Whether your bicycle is just a fun way for you to get exercise, a passion that you have embraced for years, or an eco-friendly way to get around that provides more speed and convenience than your feet, you expect to enjoy your ride. Unfortunately, a bicycle accident can not only derail your plans for an enjoyable outing, it can also leave you struggling with long-term injuries that may even permanently change the way you live your life. If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, you may need an Orlando bicycle accident attorney to help you seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Contact an Orlando bicycle accident lawyer at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney today at 407-422-4529 to schedule your free consultation.
Why Michael T. Gibson, PA, Is Your Orlando Bicycle Accident Attorney
When you need an attorney after a bicycle accident, you want an experienced attorney who knows the Orlando court system and knows how to fight for the compensation you deserve. The legal team at Michael T. Gibson, PA, has a long history of working with the Florida courts to obtain the compensation that their clients deserve. Check out these past case results.
These results do not guarantee the funds you will receive in compensation for your accident. They do, however, provide a clear view of the experience offered by our firm.
Common Injuries After a Florida Bicycle Accident
Bicycles offer a great way to get around. On crowded streets, you may travel faster on a bicycle than you can in a car. Not only that, bicycles cost nothing in gas and provide a great opportunity to get some exercise while you travel to your destination.
Unfortunately, in an accident, they provide you with no protection against the vehicle or the ground. Some bicycle accident statistics may be hard to find but understand that many victims of bicycle accidents suffer serious road rash, including substantial scarring, especially on uncovered skin. Victims may also suffer:
Traumatic brain injury. Wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 70 percent. Unfortunately, wearing a bicycle helmet does not prevent the possibility of a head injury entirely, especially in an impact at high rates of speed. Victims of traumatic brain injury may lose consciousness at the scene of the accident. Following that loss of consciousness, they may experience a wide range of serious symptoms, including:
- A headache that persists well after the accident
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory difficulties
- Changes in sleep habits, including both increased sleepiness or drowsiness and insomnia
- Processing problems
- Changes in sensory perception, including sensitivity to light and sound
- Changes in taste
- Problems with emotional regulation
- Increased anxiety
- Mood swings
- Problems with concentration
Mild traumatic brain injury does not always resolve with time, and more serious traumatic brain injuries may present symptoms that linger long after the accident. Regardless of severity, a TBI patient may experience lifelong cognitive limitations due to the accident.
Spinal cord injury. Mild spinal cord injury may present as persistent pain or stiffness. In more serious cases, however, spinal cord injury may lead to paralysis. Victims with complete spinal cord injuries, in which the accident severs the spinal cord completely, typically do not recover from their injuries. With incomplete spinal cord injuries, victims may suffer loss of function, including loss of feeling in the impacted area. Spinal cord injury victims may lose function on one or both sides of the body below the site of the injury, depending on the extent of the injury.
Amputations. In a bicycle accident, you may find your limbs crushed under the vehicle that strikes you, causing so much damage that your doctor sees no option but amputation. In other cases, you may suffer amputation during the accident itself. Following an amputation, many victims require extensive therapy to learn how to complete normal daily functions again.
Burns. When the vehicle that strikes you goes on to strike another object, it may burst into flames, leading to serious burn injuries. Victims of bicycle accidents may need help to get out of the way of the flames, especially after a serious injury. Burns not only have the potential to lead to serious disfigurement, they may also limit your movements and function following a serious bicycle accident.
Broken bones. A car striking a cyclist at a high degree of force may break bones on impact. The cyclist may also break bones when striking the pavement or other items in the area. Some people cannot return to work with broken bones, especially if they work in a labor-intensive profession. Other accident victims find that the impact of broken bones linger long after healing completes, including partial loss of function in broken limbs, loss of sensation, or ongoing pain in the area surrounding the break. To learn more about your legal options speak with an Orlando car accident lawyer about your case today.
