Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Riding a bicycle has become increasingly popular as a way to commute and exercise. In fact, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of bicycle commuters increased 62 percent between 2000 and 2012. Unfortunately, the rise in riding has coincided with an increase in the number of bike accidents.
Florida is one of just six states where 54 percent of all nationwide bike accidents occurred. Many of the bike crashes occur because drivers do not understand how to safely share the road with people who ride their bikes. Victims can hold these drivers accountable for accident losses if motorists were careless or if the drivers failed to follow any of the safety rules of the road. Steinger, Greene & Feiner attorneys represent Tampa bike accident victims and can represent you if you wish to pursue a claim for compensation after a crash.
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Tampa Bicycle Accident Statistics
A report from the Wall Street Journal used federal data to unveil that the Tampa metro area has the most bicycle accident fatalities of any metro region in the nation. Sadly, the state of Florida ranked highly overall in their study – the next three spots went to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami, respectively.
A more recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2017, Florida had 125 of the total 783 U.S. bicyclist deaths, which is 16 percent! That figure means that bicycle accident deaths in Florida have tripled since 1975.
Figures from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) Department show that the county where much of metro Tampa is located, Hillsborough County, had a staggering 519 bicycle accidents in 2016. These collisions led to 495 injuries and 11 deaths.
Adjacent Pinellas had an even higher number of bicycle accidents in 2018: 622, leading to 583 injuries and seven deaths.
Why Tampa Is So Dangerous for Cyclists
Public safety officials and statisticians have several explanations for why bicycle accidents in Tampa are so high. The biggest factor is that many intersections have intentional design decisions that happen to make safe cycling nearly impossible, especially in heavy traffic.
In late 2018, the Tampa Bay Times conducted a study that pinpointed the 11 most dangerous intersections for cyclists. Eight of the intersections were in Pinellas County, two were in Hillsborough County, and one was in Pasco. Just two of the intersections had dedicated bike lanes. Most were in lower-income areas, where local workers were forced to ride alongside dangerous streets to get to work and make a living.
Forcing bicycle riders to directly share the road along high-speed highways can make an accident all but inevitable. Many Florida drivers become frustrated at cyclists because the two transportation methods don’t mix well. The lack of necessary infrastructure has them competing for lane space. Drivers may fail to yield, strike someone while being distracted, hit someone while speeding, or fail to use due diligence on the road.
Efforts like the Florida Complete Streets initiative aim to make roads safer for bicyclists by improving infrastructure and educating drivers.
Cyclists need to be cautious that they are following best safety practices. Thirty-six percent of riders say they don’t wear a helmet, according to an AAA Florida survey. Twenty-one percent of riders say they ride in the left-hand lane against the flow of traffic. This is a major safety hazard since oncoming vehicles may not see them in time or may be anticipating them in the opposite direction.
Common Crash-Related Cycling Injuries
From 2010 to 2012, there was a 16 percent rise in the number of annual bicyclist deaths. Many bike riders also suffer very serious injuries including:
- Head injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Road burns
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
The bicycle does not provide any protection to a rider who is involved in an accident, so it is very common for a bike rider to face permanent or costly injury after a collision. If the driver of the car was fully or partly responsible for causing the crash, the rider can pursue a claim for compensation.
How Can I File a Lawsuit?
Victims of a bike accident can obtain compensation in one of two ways:
- Negotiating an out-of-court settlement
- Pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death claim at trial
When negotiating a settlement, it is important to remember that an insurer is typically going to try to pay as little as possible. Once you have accepted the terms of a settlement agreement and signed a waiver of liability in exchange for compensation, you cannot change your mind. This means you may not be fully compensated for losses if you accept a settlement that is too low. Before you sign a settlement agreement, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Your lawyer can work to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and can help you to understand your legal option
If your case is handled in a court trial, you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant driver was at fault for causing the crash. You have to show that the driver was negligent and the negligence led to your injuries.
In some cases, you may be able to pursue a claim against multiple defendants after a bicycle crash, such as a driver and the driver’s employer. A Tampa bike accident lawyer will help you determine who you should sue.
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Steinger, Greene & Feiner has represented more than 32,000 personal injury clients including many victims of bicycle collisions. If you or a loved one was hurt in Tampa or surrounding areas, call today to schedule a FREE consultation with an attorney.
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