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Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

Helping Florida’s Most Vulnerable Road Users in Tampa and Statewide

Of all the people who use the roads and city streets, bicycle riders and pedestrians are the most vulnerable to serious injury or death in a collision with a motor vehicle. For cyclists, only a light metal frame and possibly a helmet serve to protect them, and pedestrians are completely exposed to an impact. While bicycle and pedestrian accidents happen less frequently than car accidents, not all car accidents result in injury, but almost all bicycle and pedestrian accidents do. Drivers might not even bother to exchange information after just a little bump with another car, but even a low-speed collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian can cause severe injuries.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident in Florida, you’ll find the help you need at Chadwick & Chadwick, P.A. Based in Tampa, our Florida personal injury law firm serves clients statewide, with decades of experience taking injury cases to trial and settling them out of court. We have the skills and resources needed to handle your case effectively, and we go above and beyond to provide our clients with personal attention and the high level of service they deserve. If you’ve been hurt because of the negligence of another, let us help you get the medical care and compensation you need to deal with the harm you’ve suffered.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries to the rider, including head injuries, spinal injuries, broken bones and severe lacerations. Bicycle accidents lead to thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths in Florida every year. Tragically, Florida leads the nation (number one or number two year after year) in fatal bicycle accidents, and Tampa ranks as the deadliest metro area in the country for bicyclists.

Bicycles are classed as vehicles in Florida, which means they cannot ride on the sidewalks and must use the road. Cyclists are required to obey all traffic laws and yield the right-of-way to vehicles in appropriate circumstances. Drivers, for their part, must share the road with cyclists by driving with care. Specifically, Florida law imposes certain duties on drivers when overtaking and passing a bicycle. According to Florida’s “three feet” law, drivers must:

  • Give an appropriate signal
  • Pass to the left at a safe distance of not less than three feet
  • Not return to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bike

Drivers can be liable for an accident if they squeeze or crowd out the cyclist by passing too closely. Other dangers faced by cyclists include parked drivers who open their car doors into traffic, as well as drivers who change lanes without signaling and checking their blind spots, follow too closely, or otherwise drive negligently or aggressively around bicycles.

Even when vehicle drivers cause bicycle accidents, their insurance companies can still make it difficult by claiming the cyclist was somehow negligent or riding recklessly in traffic. Shifting the blame like this can reduce the amount they owe or even defeat a claim entirely. Legal help is essential to hold the responsible party fully accountable to you.

As a cyclist, you can help avoid getting hit by riding visibly and predictably, obeying the rules of the road, signaling your intentions, staying alert, and riding defensively. If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident in Florida, call Chadwick & Chadwick for a free consultation and personal service from a team of dedicated and experienced personal injury attorneys.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are increasing every year in Florida and are already up to nearly 10,000 annually, resulting in thousands of injuries, many of them incapacitating, and hundreds of deaths each year. According to the nonprofit Smart Growth America, Florida is the number one most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians. In addition, nine of the top 20 most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians in the country are in Florida, which dominates the top ten as well. These nine metro areas are :

  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (#1 most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the United States)
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (#4)
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach (#5)
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (#6)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (#8)
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven (#9)
  • Jacksonville (#10)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (#11)
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (#13)

According to Florida law, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in any marked crosswalk and either on the same side of the roadway as the driver or about to enter the driver’s side of the street. The law requires drivers to stop and stay stopped until the pedestrian is safely across the street or on the other side of the road.

Most pedestrian accidents occur at crosswalks, despite the fact that pedestrians have the right-of-way there. The leading ways drivers cause these crashes by their negligence or misconduct include:

  • Running stop signs
  • Disobeying traffic signals
  • Turning left while pedestrians are crossing
  • Passing a stopped car without realizing the car has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross
  • Speeding
  • Texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors
  • Drunk driving

Get Help Now After a Bicycle or Pedestrian Accident in Florida

An unexpected, traumatic incident like a bicycle or pedestrian accident is a confusing and chaotic time. Immediate legal assistance can help ensure you get appropriate medical care while collecting and preserving the evidence necessary to prove a strong case for the maximum compensation you will need to put your life back together after a devastating crash. Chadwick & Chadwick can help. Call our office in Tampa at 813-264-1500 for a free consultation and immediate assistance in the state of Florida. Our law firm is here for you in your time of need.

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