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Recent Florida Bicycle Deaths Underscore Bigger Problem

A number of recent bicycle deaths underscore the unfortunate truth here in Florida: That this is the most lethal place in the country for cyclists, and that South Florida in particular is especially dangerous.

One recent case occurred in Danie Beach earlier this month, when a 46-year-old cyclist was struck and killed around 3 a.m. The driver who hit him fled the scene, leaving behind the vehicle’s fog light cover. Emergency crews arrived and pronounced the rider dead at the scene.

The driver was on-the-run until a man in Hollywood contacted authorities after seeing a news report on the case, and notifying them of his neighbor’s vehicle, which was under a tarp in the back yard. Authorities determined the vehicle matched the description of the one involved in the crash, and damage to the windshield and passenger side – plus the missing fog light cover – confirmed these suspicions.

The car was being rented to a 26-year-old, who was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and evidence tampering.

In another recent local bicycle fatality case, a widow in Miami is suing the 21-year-old driver who allegedly struck her husband and another man on Rickenbacker Causeway. Also named in the suit is the suspect’s father, who owned the vehicle he was driving. Decedent shared two daughters with his wife, who says their lives have been a struggle in his absence. Her husband had been bicycling with a friend when the pair were struck by a car that drifted into the bicycle lane. Police allege the driver had been out drinking at a club on Miami Beach earlier in the evening.

The driver fled the scene, but reportedly returned 20 minutes later, where he claimed responsibility. Authorities say he appeared intoxicated and was crying hysterically at the scene. He would later say he was changing a song on his iPhone and looked away from the road momentarily. That’s when the crash happened.

The criminal trial is set for May, but the family’s wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the immense loss they suffered when their husband/father was killed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012, 726 cyclists were killed and nearly 50,000 injured in collisions with motor vehicles. That figure represents a 6 percent increase from what we saw in 2011.

In Florida, the problem is particularly bad. A recent report by a South Florida news outlet indicated there were 120 people killed while riding bicycles in the sunshine state last year alone.

Broward County ranked No. 2 in the state for number of bicycle accidents and fatalities in 2014 (852 crashes, 9 fatalities). Miami ranked No. 1, with 985 bicycle crashes last year and 15 deaths.

The report dispelled a number of misconceptions many people have about bicycle accidents and fatalities in Florida. Among those issues addressed:

  • The most common offending driver wasn’t elderly, but more likely in their early 20s or mid-40s;
  • In the majority of fatal crashes, it was the motor vehicle driver – not the cyclist – who was to blame;
  • While some pickup truck drivers are road bullies, the most common vehicle involved in bicycle-car accidents were compact cars;
  • The fine for a moving violation resulting in the death of a motorist is just $1,000, plus court costs.

Our compassionate, experienced legal team is dedicating to fighting for the rights of victims and families.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Wrongful death suit filed by widow of bicyclist killed on Rickenbacker Causeway, Feb. 27, 2015, By Amanda Batchelor, WPLG Local 10

More Blog Entries:

Hilyer v. Fortier – $550k Teen Car Accident Injury Judgment Reversed, March 10, 2015, Broward Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog

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