Cycling accidents involving contact between the driver of the car and the cyclist are usually fairly straight forward in terms of the mechanism of how someone gets hurt. The relationship between the driving and the injury. The more difficult situations involve where the driver doesn’t make contact with the rider. They cut them off, they run them off the road or they simply come to close. Basically, these situations bring in the whole thing about the three feet requirement in Florida. Most of us are familiar with the 3 Foot Rule as it’s called in Florida.
Before we get into the answer to this question, remember there are several statutes that require that the driver of a car, which in Florida is a dangerous instrumentality, has a duty to make sure they do everything to avoid imperiling a cyclist. It’s written in several different statutes in different ways. One of those is that they have an obligation when passing a cyclist to make sure they pass no closer than a “reasonably safe distance” and no closer than three feet.
So, what is a “reasonably safe distance” under the circumstances? That may vary. The question then becomes if a vehicle comes within the three feet space and as a result of that the rider is startled or falls or gets injured can they bring a claim against that driver. And, the question the lawyer has to wrestle with is whether you can prove a direct relationship between the vehicle coming too close and rider going down.
Is it possible to bring a case when a driver comes too close? Yes, it’s possible. It’s possible in a number of situations where there is no contact but each case is going to be different and the circumstances of what happened are very important.