An avid bicyclist and his girlfriend were riding a tandem bicycle on the Memorial Causeway in Clearwater one morning when they were struck by a hit and run driver. The impact cut the bicycle in pieces, killing the man and leaving his girlfriend in a coma. The couple was known to usually ride the bike trails and avoid the roadways. The next night the police arrested the suspected hit and run driver who claimed he blacked out on the way home from work but could not explain his missing windshield or the damage to the front and top of his green Nissan pickup truck.
The dangers faced by bicyclists in Florida
The roadways in the Tampa Bay area in particular and Florida in general have gained a reputation as being among the nation's most dangerous for bicyclists. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found Florida had 125 bicyclist deaths in traffic accidents in 2011, which was more than in any other state.
There are ways to stay safer
The convenience, weather conditions, and scenery all make bike riding a popular mode of transportation and recreation in Florida. While there is always an element of danger biking in or near motor vehicle traffic, there are things bicyclists can do to minimize the chances of being injured in an accident:
- Always obey the traffic rules
- Try and avoid riding along busy traffic highways and roads with heavy or fast moving traffic
- Wear your helmet and elbow and knee protective gear
- Do not weave in and out of traffic
- Have reflectors and lights when riding at night
- Do not ride close to parked cars whose doors can swing open unexpectedly
- When a bike lane is provided, stay in it
- If you are bicycling on a bike trail for the first time do not go alone until you are familiar with the path's curves, inclines and possible obstructions along the trail
If you have been struck and injured while riding a bicycle, an experienced Florida bike accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and even the damage to your bike.