Bicycle Accident Injury Statistics in Orlando, FL
Claiming Compensation for Your Injuries After a Bicycle Accident
After a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to claim compensation. Many victims accept the first offer issued by the insurance company—an offer that often fails to reflect the full cost of the accident injuries. By working with an attorney, however, you can better understand how much compensation you should seek for your injuries. An attorney can help you decide when to accept the settlement offer issued by the insurance company and when to continue negotiations.
Is the driver who hit me always responsible for paying for my injuries?
No. After a bicycle accident, you may assume that the driver bears fault in the accident. In some cases, other parties may also share liability for your injuries following a bicycle accident. For example, if your accident involved a drunk driver, a bar or restaurant that knowingly over served the driver may share liability for your injuries. An accident due to a mechanical defect in the vehicle may shift liability to the manufacturer of the vehicle or a mechanic who recently repaired it. Working with an attorney can help you better identify all the parties who may share responsibility for your accident.
How much compensation do I deserve for my bicycle accident injuries?
Following a bicycle accident, the compensation you receive will vary based on the severity of your injuries and the insurance coverage carried by the driver who caused your accident. You will not receive more compensation than the maximum amount of the policy, even if the cost of your medical bills exceeds that amount. Most people, following a bicycle accident, claim:
- Compensation for medical expenses. Your medical bills may mount fast after a bicycle accident. First, you will receive transportation to the hospital, often via ambulance. The emergency room begins the long list of medical expenses that you may incur as you recover from your injuries. Some victims require long-term hospitalization, while others may undergo surgeries and tests to help determine the extent of their injuries and treat them. Once you return home, you may need skilled care to help you complete normal daily activities or to provide for your medical needs. Many victims need months or even years of therapy to help restore their quality of life after a bicycle accident, including physical therapy to help restore strength and flexibility, occupational therapy to learn new ways to accomplish tasks in spite of serious injuries, and psychological therapy to deal with mental and emotional concerns after the accident.
- Payment for pain and suffering. Following your bicycle accident, you may suffer serious pain from your injuries. Not only that, serious bicycle accidents can substantially limit the time you can spend enjoying your favorite activities. In addition to the physical pain and suffering, many victims struggle with anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Working with a lawyer can help you better understand how to assign a monetary value to your pain and suffering.
- Compensation for lost wages or lost earning potential. Many accident victims find it impossible to return to work immediately after their bicycle accidents. If you work in a highly physical job, for example, you may not have the ability to take on your daily work responsibilities with broken bones. Severe pain or the need to take heavy-duty pain medications can make it impossible to take on any type of job responsibility, while victims with traumatic brain injury may struggle to complete their normal job duties. Worse, some accident victims cannot return to their former professions due to their injuries. In this case, compensation for lost earning potential can help provide a source of funds while you try to decide how to handle your employment needs in the future, including providing funds for training for a new profession.
Do I have to have an attorney to file for compensation after a bicycle accident?
Following a bicycle accident, you do not have to have an attorney to file for compensation. Many accident victims choose to work with the insurance company on their own, assuming that hiring an attorney will cost too much. Having an attorney to help handle your claim after a bicycle accident, however, can offer these advantages:
- An attorney can help increase the compensation you receive. Many bicycle accident victims find that when they hire an attorney to work on their behalf, the insurance company immediately takes their claim more seriously. Attorneys can also help determine all the parties liable for your bicycle accident, put together your claim, and help you calculate how much compensation you should seek in your claim.
- An attorney can take over negotiations on your behalf. You have enough to deal with as you recover from serious injuries and try to move forward with your life after a bicycle accident. Letting an attorney take over negotiations for you will free up your time and reduce your stress.
- An attorney can help collect evidence. Not only can attorneys help access any video evidence of the accident or record witness testimonies, but they can also bring in expert witnesses to help establish fault in your accident.
Orlando Bicycle Accident FAQ
Bicycles are an enjoyable way to get from point A to Point B. Orlando provides the perfect cycling environment, but remaining safe is sometimes a challenge. Cyclists are everywhere, navigating urban, suburban, and rural streets. They encounter the same traffic and safety issues as the car and truck drivers with whom they share the road. There’s one major difference, though. When a vehicle and bicycle crash, the cyclist must often seek medical treatment while the vehicle operator simply drives away.
