While the winter driving season is weeks away, there is still a danger that drivers should be concerned about as the days begin to get shorter. Bicycle accidents are still a problem in Florida, according to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration. The report highlighted some important trends with bicyclists.
Most notably, the number of fatal accidents involving bicyclists increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012. Several factors contributed to this trend. It appears that two of the most dangerous elements, alcohol use and lack of helmet use, were prevalent. Specifically, 28 percent of riders who were of drinking age who were in accidents had blood alcohol levels that were above the legal limit of .08. Also, two thirds of the riders killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets. Further, the number of bicyclists killed in urban areas increased as well, which suggests that more people in dense population areas are riding to work.
Despite the ominous numbers for bicycle riders, drivers still have a legal duty to use reasonable while behind the wheel. This includes driving within the speed limit, limiting distractions while driving (i.e. no texting, or limiting phone calls) and abstaining from alcohol before driving. If a driver fails to do one of these things, and such a failure results in a rider being injured in a crash, the driver could be held liable for their actions. As such, an injured bike rider could seek compensation for their injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.