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Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Florida is a natural paradise for cyclists. Except it isn’t. While It has ideal year-round weather (a bit hot in the summer), perfect topography, and an active population, bicycle crash statistics tell a different, sobering story.  Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the county to ride. In 2021, Florida had the most cycling deaths of any state and the highest rate of fatality per 100,000 persons.  

This must change. Increasing investment in bicycle infrastructure, positive legal reform (including a VRU law in July 2024), and a growing cycling community bodes better for the future.  

In 2023, Bike Law moved its national headquarters to Florida to help address the safety crisis and contribute to the solution. We are proud to live and work here.   

Representation in Florida Bicycle Crashes

At Bike Law, we are committed to advocating for injured cyclists and pushing for safer bike laws across Florida. Our Florida bike crash law firm, Wilborn Law, uses its 25 years of experience led by Peter Wilborn and Rachael Maney, blend personal experience, legal chops, and a genuine passion for cycling into every case and initiative we undertake.

Peter Wilborn: Representing Cyclists Since 1998

Peter Wilborn, the founder of Bike Law, has a personal connection to cycling that extends beyond his professional life. Having experienced a bike tragedy within his own family, Peter recognized the acute need for legal representation that understands and deeply cares about the cycling community. This realization propelled him to dedicate his law practice to Bike Law, focusing on the rights and safety of cyclists. He’s ridden most every day for almost 50 years; his represented injured cyclists for over 25.

Peter has represented almost 1,000 injured cyclists in all types of crashes, for all types of people, for all manner of riders.  His guiding principle is that everyone who rides is a cyclist, and every cyclist deserves protection. His is licensed to practice law in Florida, DC, Maryland and South Carolina. He has also been admitted to bring cases in many others states throughout the country.

Beyond the courtroom, Peter has also taught law enforcement on how to investigate bicycle crashes better, reflecting his holistic approach to bicycle safety and advocacy.

In a significant shift fromlegal  industry norms, Peter and Bike Law have stopped referring to incidents as “bicycle accidents,” instead adopting the term “bicycle crashes” to acknowledge that these are not random, unavoidable events. This change underscores the law firm’s commitment to accountability and prevention.

Rachael Maney: Championing Legal Reform and Cycling Safety

Rachael Maney, the Director of the Bike Law Network and the Bike Law Foundation, is pivotal in steering efforts toward making cycling safer, more accessible, and enjoyable. Her work encompasses a broad range of activities, from advocating for legal reforms to increase cyclist protection to partnering with industry leaders to promote safety.

Rachael’s advocacy extends to the legislative arena, where she works closely with advocates and legislators to forge better protections for bike riders. Her voice has become a beacon of reason and compassion in the cycling community, whether addressing an advocacy summit, partnering with safety vendors, or leading the Bike Law Ambassadors in local efforts.

But it is her dedication to injured clients (as a victim of a cycling crash herself) that is her crowning strength. Rachael is there for cyclists and their loved ones on their worst days, offering a blend of tenacious advocacy and genuine empathy.

WHY HIRE A FLORIDA BIKE CRASH ATTORNEY?

Hiring a Florida bicycle accident lawyer can make a crucial difference in protecting your rights and maximizing your chances of a fair recovery after an accident. Here’s why:

  1. Dealing with Insurance Companies
  • Negotiating Power: Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. A skilled attorney understands how to counter their tactics and negotiate a settlement maximizing your compensation.
  • Fighting Denials: Insurance companies may dispute liability or undervalue your injuries. A lawyer advocates for you and fights against unfair denials.
  • Policy Complexity: Navigating insurance policies and their fine print can be daunting. An attorney deciphers the terms, ensuring you receive all entitled benefits.
  1. Gathering Evidence and Proving Your Case
  • Thorough Investigation: A lawyer can investigate the accident, collect evidence (police reports, witness statements, medical records), and consult with experts to strengthen your claim.
  • Establishing Liability: Florida follows a comparative negligence system. An attorney can establish the other party’s fault and minimize any attempts to reduce your compensation by alleging you were partially at fault.
  1. Managing Medical Bills and Liens
  • Future Expenses: Serious injuries often incur significant medical expenses, including future treatment and rehabilitation. A lawyer helps ensure you receive compensation not just for current costs but also for anticipated needs.
  • Navigating Liens: If you receive treatment under health insurance or government programs like Medicare, they may place liens on your settlement to recoup their costs. An attorney can work to negotiate these liens favorably.
  1. Assessing the Full Value of Your Claim
  • Beyond Immediate Costs: Lawyers understand the true cost of your injuries goes beyond medical bills. They will factor in lost income, future earning potential, pain and suffering, and long-term impact on your quality of life.
  • Maximizing Compensation: An experienced attorney will aim for a settlement that fully reflects the physical, financial, and emotional losses you’ve suffered.
  1. Navigating the Legal System
  • Meeting Deadlines: Filing personal injury lawsuits in Florida has a strict statute of limitations. An attorney ensures all deadlines are met, protecting your right to pursue a claim.
  • Courtroom Representation: If your case goes to trial, having a seasoned litigator by your side is invaluable for the best possible outcome.

