A 24-year-old doctoral student reported a blood-alcohol level three times higher (.210) than the state’s legal limit (.08) when he allegedly swerved into a bike lane and killed a rider in a Boca Raton bicycle accident. It happened just before 3:00 a.m. According to accident reports, the man was traveling somewhere between 56 and 71 miles per hour in a section of roadway where the speed limit was just 45 miles per hour. He reportedly slammed into the back of the bicyclists at the intersection.
The bicyclist was thrown over the roof of the vehicle. He lost part of his arm and his entire foot in the accident. He was killed as a result of blunt force neck injuries.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, it happened along Federal Highway. Unfortunately, the young driver left his vehicle, and the injured bicyclist, at an intersection and stumbled his way to the gas station. Thankfully, officers were able to locate and apprehend the intoxicated driver. The FAU student is now facing charges of hit and run and negligent DUI homicide.
It’s these kinds of accidents that remind us of just how dangerous Florida can be. With year round sunshine, both residents and visitors can enjoy the luxury of outdoor travel virtually any day of the year. But with so many bicyclists on our roadways, the risks for accidents are astronomical as we head into the busy winter tourist season.
According to recent studies, it’s education that is going to help to keep our roadways safer for everyone. The City of Boca Raton recommends that we work to spread knowledge to travelers of all kinds to help to reduce conflicts between bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles. Accident statistics indicate that lack of knowledge and skills is the key factor in bicycle and pedestrian accidents and fatalities.
Did you know that in Florida, a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist as a driver? That means that bicyclists have a right to our roadways too, and should be treated as such. All travelers, big and small, are required to follow the same road laws.
Drivers should always be on the lookout for bicyclists. Oftentimes, bicyclists will ride well into the lane to increase their visibility to other drivers, give themselves operating room and discourage motorists from trying to squeeze past them in narrow lanes.
Many accidents and near accidents are caused by impatient drivers. When you encounter a bicyclist, take a moment to observe the roadway. In many cases it is not necessary to pass a cyclist right away, or at all:
-Is there a stop sign, red light or stopped traffic?
-Are you planning a turn at the next street?
-Are there speed bumps?
-Are you riding in a residential area?
-Are there vehicles at cross streets that might turn into the oncoming lane as you are passing?
Once you have examined your surroundings and you’ve figured out if it’s safe to pass, you want to make sure to give the bicyclist plenty of room. Under the law, you are required to give them at least 3 feet of space.
If you’re out traveling, and you see someone who is endangering a bicyclist, you’re encouraged to call the police, suggests the Florida Bicycle Association. That bicyclist is someone’s friend, neighbor or family member.
If you or someone you love has been injured, contact Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
More Blog Entries:
Protected Lanes for Safe South Florida Bicyclists, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2013
Bike-Sharing Programs Expected to Double Again by 2014, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, September 10, 2013