Cycling is one of the most used forms of transportation in Sarasota. For some, it’s their primary way to get around the city. For others, it’s a recreational activity that allows for fun, exercise, and improved mental well-being.
Unfortunately, cycling also comes with risks. Thousands of residents are involved in bicycle accidents every year. Accident victims can often be left with serious injuries, and their lives can be turned upside down as a result.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident in Sarasota, contact a personal injury lawyer at The Law Place to discuss your options. Our law firm has over 70 years of combined experience, so call us for a free no-obligation review of your case.
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Sarasota Cycling Accident Statistics
Bicycle accidents are frequent in Florida. According to a Traffic Safety Facts report published by the NHTSA, Florida had more bicycling deaths in 2017 than any other state. In 2018, the NHTSA reported a total of 6,568 bicycle accidents in the state, resulting in 6,175 injuries and 148 deaths.
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What Causes Cycling Accidents?
Several factors influence the number of bicycle accidents that occur around the Sarasota area every year. Some of them include:
- The number of bicyclists – With more bicycles on the road, there are more accidents than in areas with fewer bikers. The gorgeous year-round weather and number of tourists also mean that more people around the city are unfamiliar with the roads. Tourists who don’t often use bicycles as their primary source of transportation can also contribute to accidents.
- Operator errors – Errors made by cyclists and automobile drivers cause bicycle accidents. When either the bicyclist or the driver fails to yield at a traffic light or doesn’t give right of way, collisions happen.
- Environment – In some cases, bad weather can affect visibility. Cyclists who fail to wear reflective clothing at night are difficult to see, making collisions at night a risk.
- Distracted driving – Drivers who are texting or distracted are a significant danger to cyclists. Other common causes of bicycle collisions include speeding, drunk driving, road rage, and drowsy driving.
If you are in a cycling accident caused by a negligent driver, they may be held liable for the damages you suffer because of the collision. An experienced attorney can help you build your case to prove negligence and secure you the compensation you deserve for your injury.
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How to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Many bicycle accidents are preventable. While you can’t control the actions of other people on the road, following these tips will help you get from point A to point B safely:
- Make yourself visible – Wear bright colors so motorists can see you. Use a headlight and taillight if you’re driving after dark or in inclement weather. Attaching reflectors to your bike can help drivers on the road spot you from a distance.
- Follow the rules of the road – Never ride against traffic, as it makes it more difficult for drivers to see you. You should always obey traffic signals, stop signs, and one-way signs.
- Use bike lanes, trails, and paths – If possible, avoid riding on roads that aren’t bicycle-friendly.
- Don’t give in to distractions – Just as when you’re driving a car, you shouldn’t be using your phone while riding a bike. Staying focused on the road and avoiding hazards helps prevent collisions.
- Bike sober – Don’t ride your bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Respect pedestrians – Yield to people at crosswalks and avoid riding on sidewalks.
- Don’t wear headphones while riding – Your ability to hear an approaching vehicle can mean avoiding an accident, even if the driver is not paying attention. It can be hard to seek compensation for injury when the other party can prove you were wearing headphones at the time of the crash.
While safety gear will not prevent an accident, it could save your life and prevent severe injury, should you be involved in one. You should always wear a helmet and other protective gear whenever you ride, no matter how short the journey.
You are not legally required to wear a helmet if you are over the age of 16, but studies show that they save lives. Other protective gear, like gloves and knee pads, can help prevent an injury, such as a broken bone or road rash.
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What are the Consequences of Bicycle Accidents?
The consequences of bicycle accidents vary, but injuries are some of the most impactful. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Road rash – A term used to describe any personal injury to the skin from an accident.
- Broken bones – Any fractured bones received during a bicycle accident.
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – Any blows to the head during a bicycle accident.
- Joint dislocation – A separation in the joint during a bicycle accident.
- Internal bleeding – A result of trauma to internal blood vessels that cause blood to pool inside the body.
- Paralysis – An injury that leads to the loss of motor or muscle functions because of a bicycle accident.
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Who Pays for My Injuries?
When it comes to car insurance companies, Florida is a no-fault state, which means that whether or not you were at fault for the accident, you should seek compensation from your own car insurance. They should pay towards costs as a result of your injuries or for any property that was damaged as a result of the incident.
However, insurance companies may not cover all of your medical expenses or lost income, especially if your pain and suffering is severe. Therefore, you may consider taking legal action to gain compensation for your injuries. It is recommended that you speak to an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What to Do at the Scene of an Accident
If you are reading this pre-emptively or shortly after being involved in a bicycle accident in Sarasota, these are the steps you must take in order to give yourself the best chance of fighting for compensation.
- The first and most important thing you must do at the scene of a bicycle accident is to ensure that you, and anybody that you are responsible for, are made as safe as possible. This extends to any party that you can make safer than they currently are. This means moving to the side of the road and out of traffic, as well as moving away from any cars that could have compromised engines.
- Once you have followed step one, call the local Sarasota, FL., police immediately if anyone is injured, and start taking as many details down as you can about the bicycle accident. The more you record, the better your chances of a personal injury claim.
- Make a note of the color of the car, the type, make, condition, and registration number, if possible.
- If the at-fault driver has stuck around, take all of their details, including address, name, phone number, the insurance company, insurance number. Record as much as possible. If the at-fault driver looks like they are wary, remind them that it is law in Sarasota, FL., to provide these details after a crash.
- A great way to record the details of the accident is through a quick sketch of the events. Draw the road that you are on, with two squares labeled “A” and “B,” one will be you, and one will be the person at fault. Draw arrows to show the directions both parties were traveling in. Your designated law firm will find this extremely helpful when seeking compensation.
- Call a reputable Sarasota bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible and get a free consultation and advice on what to do next.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Sarasota Bicycle Accident
If you are in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, call 911 to request emergency help. Even if you do not think you were seriously injured, you should report the accident to the local Sarasota police and get examined by a medical professional in a reputable Sarasota hospital. If you do not seek medical attention within a two week period following an accident, you could lose your chance at claiming any compensation.
Contact a lawyer in Sarasota as soon as possible following the accident. Seeking legal advice quickly will strengthen your chances of securing compensation.
After the accident, you will need to document all of the expenses you incur. Keep all relevant bills and receipts in a dedicated folder. You should also make paper copies or scan a digital copy to keep safe. These documents will be important in order to calculate and recover your damages. You should provide these as early as possible during the free consultation. This will allow your chosen law firm to seek compensation as quickly and effectively as possible.
It is also a good idea to keep a journal documenting your pain and suffering. Keep detailed notes of how the accident has affected your life. These notes should include your levels of pain, any challenges you face performing routine tasks, difficulty moving or traveling, and even any strain the accident may have placed on relationships in your life.
Contact a Sarasota Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
The aftermath of a bicycle accident is tricky to navigate alone. An experienced personal injury attorney in Sarasota can provide the assistance you need throughout the legal process.
The Sarasota bicycle accident lawyers at The Law Place are dedicated to fighting for your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve after a collision.
We work on your case as a team so that you can benefit from our combined experience and skills. If you have been injured in a Sarasota bicycle accident, contact The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at our law firm.
Call us at (941) 444-4444.
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