Despite the risks, bicycling has many advantages that have created a dedicated following. They provide economic commuter transportation for those who prefer to avoid the hassles of driving a car or pickup. Bicycling allows riders to experience nature while exercising. They allow businesses to add services that don’t require a big investment.
When you ride a bike, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. We’ve created an Orlando bicycle accident FAQ because we believe that it’s important for bicyclists and motor vehicle operators to know and understand the issues.
How often do bicycle accidents occur in Orlando?
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department share bicycle accident Quick Stats on the Florida Crash Dashboard. The most recent statistics reveal accident data from Florida and each individual county.
- 6,642 bicycle accidents occurred in Florida during the most recent year for which statistics are available.
- These accidents caused 6,221 injuries and 146 fatalities
- 450 bicycle accidents occurred in the Orlando area during this time.
- 434 cyclists involved in these accidents sustained injuries
- Vehicle/bicycle crashes in the Orlando area fatally injured six bicyclists.
What are the national statistics for bicycle accidents?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents bicycle fatalities in the Traffic Safety: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists report. The agency places bicycle riders under the pedalcyclist category. It defines a pedalcyclist as a person operating a bicycle or any other two-wheel, non-motorized vehicle. These include tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals.
The report shares statistics from accidents that occurred during just one year.
- 783 cyclists died in the United States.
- Florida had 125 bicycle fatalities.
- Cyclists comprised 2.1 percent of all traffic fatalities in the country.
- 75 percent of fatal cycle accidents occurred in urban areas.
When do most fatal bicycle accidents occur?
NHTSA’s traffic statistics show that fatal bicycle/vehicle accidents happen every day of the week and at all times of the day and night.
- Fatal crashes occurred in varying lighting conditions: Daylight, 48 percent; dark, 47 percent; dawn, 2 percent; dusk, 3 percent.
- More fatal bicycle accidents occurred on weekends.
- Weekend bicycle/vehicle accident fatalities happen most frequently between 9 and 11:59 PM.
Where do most fatal bicycle accidents occur?
Based on the NHTSA’s most recent statistics, Florida has the highest bicycle fatality rate in the country. California had 124 bicycle accident fatalities. The agency suggests that tourism in both states contributes to these high numbers.
While bicycling is popular in urban and rural areas across the country, fatal accidents occur more frequently in urban areas. In cities, bicyclists sometimes share heavy traffic conditions with cars, trucks, buses, and large trucks.
A greater concentration of traffic allows more opportunities for bicyclists to interact with larger, more dangerous vehicles.
- 75 percent of bicycle/vehicle crashes occurred in urban areas.
- 25 percent occurred in rural areas.
- Of the crashes that occurred on roadways, 27 percent happened at an intersection.
- 63 percent occurred in other locations along the road.
- 10 percent happened on a road’s shoulder, in a median, in a bicycle lane, or in other non-traffic areas.
How do bicycle accidents occur?
Just like vehicle accidents, bicycle crashes occur under many different circumstances. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association report, A Right to The Road, tracked the initiating factors that contributed to documented accidents.
Bicycle accident fatalities frequently involve these incidents.
- A vehicle driver overtakes a bicyclist moving in the same direction.
- A motorist turns into a bicyclist’s path.
- A motorist enters a road from a driveway, alley, or parking lot.
- A motorist opens a door, cutting off the bicyclist’s path.
- Low light, other vehicles, or other circumstances limit the biker’s visibility.
- A vehicle operator or bicyclist misjudges how much time they have to pass.
Who is most frequently involved in fatal bicycle accidents?
As the GHSA explains, in previous years, children were the most frequent bicycle accident victims. Adults ride more frequently now, so the casualty statistics have changed.
GHSA and NHTSA bicycling reports offer these national statistics.
- Adults consist of 88 percent of the fatal bicycle accident victims.
- Men were 89 percent of the fatally injured victims.
- Male bicyclists sustained fatal injuries at six times the rate of females.
