunately not uncommon in Fort Lauderdale, a city that, due to its scenic beauty and pleasant weather, sees a high volume of cyclists throughout the year. The state of Florida, of which Fort Lauderdale is a prominent city, has been significantly impacted by this issue.

Since 2018, Florida has consistently topped the list with the most bicycle fatalities. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the alarming rise in these tragic incidents has been a cause for concern for both the state government and safety advocates. On average, 7.6 bicyclists are killed in Florida per 1 million people, which is twice as high as in California. Additionally, bicyclist fatalities make up 4.9% of all traffic fatalities in the state, and 966 cyclists died in 2021 in the nation, the highest number since 1975.

Looking deeper into the data, a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that Florida had the highest number of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2021, with 170. Also, Florida’s pedalcyclist fatality percentage of 5.1% was almost double the national average of 2.4%. While the report offers a national perspective, the Florida trends are particularly distressing compared to other states.

Experienced Attorneys Holding Negligent Individuals Responsible

After a bicycle accident, consulting an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale becomes an all-important choice. They are a source of invaluable knowledge, especially when dealing with complex cases. A skilled attorney will investigate the incident, ensuring the victim’s rights are protected while determining who is at fault. This includes gathering evidence, analyzing witness accounts, and sometimes using video evidence to establish a straightforward narrative.

The insurance environment in Florida, particularly Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance, is complicated. While it does offer some coverage for bicycle accidents, it frequently falls short of meeting the full needs of the injured. An attorney ensures that victims understand their coverage and receive the maximum compensation, closing any potential financial gaps.

In Fort Lauderdale personal injury cases, proving negligence is critical. Every Floridian driver has an unavoidable duty of care. Expert Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys highlight the violation of this duty, fighting for fair compensation through settlements or court proceedings. They help victims make informed decisions to achieve the best possible outcome.

What If the Bicyclist Was Partially Responsible for the Accident?

As skilled bicycle accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, we know that the modified comparative negligence rule can significantly impact how the court awards damages after an accident. This rule acknowledges that multiple parties can be involved in an accident and adjusts compensation accordingly. For example, if the court finds a bicyclist 30% at fault in an accident, they can reduce their potential payment by that percentage.

To better understand this concept, consider a hypothetical situation. An avid cyclist, Sarah is riding her bike down a Florida street. She crosses an intersection without checking for oncoming traffic as she approaches it. Tom, a driver, is approaching the same intersection simultaneously while changing the song on his car’s stereo. Tom is distracted while driving and doesn’t notice Sarah and collides with her. Sarah sustained significant injuries due to the impact, resulting in medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, totaling $200,000 in damages.

Following an investigation and trial, the jury concludes that, while Tom was primarily to blame due to his distraction, Sarah also had some responsibility for failing to ensure the road was clear. They decided that Sarah was 20% to blame, while Tom was 80% to blame. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, Sarah’s $200,000 compensation would be reduced by her 20% fault, resulting in a $40,000 deduction. As a result, instead of the total amount, she would receive $160,000.

Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Because of the seriousness of the consequences for the victims, hit-and-run accidents involving cyclists in Fort Lauderdale, FL, have prompted legislative action. Recognizing the growing concern, the Florida legislature took a decisive step in 2014 by introducing the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” which Governor Rick Scott signed into law.

A dedicated triathlete, Aaron Cohen, was tragically killed during a ride when a driver hit him and drove away from the scene rather than offer help or report the accident. These events can end or change people’s lives and leave families with loss and a lack of justice.

Designed to protect “vulnerable users” on the road, this law targets cyclists, pedestrians, road construction workers, and disabled people. This law requires drivers who cause serious injuries to stop and stay at the scene. It is a second-degree felony to violate this requirement. The law imposes severe penalties based on the victim’s injuries to emphasize the gravity of fleeing such accidents. A hit-and-run driver faces 3 years in prison for bodily injury, 7 years for serious injury, and 10 years if the victim dies.

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, reach out to a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys today to learn more about your rights.

What Laws Must Bicycle Riders in Fort Lauderdale Adhere To?

