Clearwater Florida Bicycle Accident FAQs

These FAQs will help you better understand Florida's cycling laws, safety tips every cyclist should know, common injuries cyclists sustain, the different types of bicycle accidents and general questions on how the personal injury claims process works. Our FAQs are updated frequently by our team of local experts on behalf of Clearwater bicycle accident attorney, Jim Dodson.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle collision as a result of someone’s carelessness on the road, we are here for you. We have a special commitment and passion for holding drivers responsible for bicycle accidents. Jim Dodson, a cyclist himself has over 25 years experience successfully representing cycling cases and wrongful death claims. You need to feel certain that you can turn your bicycle injury case over to a lawyer who cares about you. If you have immediate questions and want to speak to a bicycle accident lawyer, call our office at 888-815-6398 to schedule a time to discuss your accident case. There is never a fee for a consultation.

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  • What’s the Law in Florida on Opening the Car Door into a Cyclist?

    Florida statute 316.2005 says that no person shall open a car door until it is reasonably safe to do so. This puts the responsibility on the driver or passenger in the car to make sure that they can do so safely. They can be cited if they open their car door into the path of a pedestrian, cyclist or even another vehicle. This has nothing to do with whether a cyclist is in a bicycle lane. It clearly applies to the situation where the occupant of the vehicle opens her door into a bike lane, but it is not limited to those situations.

    In most situations when a cyclist is approaching a car they are doing so on the driver’s side and generally are keeping an eye out for whether the car they’re approaching has someone sitting behind the wheel who could potentially open a door into their path. But those are not the only situations where this problem can occur.

    I represented a cycling client who was riding in a bike lane approaching an intersection with a line of cars which were slowing or were stopped. A vehicle passed the cyclist, stopped in the line of traffic at which point the front right passenger opened their door suddenly to get out of the vehicle. The door caught my cyclist square on the bike and their body, causing significant injury. The passenger was cited by the police for improperly opening the door of the vehicle.

    A cyclist who’s been injured when a car door is opened into their path has a claim against the insurance of the vehicle involved their injuries, medical expenses and other harms.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Did you find this article helpful? Share this on Facebook or Google+ to let others know what their rights are. If you have been involved in a similar accident, call us today.

  • A Cyclist in a Group Ride Caused Me to Fall Do I Have an Injury Claim?

    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.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Who is Considered a Vulnerable Road User (VRU) in Florida?

    A vulnerable road user (VRU) is anyone who is on or alongside a roadway without the protective hard covering of a metal automobile. The term includes bicycle riders, pedestrians, motorcyclists, people in wheelchairs, police, first responders, roadway workers and other users like a person on a skateboard or scooter. It is meant to include people who are especially at risk of serious bodily harm if hit by a car, SUV or truck.

    The term is commonly used in relation to the argument state laws need to give sentencing judges more ability to up the punishment imposed on a driver who injures a vulnerable road user. Florida currently has no such law. It is very common for a driver who kills or seriously injures a VRU to just be given a ticket for careless driving. In recent years, there have been several well publicized accidents in the Tampa Bay area and other Florida cities involving a distracted driver striking and killing a pedestrian or cyclist. Some of these horrible crashes, resulted in the driver simply getting a small fine. Judges have complained the law gives them no ability to impose a greater punishment when the driver was not also convicted of a crime such as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident with injury or reckless driving.  

    Many groups are working to have the Legislature pass a Vulnerable Road User law to give Florida judges the ability to impose jail time and increased fines in these cases where they are cited with only a moving violation. One of the best known laws is the one enacted in Oregon. Many consider it a model for other states. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Do I Have to Have a Light on My Bicycle if I Am Riding in Florida?

    If you are riding a bicycle in Florida between sunset and sunrise, then Florida bicycle regulations require you to have a light to maximize your safety as well as that of motorists.

    Florida Cyclists Must Do the Following When Riding at Night

    • be equipped with a lamp on the front of the bicycle that exhibits a white light that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front; and
    • be equipped with a lamp and a reflector on the rear of the bicycle that each exhibit a red light that is visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear.