- The average age of a cyclist killed in an auto crash increased from 41 in 2010 to 47 in 2017.
- Of the 783 bicyclists killed in accidents across the USA in one recent year, 53 were age 14 or younger and 48 were age 15 to 19.
What types of bicycle accidents cause fatalities?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents many factors when a fatality occurs.
The Bicyclist and Other Cyclist Traffic Safety Facts Report provides these insights into the types of vehicles and initial impacts involved.
- Drivers struck bicyclists with the front of their vehicles in 82 percent of all fatal crashes.
- Light trucks were involved in 44 percent of all bicyclist fatalities.
- In 88 percent of those crashes, the front of the truck struck the bicyclist
- In bicyclist fatalities involving a large truck, 28 percent of the collisions involved a right-side impact.
- 48 percent of bus-related cyclist fatalities involved the bus’s right side.
- The NHTSA attributes the large vehicle, right-side crash pattern to a large vehicle’s tendency to make wide right turns.
Why do so many bicyclists die from accident-related injuries?
Bicyclists are more likely to sustain serious injuries because they’re more vulnerable when an accident occurs. A simple impact with any vehicle often sends a bicyclist to a hard sidewalk, roadway, or stationary object. An accident that’s minor from the vehicle’s standpoint sometimes leaves a bicyclist struggling to survive. Injured bicyclists must often recover from fractures, internal damages, head and brain trauma, and other serious and catastrophic injuries.
Several factors help increase a bicyclist’s potential for injuries.
- Bicycle weight: Traditional bicycles weigh an average of 19 pounds. While e-bikes usually weigh between 38 and 70 pounds that’s still no match for even a compact vehicle that weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. The difference is far more drastic when an accident involves a bus or commercial truck weighing 10,000 pounds or greater.
- Balance: Although a few cycles have three wheels, most have only two. Remaining balanced and upright is usually impossible after an impact with a motor vehicle.
- Protection: Bicyclists have no seat belts, airbags or steel-reinforced compartments to protect them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bicycle Safety Page recommends three safety measures to prevent bicycle injuries. When properly fitted, helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injury. Lighting increases visibility. More helmet laws increase helmet use.
- Infrastructure: City bicyclists require riding paths that separate them from cars and trucks; this often isn’t the case, meaning cyclists must share the roadway in close proximity to fast-moving automobiles.
Does Florida have laws governing bicycle use?
Title XXIII Motor Vehicles §316.2065, “Bicycle regulations,” outlines the statutes relevant to all bicycles. §316.2128, “Micromobility devices, motorized scooters, and miniature motorcycles; requirements” designates certain powered mobility devices as bicycles. This provision applies to E-bicycles and other low-powered motorized devices. It explains that micromobility devices have the same rights and privileges as bicycle riders.
Here are a few of the most important regulations.
- An owner isn’t required to register a bicycle.
- An operator doesn’t have to have a driver’s license.
- A rider cannot allow a child to remain in a child seat unless the rider is in control of the bike.
- A rider under age 16 and their passengers must wear a properly fitted and secured helmet.
- A bicyclist who fails to comply with the helmet statute is subject to a non-criminal citation and fine.
- When riding after sunset, a bicycle must have a white headlight that’s visible up to at least 500 feet.
- The bike must also have a red rear reflector and red light visible from at least 600 feet.
What are the primary bicycle safety concerns?
Bicycle/vehicle crashes often occur because a vehicle driver doesn’t see the cyclist. Often it’s because another vehicle blocks their view. It’s sometimes a matter of perceptions because a vehicle driver doesn’t see the bicyclist as an equal. Accidents sometimes occur when a bicyclist sees a vehicle headed their way but doesn’t anticipate that the driver might not stop. These dynamics often occur because drivers haven’t learned to share the road with bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other non-vehicle riders.
Governor’s Highway Safety Association. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association explains that vehicle drivers who engage in red-light running, distracted driving, and impaired driving create safety issues for both bicyclists and other motorists.
