Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents in Florida
People choose to walk and bike on our roadways for many reasons; some might simply want to get some fresh air outside while others may walk or bike to as a primary means of transportation. However, if you are walking or biking outside for whatever reason, it is important to exercise caution. Since cars are obviously much heavier and more solid than a bike or pedestrian, the outcome is often tragedy for the person walking or cycling.
Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Statistics
Research performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that incidents between vehicles and pedestrians occur so frequently that one pedestrian dies almost every 1.6 hours here on America’s roadways. Similarly and even closer to home, an article published by the National Public Radio (NPR) in February states that out of the top ten most dangerous cities for pedestrians, an alarming eight of those are in Florida. Regarding cyclists, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reports that Florida has the highest amount of fatalities among bicycle riders in all of America.
Statistics aside, it isn’t difficult to see why it is dangerous to be a pedestrian or biker on today’s roads. In a fast-paced world, many are either driving too quickly while in a rush or are driving while distracted, and unfortunately, the top concern on people’s minds during these moments is usually not about endangering the life of a cyclist or pedestrian. These distractions can cause serious injuries for pedestrians or cause detrimental bicycle accidents.
Determining Fault in a Florida Pedestrian or Bike Accident
After a vehicle versus pedestrian incident, the reporting officer typically issues citations if applicable and prepares a police report that outlines what happened. This police report will be critical in determining liability for the incident; however, it is important to recognize that reporting officers can make mistakes and that police reports are not always 100% accurate. Additionally, there is a comparative fault rule that comes into play if both parties are found to be at fault in an incident involving a pedestrian and vehicle; for example, a pedestrian could be assigned 30% liability for causing the crash with the driver being assigned 70% liability. It is important to retain an attorney after you have been struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian as an experienced attorney will fight for you to ensure that your interests are protected.
At The Eberst Law Firm, we have represented thousands of pedestrian victims, investigated all aspects of liability to make sure that the police report reflects accurate information, and ensured that these clients received the highest compensation for the injuries they sustained after being struck by a vehicle.
Negligence by Florida Pedestrians
Although restrictions for pedestrians aren’t nearly as strict as restrictions for drivers, pedestrians do have a responsibility to engage in reasonable care for their personal safety. The Florida Legislature outlines several traffic regulations for pedestrians. Likewise, pedestrians can receive citations for violating these Florida laws and regulations.
Exercising reasonable care as a pedestrian includes the below examples:
- Using marked crosswalks
- Crossing the road only when the “walk” signal appears at intersections
- Choosing to only walk or bike when sober from drugs and alcohol
- Not suddenly darting in front of vehicles
Negligence by Florida Drivers
Drivers have a heightened duty to keep a watch out for pedestrians and cyclists as they are unprotected on the road and vehicles can cause catastrophic, and often lethal damages.
Exercising reasonable care as a driver includes the below examples:
- Abiding by traffic signals
- Not driving faster than the speed limit
- Being extra cautious in school zones and similar areas
- Maintaining vehicle properly (not getting tints that are too dark, keeping windshield and windows clear with good visibility, etc.)
Common Types of Pedestrian vs Motor Vehicle Collisions
- Dart-out – This occurs when a pedestrian suddenly appears in a roadway, either in a crosswalk or in a non-designated areas of the road. A good example of this is a pedestrian emerging from between cars that are parked along the street.
- Intersection dash – This type of collision happens when a person rushed to cross a street while giving the driver little time to react.
- Bus or car crossing – This type of collision occurs when a car or bus is stopped to let out a pedestrian or to allow them to cross in front. Then, a second vehicle attempts to pass the waiting vehicle and strikes the pedestrian.
- Vehicle turning – This occurs when a driver does not see a pedestrian in the road because they are focusing on turning or merging. Likewise, the pedestrian may be so distracted by a busy intersection that they cross when it’s not safe because of focusing on other elements of traffic.
- Distracted collision – Since smartphones have taken over our lives, it is becoming more common for both pedestrians and drivers to be distracted by their phones. This is becoming an increasing common cause of pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
- Backing Up – When a driver does not look behind them well enough when backing out of a driveway or parking spot, they can easily collide with a pedestrian walking through the parking lot. Rear backup cams are helping in this area, but both drivers and pedestrians need to be extremely cautious when navigating a parking lot.
What type of insurance covers pedestrians and cyclists?
Typically, the first insurance coverage that comes into play for pedestrians when they are struck by a vehicle is their personal, PIP coverage as Florida is a no-fault state. This coverage pays 80% of your medical bills up until $10,000.00, at which point it is exhausted. If pedestrians and cyclists who have been struck by a driver do not have their own auto insurance and neither do any of their resident relatives, they will sometimes be able to qualify for PIP coverage under the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. However, this can sometimes be tricky depending on multiple laws that govern PIP coverage.
Pedestrians may also file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim with their own insurance company and/or a bodily injury claim with the at fault party’s insurance company in order to seek a settlement to compensate them for their pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills incurred as a result of the crash.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident in the Stuart or Gainesville area, contact the experienced personal injury team at The Eberst Law Firm. We are ready to handle your case. And there are no fees unless we recover for your injuries. You can contact us online or call us at 772-225-4900.
Stuart, Florida Office
101 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Stuart, FL 34994