    In Florida, a bicycle may be equipped with extra lights or reflectors in addition to those that are required.

    A failure to abide by these regulations may result in a Florida bicycle accident. If you are riding your bicycle between sunset and sunrise without the required lights or reflectors, motor vehicle drivers may not see you on your bike.

    If your bicycle is equipped with the necessary lights and reflectors and you are injured in a Florida bicycle accident because of the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, then you may be eligible to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • I was in a Florida Bicycle Accident and My Bike Was Damaged. Who Pays for the Repairs?

    Not all Florida bicycle accidents involve serious injury or death – although far too many do. In some instances, a cyclist could walk away from a crash with scrapes or bruises or other minor injuries but may end up with thousands of dollars in damages to their bike frame. Repairs to damaged bicycles due to crashes and unfortunate events can be costly. It is important to understand if this happens to you, how to get your bike repaired or replaced. Depending on the scenario, your bicycle can be covered in multiple ways.

    When a Cyclist Hits a Fixed or Non-Moving Object

    There are certain situations in which a Florida cyclist may run into a parked car, hit a pole, fence, sign or some other stationary object. If this occurs, your homeowner’s insurance will pay for repair or replacement of the bicycle if it is covered under your policy. There may be a deductible. A typical policy may cover bikes up to a maximum amount without being specifically insured. Call your insurance company to make sure your bike is properly covered, before you hit something.

    When a Cyclist is Hit By Another Cyclist

    Many cyclists ride as a part of a group or encounter other riders along their path. Sometimes, these encounters don’t go as nicely as planned. If your bike frame is damaged or destroyed in a bike collision, you will look to the at fault cyclist’s homeowner’s policy for coverage. If they don’t have no fault, then your homeowner’s policy may cover your damages. Check with your insurance carrier.

    When a Cyclist is Hit By a Car

    If you are hit by a car while riding your bike in Florida, you will look to the property damage coverage on the at fault driver’s auto insurance policy to recover any damages to your bike that result from the accident.

    Getting Help from a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney

    Our Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook answers many questions about how you can better protect yourself and your bicycle from any serious harm when you are riding. But, if the unexpected happens and you or someone you know is hurt in a bicycle accident, you should consider talking to an experienced attorney about what your legal options are. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Will Pursuing My Bicycle Accident Case Take Up a Lot of My Time?

    Not at all. We will remove all the worry from your shoulders by handling all of the legal issues, and we will deal with the claims adjuster on your behalf. Your job is simply to get the ongoing medical care that you need and get well. Focus on recovering your health, and we will do the rest.

    How Long Will it Take to Settle My Bicycle Accident Case?

    Many clients ask how long it will take to conclude their case. This varies considerably and will largely depend on how long you remain under treatment for your injuries. Your lawyer will not be able to determine the value of your bicycle accident case until your treatment has been completed—when you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI).

    When your doctor releases you from active treatment, we will request your doctor’s opinion about the extent of your recovery, what medical treatment you will need in the future, restrictions of your activities, and what expenses you are likely to incur as a result of your injuries. We will use this information to attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. As your treatment progresses and we have more information available, we will have a better idea when we are likely to be able to settle your case.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • How Do I Prove My Florida Cycling Accident Case?

    At our law firm, we often receive calls from someone who has been hurt in an accident asking what they need to know to prove their bicycle injury case. Here are some key factors that need to be present in order to have the best chance of receiving financial recovery for any losses you suffered as the result of a collision or if tragically, your loved one died in a fatal cycling accident:

    • First, the driver must have been at fault in causing the accident.
    • Second, the driver’s improper act must have caused the injury or loss to the cyclist.
    • Third, the cyclist or the cyclist’s survivors suffered losses.

