Fault for a bicycle accident will depend on the specific facts of your case, so we cannot say who will have liability for the crash, but Florida law provides guidance on this question. There are rules of the road for bicycles and motor vehicles. Whoever violates these laws is negligent.
Florida’s Law for Bicyclists
If a person riding a bike violates the rules of the road and this action causes an accident, the bicycle rider is at fault in the crash. For example, if a cyclist cuts in front of a car that has the right-of-way or fails to stop at a red light, they would be at fault. The same would apply for the operator of a motor vehicle.
Florida Laws Motorists Must Follow Concerning Bicycles
Since bikes are vehicles in Florida, motorists must yield right of way just as with any motorized vehicle. For example, a car must wait until an oncoming bicycle passes and clears the intersection before executing a left turn. Even if the driver has a green light or left-turn signal, they must yield to any traffic (motor vehicles or bikes) that is already within the intersection or so close to it that they cannot stop safely, before turning left.
Drivers must give bicyclists a full lane and allow a wide buffer when overtaking a bike. Passing too closely can sideswipe the bicycle or create a dangerous gust of wind that can blow the rider and bike off the road.
Helmet Law and Liability
Under §316.2065(1)(d), bike riders and passengers under the age of 16 must wear compliant helmets, but the failure to wear a helmet does not automatically make a person at-fault in a wreck. Riding without a helmet can reduce the amount of damages a person can receive for his own injuries if wearing a helmet would have prevented or minimized their injuries, but this issue does not go to fault in the causation of the wreck.
Bike Rider Negligence
Some examples of bicyclist actions that can cause an accident include:
- Colliding with another vehicle while distracted by a cell phone
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Darting into traffic suddenly
- Failing to yield to a vehicle with the right-of-way
- Riding more than two bikes across a roadway unless in a bike lane
- Holding onto a moving vehicle on a roadway
Car Driver Negligence
Some examples of motorist actions that can cause a collision with a bicycle include:
- Encroaching on the traffic lane of a bike
- Passing a bicycle too closely
- Running a bike rider off the road
- Failing to look for bicycles when turning or changing lanes
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to a bike that is operating legally on a roadway and has the right-of-way
How to Get Help Sorting Out Fault in a Bike Accident
At the Montero Law Center, we may review the police report and eyewitness statements to determine who is at fault for a bicycle accident. Sometimes more than one person is negligent, but we will apportion responsibility based on the relative degrees of fault.
We do not charge attorney fees until you get a settlement or award of damages. Call us today at 1-954-767-6500, to line up your free consultation.