Bicycle riding can be an effective way to exercise, a convenient means of transportation and a fun recreational activity. Similarly, walking is another enjoyable way to get outdoors and move from place to place. As a result, bicyclists and pedestrians are often present on sidewalks and crosswalks.
A bicycle or pedestrian accident can instantly change your life, leaving you injured and confused as you attempt to recover both physically and financially from the accident. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mike Redondo can help you through this difficult time. While Redondo Law helps you pursue the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages, you can focus on recovering from your injury.
How are bicycle and pedestrian accidents unique?
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents are different from those involving the occupants of two vehicles given the nature of the accident. Vehicle passengers are somewhat protected from the worst results of an accident by the vehicle itself and the vehicle’s safety features (i.e. airbags, seat belts, etc.), but bicyclists and pedestrians have no such protection. Even if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, which is always a good idea and sometimes required, it still only offers a little more protection than a pedestrian when struck with the force of an oncoming vehicle. These accidents are much often more likely to cause permanent or life-threatening injuries, the risk of which increases exponentially based on the speed of the vehicle upon collision.
What are common causes of bicycle and pedestrian accidents?
Many bicycle and pedestrian accidents are caused by the negligence of an automobile driver. These drivers generally owe a duty of care to others on the road, which includes those not in other vehicles. Because of their lack of protection, drivers must often take special care to avoid collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists. A few common examples of drivers breaching this duty of care include:
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks
- Failing to signal while turning
- Disobeying traffic signals or signs
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Side swiping bicyclists
- Opening vehicle door as bicycle passes
- Stopping abruptly in front of bicycle
What are common injuries suffered in bicycle and pedestrian accidents?
Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are especially common in bicycle and pedestrian accidents, especially when an automobile is involved. While varying in severity and type, head injuries may include concussions, skull fractures, brain bleeding or swelling, or contusions. Side effects of these head injuries may include memory loss, impaired vision, loss of motor function, brain damage, balance problems, and other serious effects. With serious head injuries and TBIs, many bicycle and pedestrian accident victims may never fully recover and may suffer long-lasting or permanent harm such as to their ability to think, walk, or act.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries may also occur from the traumatic and forceful collisions involved in bicycle and pedestrian accidents. These injuries may vary from relatively minor injuries such as thoracic or lumbar strains up to severe disc injuries or a severed spinal cord. Spinal injuries often take a long time to recover from and may lead to severe back pain or even paralysis in the worst cases.
Broken bones and fractures
The speed and force of collisions between a vehicle and a bicycle or pedestrian can easily cause fractures or broken bones in a victim. These broken bones or fractures, while generally not fatal or permanent, may take significant time to heal and may require physical therapy, splints, casts, and other treatment.
Pelvic injuries are common, especially in pedestrian accidents, since the hood level of the average vehicle typically falls in line with a person’s pelvic region. This can often cause a broken or bruised pelvis or hip.
Internal injuries can frequently occur in bicycle and pedestrian accidents because of the blunt-force trauma of a collision between the vehicle and person. These internal injuries may include rib fractures, organ damage, or brain bleeding, which can prove to be fatal if proper medical attention is not sought. Given the internal nature of these injuries, victims may not immediately realize they have been injured or the severity of those injuries as seemingly minor pain or soreness could be indicative of more.
What rights do bicyclists and pedestrians have?
Because of their lack of protection, bicyclists and pedestrians generally have the right-of-way, and drivers must take extra precautions to share the road. Any driver who approaches a designated crosswalk must generally stop and yield to any pedestrians or bicyclists approaching or crossing within the crosswalk. Drivers generally must also give pedestrians and bicyclists at least three feet of clearance to help avoid the risks of accidents. Meanwhile, bicyclists do have the right to use the open roads just as a vehicle, so long as they obey traffic laws just as any automobile must do.
Does the bicyclist or pedestrian’s auto insurance provide coverage for these accidents?
In the state of Florida, a bicyclist or pedestrian’s own policy of auto insurance will generally provide at least some coverage for any injuries suffered while involved in an accident with an automobile. This can include basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage all the way up to underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. The team at Redondo Law can help you better understand your situation to determine exactly what coverages you may be entitled to even where the driver of the vehicle that caused your accident did not have coverage.
Contact Redondo Law Firm for bicycle and pedestrian accident help
Redondo Law is committed to helping you every step of the way on your road to recovery. If you’ve been injured from a collision with a vehicle while on your bicycle or walking down the street, contact Mike Redondo for a free evaluation.