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Florida Keys Injury Lawyers > Blog > Cycling Injury > Injured In A Bicycle Accident? You Are Not Alone.

Injured In A Bicycle Accident? You Are Not Alone.

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The Florida Keys are unique, in that many of its residents commute in-and-around town on bicycles, as opposed to cars. Additionally, tourists routinely rent bicycles to explore the city. This results in an increased number of bicycle accidents, not only to our residents but to tourists. Unfortunately, these accidents can be catastrophic. In 2019 alone, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes.

When a crash occurs between a car and bicycle, it is the cyclist who is most likely to be injured.   Unlike the driver, they do not have the luxury of being encased in a steel frame.

Here are some tips to avoid being injured while riding a bicycle, some common bicycle injuries, and how we can help if you are injured in a crash.

Cyclists are at a higher risk to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Tourists drive around Key West to observe all the sights and sounds of Key West. This leads to distracted drivers.  To make matters worse, some of these tourists are impaired.   Bicycles are much smaller than vehicles.  Bicycles are also easily maneuverable, so they can fit in spots where cars cannot.  Cyclists also operate at a much slower speed then cars. As a result, cyclists can be difficult for (distracted) drivers to see, especially in “blind spots” when a vehicle is changing lanes.  Some of the more populated intersections in Key West (i.e. North Roosevelt and Palm Avenue and Duval and Fleming) are notorious for bicycle accidents because of these blind spots.   We received multiple phone calls each year of cars hitting cyclists in this intersection.

Another area known for bicycle crashes is North Roosevelt near the Gordon Food Service Store.   We have represented multiple cyclists struck by distracted drivers right outside this  parking lot.

Tips to avoid crashes

  1. Be visible. The best way to avoid a crash is to be visible. Wear bright clothes and equip your bicycle with lights and reflectors. Always wear a helmet.
  2. Ride defensively. Ride with the FLOW OF TRAFFIC.   If crossing the street, motorists will look left, right, left for traffic.  When you are to the driver’s LEFT, they are more likely to see you.
    1. Some of our biggest crashes (most significant injuries) have involved cyclists attempting to cross an intersection to the RIGHT of the vehicle.
  3. Stay predictable. Always assume that the driver does NOT see you, and act accordingly. Do not weave in/out of traffic.
  4. Be aware of the time of day. Regardless of the season, bicycle injuries occur most often at dawn and dusk – where a driver’s vision could be compromised by the sun.    If you are riding during these times, be extra vigilant.
  5. Tuck and tie your shoelaces so they do not get caught in your bike chain.
  6. Obey street signs and signals, just like a car.
  7. Stay off your cell phone. Purchase a cell phone holder to attach to your bike.
  8. Always minimize riding on the sidewalks. Cars do not expect to see bicycles on a sidewalk and may not look for you when backing out – especially on their own driveway.

Common Injuries

In car crashes, victims commonly injure their neck and lower back.  Bicycle crashes are different, however. In a bicycle crash, victims are often struck on one side and knocked over on their other side.  Let’s assume a car crashes into the left of a cyclist.     The cyclist may injure their left . e from the impact (i.e. broken kneecap).   In order to brace themselves for the fall, the victim outstretches their right arm. The victim then tears their right shoulder and breaks their right wrist.   Neck and head injuries are also common, especially if the victim hits his head on the pavement.

Cyclists deserve protection

Cycling is way of life in Key West.   Cyclists deserve to be protected.

Our personal injury attorneys have resolved hundreds of cycling cases in and around Key West.  We are skilled at educating insurance adjusters on why vehicles should see/anticipate cyclists – especially in the Keys.  (Unlike big Miami firms), we are also familiar with the roads throughout the city and why the Keys are unique, compared to the rest of the Florida.  We know which roads are unsafe and why they are known for being unsafe.  This gives us a tremendous advantage when advocating that the other party was at-fault for your crash.

We recently resolved a case where our client, a local resident of Key West, was riding her bicycle home from her job.  The time was approximately 6:00 p.m. A young girl (from out-of-town) pulled out in front of her while attempting to cross the intersection of North Roosevelt and Palm Avenue.  This intersection is notorious for drivers trying to make U-turns at the light (even though there is a “NO U-TURN” sign prominently displayed.)   The at-fault driver failed to use reasonable care (by making an illegal U-turn) and crashed into our client.

Our client fell on her side and suffered injuries to her neck, shoulder and wrist.  She was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.   She eventually needed surgery for a torn rotator cuff and fractured wrist. The insurance company’s initial offer was embarrassing low as they believed our client should have done more to avoid the crash.    The insurance company’s adjuster was based out of Lakeland, Florida and was not familiar with the Florida Keys. We explained that our client rides her bike every day to-and-from work.  She always wears a helmet and reflective gear. She was not on her cell phone.

Once we educated the out-of-area adjuster on the fact that many people (like our client) in Key West use bicycles as their primary source of transportation to commute to-and-from work – and that this particular intersection has a no U-Turn sign, the insurance adjuster reevaluated the claim and made a fair offer.

We also know the medical providers in town.  Navigating treatment in the Keys – even for locals – can be difficult. In the aforementioned case, we helped our client receive medical treatment even though she did not have health insurance.  Count on us to help you get the medical treatment you need and deserve. Call us anytime – 24/7 – for a free consultation.

Call us now!

Whether you are a tourist or resident, we are on your side! We aggressively represent cycling accident victims. Call one of our Key West accident specialists now for a free consultation.

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