When It’s Particularly Important to Hire a Lawyer

  • Serious Injuries: The more severe your injuries, the more complex your claim and the higher the potential compensation. An attorney helps you navigate this process.
  • Disputed Liability: If the other party denies fault or tries to blame you, having an advocate in your corner is essential.
  • Negotiation Stalemate: If insurance companies refuse to offer fair compensation, an attorney’s pressure can break those logjams.

Finding the Right Lawyer

  • Bike Accident Experience: Look for a lawyer with a proven track record handling bicycle accident cases specifically. They understand the unique dynamics of these incidents.
  • Referral or Reputation: Get referrals from cycling organizations or check reliable attorney rating sites.
  • Free Consultation: Many personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations. Utilize this to assess their suitability and comfort level.

Remember: A bicycle accident can turn your life upside down. A qualified Florida bicycle accident lawyer will fight to secure the resources you need for the best possible recovery, both physically and financially.

How Do You Report Your Florida Bike Crash?

If you’re involved in a bike crash in Florida, here’s how to report the incident and reach out for assistance:

  • Prioritize your safety and health. Move to a safe location and call 911 for medical assistance. Even if you feel fine, some bike injuries might not be immediately apparent, so it’s better to be safe.
  • Gather as much information as you can at the accident scene. This includes taking photos of your bicycle, any vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries you have. Collect contact and insurance information from any drivers involved, as well as names and contact details of witnesses.
  • Notify law enforcement so they can come to the scene and create a police report. This document is crucial for any bicycle crash victim wanting to take legal action or make an insurance claim. 

After addressing your immediate medical needs and ensuring you have all the necessary information from the scene, contact a Florida bike crash lawyer for legal advice and support. 

We’ve made it easy for you to get in touch and start the consultation process with our Bike Accident Report Form. It’s straightforward, and completing it takes only a few minutes.

Peter Wilborn

Bicycle crash lawyer and Bike Law founder Peter Wilborn has raced, toured, commuted, and ridden his bike daily for fun. In 1998, Peter had a bike tragedy in his own family, realized firsthand the need for lawyers who understand cycling, and devoted his law practice to Bike Law. From the start, calls and referrals have come from friends in cycling clubs and bike shops and from advocates for better bicycling.

Since then, Peter has represented hundreds of cyclists in Maryland, DC, South Carolina, and most recently Florida as their bicycle crash attorney who have been injured by motorists, unsafe road conditions, or defective cycling products. He has personally trained police officers to better investigate bicycle crashes.

After many years of using the phrase “bicycle accident,” Peter and Bike Law officially “dropped the A word” and began using the term “bicycle crash.” After many years of handling bike cases, we realized that bicycle crashes are not bicycle accidents because they are not accidental.

Peter is a Life Member of the League of American Bicyclists and is a League Certified Bicycle Safety Instructor (#1864). For what it’s worth, he is rated as an AV Preeminent Attorney (4.9 out of 5) and has received awards for his pro bono work from the South Carolina and American bar associations.

Wilborn AV Rating

Peter regularly speaks across the country to bicycle clubs, advocacy groups, and law enforcement personnel on bicycle safety, bicycle laws and as their South Carolina bicycle accident lawyer. He is especially interested in the etiquette and culture of cycling, and his article “The Lost Art of the Group Ride” has been downloaded over 275,000 times.

Learn More About Florida Bicycle Laws

Florida's bicycle laws are designed to ensure the safety of all road users, including cyclists. Understanding these regulations is essential for both cyclists and motorists to share the road safely and respectfully.

In Florida, bicycles are recognized as vehicles, and cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers on the road. However, when cyclists choose to ride on sidewalks, they are considered pedestrians, subject to a different set of regulations designed to ensure the safety of all sidewalk users.

