Key West & Marathon Bicycle Accident Lawyer
There’s no question that bicycle riders are at a disadvantage on the road, compared to occupants of motor vehicles. Bicycles are smaller and harder to notice, they travel more slowly, and riders are virtually unprotected in a crash, except for maybe a helmet. In 2019 alone, cyclists in Monroe County experienced 96 crashes which resulted in two deaths and 92 non-fatal injuries. That’s a fatal or non-fatal injury in 98% of bicycle accidents, compared to car accidents that year which ended in injury or death 58% of the time. We have represented countless bicyclists who have been struck by vehicles exiting the Conch Plaza on North Roosevelt (Gordon Food Service Store location), the mid-block crosswalks along Roosvelt Blvd (people suggest they are confusing), and within the Historic District Downtown.
Locals and tourists alike often prefer to ditch their car keys and explore The Keys from the vantage point of a bicycle seat. Other visitors who drive down from points north or rent a car at the airport might not be used to driving around so many cyclists; they don’t know the laws, etiquette and basic rules for safety, creating a dangerous atmosphere for the bikers.
There is a lot of negative attribution to cyclists. Drivers consider cyclists to be irresponsible, erratic, and unpredictable. In fact, most cyclists in the Florida Keys are cautious, rule-abiding, and predictable. It is the drivers (locals and tourists alike) who are unfamiliar with how to share the road with cyclists. Their negligence (coupled with inexperience) is the cause of so many crashes in the Florida Keys.
Bicycle accidents cause serious injuries, and serious injuries need serious lawyers. At Florida Keys Injury we are committed to getting the most compensation available for our injured clients. We treat our clients with compassion and respect. We have represented pedicab drivers, avid bike fitness enthusiasts, locals commuting to work, and tourists alike. We listen to you, keep you informed and updated, and remain accessible to you whenever you need us or have a question about your case. We aggressively seek out the best result for you by taking on the insurance companies and holding them accountable for the harm caused by negligent drivers. Learn more below about Florida bicycle accident laws, and call Florida Keys Injury if you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash with a motor vehicle in Key West, Marathon or elsewhere in the Florida Keys.
Bikes Are Vehicles but not Motor Vehicles
Bicycles are considered vehicles and are subject to all Florida laws regulating vehicles, except for those that by their nature wouldn’t apply to bicycles, such as laws written specifically for motor vehicles. Bicycles can be lawfully ridden on the street in Key West, Marathon and throughout The Keys. This includes taking up the entire lane by riding in the center of the lane, which is often safer for the cyclist. Cyclists who ride too close to the edge of their lane risk being passed in their lane by a motor vehicle which can crowd or squeeze them out and push them out of their lane into a hazardous situation.
An example of a motor vehicle law that doesn’t apply to bicycles is the impeding law. It is illegal to drive so slowly as to impede or block the flow of traffic. This law applies to motor vehicles but not to bicycles. A cyclist who is using the entire lane is not impeding traffic in violation of the law. A courteous rider will pull over whenever it is safe to do so to allow traffic to pass, but cyclists should never endanger themselves for the convenience of impatient drivers. An exception is for riders who are riding two abreast; in this instance, they should not ride so slowly as to impede traffic.
Bike Lanes Are Preferential Use
Some streets in Key West have designated bike lanes. Where they exist, it is preferable for cyclists to use them, but their use is not mandatory; riders still have the legal right to occupy a single lane of traffic. Bike lanes are safest for through travel; cyclists are safer to leave the bike lane when turning right to avoid a collision with a right-turning driver or when turning left to avoid a collision with oncoming traffic.
It is common for cyclists to ride on Whitehead Street, often passing the Southernmost Point, which also serves as a heavy tourist area. We have achieved substantial compensation for cyclists injured in crashes where the defense has claimed our client was blocking the flow of traffic, not using a dedicated bike lane or was otherwise in violation of the law. Unknown to most people, this section of roadway has multiple signs reminding drivers that bikes may use the full lane. As our attorneys are familiar with the Florida Keys, we are equipped to handle common defenses to these types of cases.
Bicycle Riders Get No-Fault Benefits
If you are injured in a crash while riding your bike, you can file a claim for no-fault benefits through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) if you own an insured vehicle. If you don’t have a covered vehicle, you can access the PIP coverage of another member of your household or that of the driver who hit you. This important insurance can provide as much as $10,000 in benefits, covering 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages.
Fault Claims Are Needed for Serious Injuries
If you have what is considered a “serious injury” under Florida law, you will want to move outside of the no-fault law and file a negligence claim directly against the at-fault driver (and his or her insurance company). If you qualify for a negligence or “fault” claim, you can recover the full amount of your past and future medical costs and lost wages as well as monetary damages for your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering include your loss of enjoyment of life.
Common injuries suffered by cyclists injured in a car crash include head injuries, neck injuries, road rash, broken bones (i.e. wrist, hip) and torn ligaments (i.e. knee and elbow).
Getting compensation for your injuries is not as simple as claiming no-fault benefits, however. Instead, you must be able to prove that the other driver was negligent in causing the accident and that their negligence caused your injuries. The driver’s insurer, meanwhile, might argue you were the one to blame for the wreck, at least partially, or that your injuries aren’t as bad as you say they are. If they do offer a settlement, it is likely to be far below the actual value of your claim. Let Florida Keys Injury attorneys help you get you the compensation you deserve. Call 786-589-7944 for a free consultation.
Florida Keys Injury Lawyers Can Help
Proving your claim requires knowledge of Florida personal injury law as well as knowing how to gather the appropriate evidence and build a strong case. Then you have to know how to present that case to the insurance company in a way that convinces them to settle for an appropriate amount rather than face you in court in front of a jury. That’s where a Florida Keys Injury lawyer comes in. We are local attorneys with extensive experience representing cyclists injured in car accidents. We spend every day helping accident victims recover the right amount of compensation when they have been hurt by the negligence of another. It’s guaranteed that the insurance company has professional claims adjusters on their side who spend every day trying to avoid liability or settle claims as cheaply as possible. You owe it to yourself to have someone on your side every bit as skilled and experienced as the insurance claims adjuster but who is also compassionate and dedicated – and familiar with the Florida Keys – to get you the best result possible.
Call Florida Keys Injury After a Bicycle Accident
For help after a bicycle accident in The Keys, call Florida Keys Injury at 786-589-7944 for a free consultation with a skilled and experienced Key West & Marathon bicycle accident lawyer. There is no fee until after we recover compensation for you.