This is a pretty common question asked either by the injured cyclist or by their spouse calling on their behalf. Legally, there’s usually not a clear yes or no answer. But here are some of the considerations that will come into play.
First, if you are a member of an organized cycling club and completed their club application, there may be language in the application which waives or gives up the right for you to bring a negligence claim against the club or ride participants during a club event. This applies even if there was clear negligence or fault by the club or the rider. You have to go back and carefully look at the application you filled out with club. This is pretty common language in most club applications for membership.
Second, there must be some basis to argue the cyclist who caused you to fall was at fault by doing something which was negligent or careless. This could include needlessly aggressive riding, carelessly running into someone, and careless inattention to the location of cyclists around them or some other similar argument. Each cycling accident is unique. The facts of how they occur are unique. The facts will determine if there is an argument which would support a case of negligence.
Third, there must be someone from whom to collect financial recovery for the injuries or losses you suffered. Typically, that means insurance since it is extremely difficult to collect money from a private individual in Florida. A cyclist who owns a home and has homeowners insurance should be covered under their Homeowner’s Policy for any careless or negligent act while riding their bike. Most people don’t realize they are covered by their homeowners insurance for many activities away from their home such as cycling or as a pedestrian, for example.
Finally, there is the question of whether this is a claim that should be brought even if all the elements are present to allow bringing the case. That will be an individual decision, not only for the injured cyclist, but for the lawyer. It comes down to whether it’s the right thing to do in the eyes of most people.
Get a free copy of the Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook to learn more about safe cycling and the steps you should take if you are involved in a cycling accident.