At Schilling and Silvers, our bicycle accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale recommend understanding the laws and encouraging riding practices which promote safety.

Bicycle riders in Fort Lauderdale, as with all of Florida, must follow specific regulations to ensure their safety and that of other road users. Governed by Florida Statute 316.2065, these rules dictate different aspects of bicycle riding, from equipment requirements to riding behavior.

For starters, bicyclists must use a fixed, regular seat and ride with no more passengers than the bicycle was designed to carry. When riding between sunset and sunrise, bikes must be equipped with a white light visible from 500 feet at the front, a red reflector, and a red light visible from 600 feet at the rear. Additionally, cyclists under 16 must wear helmets that meet the federal safety standard.

While on the road, riders should always use the designated bike lane if one is provided. If not, they should ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable. However, there are exceptions, such as when overtaking another bicycle, preparing for a left turn, or when necessary to avoid any obstacles.

Florida's E-Bike Laws

As e-bikes gain popularity across the United States, Florida has adopted specific legislation to regulate their use and promote safety. In Florida, an e-bike is defined as a bicycle with fully functional pedals and an electric motor that does not exceed 750 watts. Notably, e-bikes are exempt from the usual licensing, registration, and insurance requirements for motor vehicles.

To ride an e-bike in Florida, a person must be at least 16 years old. Anyone under 18 is barred from riding an e-bike on streets, sidewalks, bike paths, or any other public right-of-way.

E-bikes in Florida can be divided into three types based on their top speed and the nature of the motor’s assistance. All three classes have legal access to bike lanes. On paths or trails separate from the roadway, however, only Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are permitted, which can provide motor assistance only when pedaled or stop offering any assistance once the speed reaches 20 mph.

What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you should seek medical attention, even if you do not think you are seriously injured. So, it’s important to get a full checkup from a doctor so that any injuries can be properly recorded.

Once you have seen a doctor, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Consulting  with the legal team at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys Property and Accident Attorneys, will help you understand your rights and will work to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

What NOT to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Fort Lauderdale

You should avoid specific actions after a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale to preserve the value of your potential claim and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Here are some critical “DON’Ts”:

  • Give recorded statements
  • Sign documents without an attorney
  • Dismiss medical attention
  • Be dishonest about your injuries
  • Ignore medical advice or stop treatment early
  • Hide prior injuries or conditions from healthcare providers
  • Lie to your attorney
  • Discuss your case with your doctor
  • Post about the accident or injuries online
  • Discuss your accident or claim with friends or colleagues

Understanding Settlements and Damages in Bicycle Accident Claims

Our Fort Lauderdale bicyle accident lawyers are well aware that these types of accidents can cause both physical and financial problems. When another party’s negligence causes an accident, victims may be eligible for compensation in a variety of ways:

Economic Damages

  • Lost Wages – If your injuries caused you to miss work or compromised your ability to perform your job, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost earnings. Severe damages that result in job loss or inability to work in the future are also considered in claims for lost income.
  • Medical Costs – Medical expenses are recoverable if you had a single doctor’s visit or needed extensive medical treatment as a result of the accident. This includes minor consultations and more extensive treatments such as emergency surgeries.
  • Physical Property Damage – Damages extend to personal properties affected in the accident. For instance, a wrecked bicycle, a broken cell phone, damaged glasses, or a ruined backpack are all claimable damages.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and Suffering – These damages include the emotional and physical trauma caused by the accident. This could include physical disfigurements that interfere with social interactions and mental anxieties, such as a developed fear of biking.
  • Punitive Damages – Typically, you don’t recover these damages through insurance claims. Punitive damages may be available in a lawsuit if the at-fault party acted with extreme negligence or malice. This category seeks to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the victim.

The most important thing that will affect how much compensation you get is how bad your injuries are. For example, if you were seriously injured and had a large amount of medical bills, you will most likely receive a larger settlement than if you were only slightly injured.

In some cases, cyclists who have been hit by cars have suffered permanent disabilities that have left them unable to work or participate in activities they once enjoyed. If this is the case, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages and future earnings, as well as for your pain and suffering.