The organization recommends its 3-E Approach for promoting safe cycling:
- Engineering improvements
- High Visibility Law Enforcement
- Driver and Cyclist Education
Florida Bicycle Association. The Florida Bicycle Association explains that “…roads are a cooperative system.” They expect vehicle drivers and bicyclists to learn the rules and drive accordingly. The organization provides resources and information for Florida cyclists.
They believe in sharing the road and promoting safety.
- The SBA encourages vehicle drivers to recognize a bicyclist’s right to share the road.
- They believe that adult bicyclists shouldn’t have to ride on the sidewalk or the edge of the road to avoid accidents.
- They encourage impatient vehicle drivers to “…pause and think it through…” Impatience with cyclists often contributes to accidents when motorists attempt unsafe passing.
- Bicyclists should ride big. The FBA’s topic, Why do you ride like that? explains why bikers should ride in the middle of their lane. It minimizes the risk of sideswipes and other common types of vehicle/bicycle accidents. It also discourages cars and trucks from passing illegally.
- The SBA serves as a bikers’ advocate. They encourage local and national legislators to pass laws that ensure biker safety and rights.
How do protective bike lanes help keep bicyclists safe?
Despite their ubiquity, bicyclists still struggle to remain safe each time they ride in traffic. The Green Lane Project encourages cities to provide safer bike-riding infrastructure. Protected bike lanes increase safety by physically separating bikers from motor vehicle traffic.
The organization projects that protected lanes will provide several benefits:
- Economic boost to local businesses
- Health and productivity advantages
- Skilled worker retention
- Support for urban real estate markets
Orlando’s bike trails already provide a network of protected riding environments for bikers. These trails average 250,000 rides per month. Once completed, the proposed Orlando Bicycle Beltway will provide an 8.5-mile trail. Ultimately, it will wind through Orlando’s Central Business District and connect with existing trails.
What businesses use bicycles for transportation?
Bicycles have become an integral part of everyday life. They provide such valuable services that state and local governments designated bicycle shops and bicycle technicians as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some cyclists ride only recreationally. Others use bicycles for commutes. Bicycles also provide economical transportation for gig workers and small business operations.
Many local and national businesses incorporate bicycle-riding employees into their daily operations.
- Police departments
- Package delivery services
- Food delivery services
- Pedicab taxi drivers
- Bicycle transport and delivery services
What is a Ghost Bike?
A Ghost Bike is a roadside memorial that honors a bicyclist who was fatally injured in an accident. It’s a white-painted bicycle that’s permanently located in the spot where a rider died in an accident. People often add flowers or other mementos. The FLHSMV allows the memorials to remain in place as long as they comply with Florida’s roadside memorial guidelines.
What is an e-bike?
E-bikes have electric motors that enhance a cycler’s riding efforts. Bicycle shops sell e-bikes. Companies such as Lime, Spin, Wheels, Bird, HOPR, and Lynx offer bicycle ride-sharing services. Users download an app to authorize bicycle use. They locate bikes via app geo-tracking then scan the bike and ride away. Orange County recently banned e-bike use in certain unincorporated county areas.
Do I need a lawyer if I’m injured in a bicycle accident?
As with most injury cases, you have a distinct advantage when you work with an Orlando bicycle accident attorney. Bicycle accidents often cause serious and catastrophic injuries. Legal issues sometimes complicate a case and make damage recovery more challenging. Bicycle accident attorneys like ours understand the issues. They intervene with insurance companies, claims investigators, and defense attorneys while their clients take the time they need to heal.
A free consultation allows you to discuss your bicycle accident with a legal professional. Attorneys listen to you and explain your legal rights and options. You decide if you want to pursue a claim against the person who caused your injuries.
Here’s Why You Need Michael T. Gibson After a Florida Bicycle Accident?
If you suffered serious injuries in a Florida bicycle accident, you may need an attorney to help file your claim. Contact the Orlando personal injury attorneys Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney online or at 407-422-4529 to schedule your free consultation today.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney
2420 S. Lakemont Avenue
Orlando, FL 32814