Where You Can Ride

Cyclists must follow specific rules related to where they are riding. For example:

  • On the Road: When cycling slower than the surrounding traffic and no bike lane is available, cyclists should ride as close as possible to the right-hand side of the roadway. Exceptions include preparing for a turn, overtaking another vehicle, navigating one-way streets, avoiding hazards, or when the lane is too narrow for both a bicycle and a car to share it side by side.
  • Bike Paths and Lanes: Cyclists are not obligated to use a bike path adjacent to a roadway but must follow local rules when using bike lanes and paths.
  • Sidewalk Riding: Cyclists on sidewalks must yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal before passing them. Local ordinances may have specific variations of this rule, so it's essential to be aware of these regulations.

How to Ride

  • Group Riding: On roads or in bike lanes, cyclists should not ride more than two abreast and must switch to single file when moving slower than traffic. In bike lanes, two abreast is permitted only if both riders fit within the lane.
  • Traffic Compliance: Cyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.
  • Maneuvering: Before turning or changing lanes, cyclists must check for traffic, signal their intentions, and yield to any traffic present.

Overtaking

Cyclists must exercise caution when passing vehicles in the same direction, while drivers must maintain a minimum three-foot clearance when overtaking bicyclists.

Equipment Requirements

  • Bicycle Helmets: Cyclists under 16 years old must wear bicycle helmets that are properly fastened.
  • Night Riding: A front white light visible from 500 feet and a rear red reflector and lamp visible from 600 feet are required. Bicycles must also be equipped with brakes capable of stopping the bike within 25 feet from a speed of 10 mph.

Prohibitions

  • Cyclists may not hold onto motor vehicles while riding.
  • Leaving a child unattended in a carrier on a bicycle is prohibited.
  • Wearing headsets or earplugs while cycling is prohibited, except for hearing aids. One-ear headsets that allow for ambient sound are permitted.
  • Passengers under four years old or weighing under 40 pounds must be secured in an appropriate seat or carrier.
  • Drivers are prohibited from opening their vehicle doors to interfere with or injure cyclists. 

Vulnerable Road User Law

Florida has just passed a Vulnerable Road User Law, coming into effect on July 1, 2024.

Popular Bicycle Trails in Florida

In general, Florida boasts a diverse array of bicycle trails that cater to a range of preferences, from scenic coastal paths to lush inland greenways. They include:

  • The Legacy Trail: Stretching from Sarasota to Venice, The Legacy Trail offers a paved pathway through natural landscapes, parks, and coastal areas. It's ideal for cyclists seeking a serene ride with the opportunity to spot wildlife and enjoy Florida's unique ecosystems. 
  • West Orange Trail: The West Orange Trail is a 22-mile-long, paved trail that runs through Orange County, including the downtown areas of Oakland, Winter Garden, and Apopka. This trail is well-loved for its accessibility, offering stops at various parks, shops, and restaurants, making it a perfect weekend outing for families and casual riders.
  • Withlacoochee State Trail: One of the longest paved rail-trails in Florida, the Withlacoochee State Trail stretches 46 miles through small towns, ranches, and natural areas from Citrus Springs down to Trilby. It's favored by cyclists for its length, scenery, and the variety of experiences along the route, from forests to farmlands.
  • Pinellas Trail: The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail offers a unique, protected greenway that spans 38 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. The trail is popular for its scenic urban and coastal views, connecting parks, coastal areas, and residential neighborhoods. 
  • Shark Valley Trails: Located in the Everglades National Park, the Shark Valley Trails offer a flat, 15-mile loop that provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience Florida's wetlands and wildlife up close. Cyclists can enjoy sightings of alligators, birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.  
  • Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail: This trail stretches from the city of Gainesville to Hawthorne. It traverses the beautiful Paynes Prairie and Lochloosa Wildlife Management Areas, allowing cyclists to enjoy diverse wildlife, natural springs, and lush landscapes. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for bicycle riders seeking a peaceful escape into nature.

 

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Speak to a Florida Bike Crash Lawyer Today

Our goal in Florida is to represent injured bicyclists and foster a safer environment for all who take to the road on two wheels.  Whether advocating for improved laws, educating the public and law enforcement, or supporting our clients through challenging times, Peter and Rachael are here to help.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a negligent driver, defective bicycle component, or an unsafe road condition, call Peter Wilborn, Florida bike crash lawyer, at 843-416-9060 or email him at [email protected]. Consultations are free, and we look forward to guiding you through your personal injury claim. 

Wilborn Law
270 W Plant St #330,
Winter Garden, FL 34777

407-710-1044


Peter Wilborn
[email protected]

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