What Are Some Common Injuries Caused by Bicycle Accidents in Fort Lauderdale?

When you are out on your bicycle, the last thing you are thinking about is getting into an accident. Unfortunately, accidents happen all the time, and when they do, it is important to know what kind of injuries you may be susceptible to. Here is a list of common injuries caused by bicycle accidents:

One of the most common injuries caused by bicycle accidents is a bone fracture. When you are involved in a collision, your bones can take a lot of impact. If the force of the impact is strong enough, your bones can break. The most common bones that are fractured in bicycle accidents are the collarbone, arm, and leg.

Another common injury caused by bicycle accidents is a concussion or a more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs when your head hits an object with enough force to cause your brain to bounce around inside your skull. A TBI is a more serious type of brain injury that can occur when your head hits an object with such force that it causes your brain to swell or bleed. Both concussions and TBIs can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. If you experience any of these symptoms after being involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to see a doctor right away.

Head and face injuries are also common in bicycle accidents. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious lacerations and facial fractures. Wearing a helmet can help reduce the severity of head and face injuries in the event of an accident.

Neck and back injuries are another type of injury that can be caused by a bicycle accident. These injuries can range from whiplash to herniated discs to fractured vertebrae. Neck and back injuries can be extremely painful and may require long-term treatment.

Soft tissue injuries are also common in bicycle accidents. Soft tissue refers to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that connect our bones together. When these tissues are damaged in an accident, it can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. Soft tissue injuries can take weeks or even months to heal properly.

Bicycle accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to more serious fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a helmet while riding can help reduce the severity of head and face injuries in the event of an accident.

Tips For Fort Lauderdale Bicyclists to Avoid Getting in an Accident

The first thing to understand is that bike accidents can occur for numerous reasons. Here are some of the most common mistakes our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys see which cyclists make that lead to accidents:

This is the most common cause of bike accidents. Many cyclists think they don’t need helmets because they’re “just riding around the block.” But even if you’re not going on a long ride, it’s still important to wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident.

If you’re going to be riding at night, it’s essential to have proper lighting on your bike so that cars can see you. Headlights and taillights are a must, and reflectors are also a good idea. So, ensure your lights are turned on before you start riding—don’t wait until it’s dark out!

This is against the law in many states, but even if it’s not, it’s still not a good idea. Cars expect bikes to ride in the same direction as them, so they might not see you if you ride against traffic. And if they don’t see you, they might hit you. So always ride with traffic, not against it.

Just like driving a car, riding a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal—and for a good reason. Being impaired makes it much more challenging to operate a bicycle safely and increases your chances of getting into an accident.

Serving Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The pleasant climate and flat terrain in Fort Lauderdale, FL, make it ideal for cycling. To capitalize on this opportunity and promote a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation, the city has been proactive in developing bike lanes, shared-use paths, and other infrastructure improvements. This is part of Fort Lauderdale’s commitment to making the city’s residents and visitors who prefer to travel on two wheels safer and more efficient.

  • A Perfect Bike Fit – This resource offers cyclists a personalized bike fit, ensuring riders have the best setup for their body geometry. Proper bike fitting can reduce injuries, increase comfort, and improve performance, making every ride more enjoyable.
  • Easy Bikes – Whether you’re looking to buy a new bicycle or need accessories and parts, Easy Bikes is the go-to destination. They offer various products for all cyclists, from casual riders to professionals.
  • Broward MPO – This comprehensive report by the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) offers insights into Broward County’s strategic action plan for biking and pedestrian safety. It’s a valuable resource for anyone keen on understanding the broader perspective of cycling safety and infrastructure in the region.

Contact Our Legal Team Today!

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, call us at 954-712-8877 as soon as possible to talk to our experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers.  Our dedicated team understands the unique challenges cyclists face and is committed to protecting their rights. Contact us today for expert legal guidance and representation if you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident. We will help ensure that you understand your rights and will work to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.

In addition to Fort Lauderdale, the experienced attorneys at our law firm serve Weston, Plantation, Hialeah, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Miami, Sunrise, and more.