A bicycle accident resulted in the death of a Coral Springs teenager who had been riding on the bicycle’s handlebars and was hit by a car. Police are reportedly searching for the person operating the bicycle, who fled the scene. No charges have been filed against the driver of the automobile.
The accident occurred just before 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 6, 2012. A 1989 Lincoln was heading east on Royal Palm Boulevard. At the same time, a bicycle with a 16 year-old passenger riding on the handlebars attempted to cross the street heading north. The bicycle’s operator reportedly stopped abruptly, causing the passenger to stumble into the Lincoln’s path. The Lincoln then struck the teen. The injured teenager was transported to a hospital, where he died from his injuries on July 12. The operator of the bicycle, who remained unidentified as of the most recent reporting on the story, fled the scene on foot, heading east. The driver of the Lincoln was not injured.
Police did not file any charges against the driver of the Lincoln. They are reportedly still trying to identify and locate the bicycle operator, simply described as a “black male” in the news. No further reports on the matter have come out since July 16, and police have not said if they intend to charge the bicycle operator with a crime.
Florida law treats bicycles as “vehicles” subject to the same requirements as cars and other motor vehicles. Bicycle operators are treated the same as drivers of an automobile under the law. Bicycle operators and passengers must have fixed seats, and a bicycle cannot carry more people than the bicycle is equipped to handle. Media reports state that the accident victim was riding on the handlebars of the bicycle. This would seem to violate state law regarding bicycle operation. A violation is generally considered a “noncriminal traffic infraction,” punishable by a traffic citation if the violation occurs on public property.
Claims for injuries or wrongful death caused by bicycle accidents are usually based on the legal theory of negligence. This requires proof that the person alleged to be at fault owed a duty of care to the injured or deceased person but breached it, and that this breach caused actual injuries to the claimant, or caused the death of the decedent in a wrongful death claim. A violation of a traffic law often serves as prima facie evidence of negligence. In some cases, a defendant in a claim may allege that the plaintiff was also at least partly at fault for the accident, or for the plaintiff’s own injuries. Florida applies the doctrine of comparative negligence in determining damages for a claim with competing claims of negligence. The amount of damages awarded to a plaintiff is reduced by the amount of fault the plaintiff is determined to have. A plaintiff determined to be forty percent at fault for an accident, for example, would only get forty percent of the damage award.
The attorneys at Cohn & Smith help recover compensation for people in South Florida who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in bicycle accidents. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers, contact us today online, at 954 431 8100, or at 305 624 9186.
More Blog Posts:
More Bicycle Safety, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 30, 2012
Bicyclist hit in Davie, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 28, 2012
MARCH 2012 – Bicycle Month, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 14, 2012
Photo credit: ‘Lone Bike along the water’ by hdabed on stock.xchng.