Florida is simply a beautiful state, and there are few better ways to see it and get exercise than going for a leisure bicycle ride. However, after twelve years practicing personal injury litigation I see the vulnerability of our bicyclists against cars weighing 3000 to over 6500 pounds. Importantly, the injuries I commonly see in bicycle-car collisions are typically even worse than those inflicted on simple pedestrians.
In 2004, there were 5,203 bicycle crashes killing 119 and injuring 4,820 in Florida
First of all, on a bicycle, you are elevated. You not only have to deal with an impact, there is what personal injury attorneys will refer to as a secondary impact, with the ground. Concrete, curbs, trees. If you are lucky you will be slowed down by a bush or land in some grass, but that just isn’t where most bicyclists who are in collisions with cars land. They hit concrete, which does not give. The shockwave that reverberates through their bodies and skulls cause lasting injuries to their bodies and often disfiguring “road rash.”
Second to the elevation off the ground from being on a bicycle is the combination of speed
New bicycles are faster than ever, speeds over 30 mph are commonplace, however; even a 5mph collision with a car is more than enough to cause the impact to cause permanent injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, and disfiguring “road rash.” When a bicyclist is going in the same direction as the car who hits them, their body is accelerated through the air, rather than going the 10 or 20 mph they were traveling, being struck by a car can accelerate their bodies to over 30 mph, making the impact with the ground or other obstacles even worse.
Conversely, when a bicyclist is struck by a car going the other direction, the impact force is additive. In other words, if a bicycle is going 10 and a car is going 20 the opposite direction, it is truly like being struck by the car as if it was traveling 30 mph.
Another problem I commonly see in representing bicyclists who are struck by cars, trucks and motorcyclists is the bicyclist’s body position. On your bicycle, we are often leaning forward. When the bicycle is struck, it often flips the rider upside down before they return to the ground, increasing the injuries.
I have represented countless bicyclists who were involved in a crash with a car who did not feel tremendous pain at the scene of the accident, only to find out that they actually incurred damages to their bodies
Many sustained injuries to their knees, necks and backs so severe that they needed surgical repair. Experts agree that when people are struck, their bodies mask the pain by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that hide the pain until much later.
In the military we referred to this very common experience as “the walking wounded.” It is a good idea that if you ever see a bicyclist or anyone involved in a serious accident to sit or lay down and get checked out by a doctor even though they tell you they feel “fine.” They are often in shock and are not fine. They just don’t know it.
If you have been involved in a bicycle collision and are injured, it is imperative that you find a Florida personal injury attorney who knows how to handle automobile accident claims to assist you to work up the case properly. A consultation with me is free. You will owe me nothing unless I recover for you.
If you are an attorney who represents a person injured in a bicycle collision, please call me before you get in over your head and please do not wait until your case is scheduled for trial to call. These cases can be extremely complex, and the workup prior to trial is just as important to what happens at the trial itself. You owe it to your client to get them the help they deserve. They will thank you.
Please contact me online or call toll free 888-821-3195 or 727-821-3195.