Sharing the Road: Florida Bicycle Accidents

This past August, Tampa resident Michael Duriel Lee was killed by a hit-and-run motorist while bicycling to work. Mr. Lee was struck while riding on the right shoulder of a highway overpass. Upon impact, Mr. Lee flew over a guardrail and fell to his death.

Common causes of bicycle accidents

Bicyclists constantly face the risk of being unnoticed by drivers of other vehicles. The following acts of driver carelessness account for many bicyclists’ injuries:

  • Being distracted by mobile devices
  • Driving impaired
  • Sideswiping cyclists when riding too close or lane changing
  • Neglecting to stop or yield properly
  • Making wide turns in front of oncoming cyclists

Responsibilities and protections of bicyclists

In Florida, a bicycle is considered another vehicle on the road. Among other things, cyclists must stop at signs and lights, and ride with the traffic flow. However, since cyclists do not enjoy the safeguards of enclosed motor vehicles, Florida law recognizes their vulnerability and gives them added protections. For example, Florida drivers must leave a minimum of three feet of space when passing bicycles.

Cyclists are entitled to insurance benefits for motor vehicle accidents via personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Given the potential of serious injuries being insufficiently compensated by basic PIP coverage, it may also be beneficial to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself against these drivers and hit and run drivers.

If your insurance compensation is insufficient to cover your damages in a Clearwater bicycle accident, you may need the aid of a knowledgeable Florida accident attorney to obtain just compensation.

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