Florida’s bicycle helmet law states that all bike riders under age 16 must wear a helmet. Cycling is growing in popularity, but it comes with greater risks than operating or riding in a traditional vehicle such as a car or truck. An accident can result in more severe damage or death due to the lack of safety features. However, cyclists can wear protective gear such as helmets.
A Florida bicycle accident lawyer can help you understand what the law says about helmet usage. We strongly urge you to wear protective gear. It could save your life.
What Is Florida’s Bicycle Helmet Law?
Every driver of a vehicle, whether it is a traditional vehicle, a motorcycle, or a bicycle, enjoys the same rights on the road. However, because of the inherent risks of cycling, Florida law requires some riders to take certain precautions to prevent injury or death.
Florida Statutes § 316.2065 states that all bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 16 must legally wear a helmet. Riders and passengers who are over 16 may choose not to wear a helmet. Violating the law can result in a citation by law enforcement, and you may have to pay a fine.
Florida Bicycle Accident Statistics
In 2022 alone, there were 7,253 bicycle crashes in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). There were 220 total bicycle accident fatalities and data from the previous year indicates that not wearing a helmet increases the likelihood of death and serious injury.
Potential injuries a bicycle rider or passenger can suffer include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
Wearing a helmet could prevent head injuries such as concussions, hematomas, skull fractures, penetration by an object, and other traumatic brain injuries that can impact you for the rest of your life. You may need intensive medical treatment for years, modifications to your home allowing you to adapt, and other treatments and services depending on the severity of your injuries.
Liable Parties in Florida Bike Accidents
While Florida requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that kicks in to cover damages such as medical bills after an accident, the same is not true of cyclists. So, if you are riding a bicycle and another driver hits you, you can file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider for coverage of your financial expenses.
Not only can you hold other drivers liable, but you could also hold a company liable if the vehicle belongs to the company. You could hold the government liable if the other vehicle is a government vehicle or if a government agency’s failure to maintain roads and safety equipment is at fault for the accident.
Damages You Can Seek to Recover After a Bicycle Accident in Florida
Bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death, both of which can leave you with devastating financial expenses that threaten your future. To cover your losses, you can recover economic damages and non-economic damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income or lost earning capacity
- Childcare costs
- Home modifications
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Household services
- Mental health counseling
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
- Funeral costs
You may also file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages through the legal process if your loved one suffered fatal injuries.
How Can a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Help You in Florida?
You may decide to hire a personal injury attorney who has experience handling bicycle accident cases. A lawyer can file your insurance claim for you, and just having a lawyer on your side sends a message that you are serious about recovering damages. In addition, a lawyer will:
- Investigate the accident
- Collect evidence
- Determine liability
- Calculate the value of your claim
- Enter into negotiations with the liable party and their insurer to secure a fair settlement
- Provide you with frequent updates
- File a lawsuit and represent you at trial
- Offer mock trials to prepare you for the real thing
- Work on contingency so you pay nothing unless we win
- Meet all deadlines, including the statute of limitations
A lawyer can walk you through the legal process and provide you with options to consider. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of suffering head injuries, but you can still suffer other injuries.
What Is the Deadline to File a Lawsuit After a Bicycle Accident in Florida?
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is generally two years, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11. This means you will lose the right to file a lawsuit if you fail to file one before the deadline in your case expires.
A lawyer from our firm will work to meet all deadlines in your case so you can have your day in court to hold the liable party accountable for your injuries and expenses. We can explain how your helmet use may affect your case.
Learn More About Florida’s Bicycle Laws and Call for a Consultation Today
Wearing a helmet could save your life by preventing you from suffering serious head injuries in the event of an accident. However, only riders and passengers under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a helmet while cycling in Florida.
If you do suffer injuries in a bicycle accident, you have legal options. A lawyer from Ged Lawyers can provide you with options and work to recover compensation for damages on your behalf so you do not have to live with the burden and stress of handling your case yourself.
To learn more about Florida’s bicycle helmet law, or to get started with a free consultation, please contact us today.