    Proving Who Is At Fault

    Sometimes the insurance company will argue that the cyclist contributed to causing the accident and is partly at fault or mostly at fault. When this happens, you will want to reach out to an experienced attorney who has the knowledge and ability to prove the fault of the driver and minimize arguments that you, the cyclist shared the blame. This is important, because the amount of the recovery will be reduced by any percentage of blame that can be proven against the cyclist. The legal term is known as comparative negligence.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

    Or if you are looking for information and want to learn how to better protect yourself from the negligence of others, order your free copy of Jim Dodson’s Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook.

  • How Do I Choose the Best Cycling Helmet?

    Question: I share your concern for bicycle safety and plan to insist all family members wear helmets while cycling. How do I select a good helmet? How much do I need to spend to get a safe one? Eric, Tarpon Springs

    Answer: The good news is that there is not much safety benefit in buying a more expensive helmet. A CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker ensures that nationwide standards have been met. Here are a few guidelines for choosing helmets for you and your family:

    • Make sure your helmet fits properly for maximum protection. The helmet should be level on your head, should touch all around, and be snug but not tight. It should not move more than about an inch in any direction, and should be impossible to pull off without releasing the buckle.
    • Check inside for a CPSC sticker. All helmets currently being sold are required to have these.
    • Choose white or a bright color for better visibility to motorists.
    • Avoid helmets with anything sticking out that might snag—rigid visors, for example. The shell should be rounded with adequate, but not excessive, vents—enough to keep your head cool, but not so many that the padded area is substantially reduced. Straps should not be too thin and should be easy to adjust.

    Happy cycling! ~ Jim Dodson

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • After a Florida Cycling Accident, Is an Attorney Really Necessary?

    Is it Possible to Negotiate Your Own Settlement with the Insurance Company After Being Hurt in a Bicycle Accident?

    Yes, it’s possible to settle on your own case without an injury lawyer if you’ve only suffered minor injuries and are not expecting a high settlement. There are times that you may not need to hire a lawyer who handles bicycle accident cases. But be aware that some injuries often seem minor at first and can worsen with time. It’s not at all unusual for some accident victims to not realize how serious their injuries are until a few weeks have gone by. The insurance adjuster will be quick to offer to settle your claim for as little as possible before you know the full extent of your injuries so, be wary.

    Lawyer that Specializes in Bicycle Accidents

    Obtaining the compensation you deserve is a job for an experienced Florida bicycle accident lawyer who knows how to protect the rights of people who have been injured due to someone else’s careless act. While anyone who has been injured is free to try to negotiate a settlement directly with an insurance company, you need to realize that a person who does so is not playing on a level field when dealing with a claims adjuster who knows the ropes.

    Maximize Your Compensation

    On the other hand, an experienced attorney will prepare and present your case in such a way as to maximize your compensation, whether this happens in or out of court. A lawyer who only handles personal injury cases in their practice has the in-depth knowledge of Florida law and the workings of the insurance industry that is needed to successfully pursue a claim for your losses. Experienced accident attorneys have access to the kinds of engineers and other experts needed to prove your case. They will also know the medical and financial experts who can testify regarding the extent and expected future consequences of your injuries.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • If I was in a Bicycle Accident But the Car Never Actually Hit Me and I was Seriously Injured, Do I Still Have a Case?

    You may be able to recover damages after a bicycle accident even if the motorist didn’t hit you. There does not have to be physical contact between the bicyclist and the motor vehicle for the driver to be held liable.

    There are several situations in which a bicyclist may need to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a car, truck or other motor vehicle, and as a result, the cyclist could still fall or crash and suffer injuries. In such instances, the driver could be held accountable if their negligence caused the bicyclist to take evasive action and crash.

    If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries after taking evasive action to avoid a bicycle crash, you might be able to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for:

    • medical bills;
    • lost wages;
    • lost earning capacity;
    • pain and suffering;
    • disfigurement; and/or
    • emotional distress.

    Bicyclists might be forced to take evasive action when a driver does any of the following:

    • speeds;
    • runs red lights;
    • drives recklessly;
    • drives while drunk; and/or
    • drives while distracted.

    Because there can be many details involved in a bicycle accident, it would be beneficial for you to seek the experience of an attorney who handles bicycle accident cases as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.