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Bike accidents, legal rights and responsibilities in Florida: what you need to know




Cycling is a popular mode of transportation and recreation in Florida, however, like any mode of transportation, biking carries inherent risks, and accidents can occur. In this blog, we will delve into the legal rights and responsibilities of cyclists involved in bike accidents in Florida.


First of all, it's necessary to understand some of Florida's Bicycle laws and regulations cyclists should be aware of:


  • Bicycles are considered vehicles under Florida law, and cyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as motorists.


  • Florida does not require bicycle registration or licensing for cyclists.


  • Cyclists should ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.


  • In most cases, cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks in Florida, however, local ordinances may vary.


  • When a designated bike lane is available, cyclists must use it.


  • Florida law requires cyclists aged 16 and under to wear helmets while riding, and is also highly recommended for all cyclists to ensure their safety.


  • Cyclists are required to have a white front light visible from 500 feet and a red rear light or reflector visible from 600 feet when riding between sunset and sunrise.


  • Cyclists are allowed to pass motor vehicles on the left, as long as it can be done safely.


  • Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited in Florida.



Establishing Liability in Bike Accidents


Determining liability is crucial for seeking compensation for injuries and damages.


Florida follows a comparative negligence system, which means that liability can be divided among multiple parties based on the degree of fault. To establish liability, it is necessary to prove that the other party involved in the accident was negligent and caused the cyclist's injuries or damages as a result.


Other important aspects to consider when it comes to establishing liability in bike accident cases are:


  • Driver's Responsibility: motorists have a duty of care toward cyclists due to their vulnerability on the road, maintaining a safe distance.


  • Cyclists also have responsibilities, this includes following traffic laws, using appropriate signals, and wearing reflective gear when riding at night.


  • Evidence and documentation are crucial for establishing liability. This may include photographs of the accident scene, eyewitness statements, police reports, medical records, and any available video footage to provide valuable support when determining fault.




Seeking Medical Attention and Documenting Injuries


After a bike accident, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for your well-being and creating a record of injuries. After a bike accident in Florida you should:


  • Ensure your safety, if you're in immediate danger move to a safe location away from traffic.


  • Call for help, dial emergency services (911) if you or anyone else involved requires immediate medical attention.


  • Exchange information, and obtain contact details, names, and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident.


  • File a police report. If law enforcement does not arrive at the scene, visit the nearest police station to file an accident report.


  • Seek medical attention even if you don't feel seriously injured.


  • Preserve evidence: If you have visible damage to your bike or other personal belongings, document it with photos as well and write down your account of the accident while it's fresh in your memory.


  • Notify your insurance company, even if you believe the other party is at fault. Follow their instructions for filing a claim and provide them with all necessary documentation.


  • Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in bicycle accidents. They can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.


It's important to consider your specific circumstances. Legal and medical advice may vary, so it's always a good idea to consult professionals like Hamblen Injury Law who specialize in personal injury law and healthcare.



Filing an Insurance Claim


In addition, it is important to take other points into account when filing an insurance claim:


  1. Your insurance company may require you to undergo an independent medical evaluation (IME) by a doctor of their choosing.


2. Obtain repair estimates from reputable bike shops. Provide these estimates to your insurance company as part of your claim.


3. Negotiate a settlement: your insurance will make a settlement offer. Review the offer carefully and consider seeking legal advice before accepting or negotiating the settlement amount.



Statute of Limitations


The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally four years. This means you have four years from the date of the bike accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.

By familiarizing yourself with Florida's bicycle laws, knowing how to establish liability, and seeking appropriate legal guidance, you can navigate the aftermath of a bike accident with confidence. Safety should always be a priority, and being aware of your rights can help ensure a safer biking experience.


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