Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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bikeDefective products are everywhere. It seems like there is a new recall announcement concerning a car, truck, or SUV every week. It’s enough to make one consider alternative transportation. Unfortunately, those other forms of transportation – particularly bicycles with carbon fiber forks – may not be safe either.

In the case of Trek Bicycle Corporation v. Miguelez, the plaintiff was a man who had an accident on the Rickenbacker causeway while riding his newly purchased Trek road bike on the shoulder of the road. According to the plaintiff, the bike stopped abruptly, causing him to fall and hurt his face, jaw, and shoulder. After looking at the bike, it was the plaintiff’s belief that an object had ended up caught in the rotating spokes of the front wheel, then hit the front carbon fiber forks’ back sides; this caused the wheel to stop rotating. The object then hit the front forks, cracking them and causing them to buckle and the bike to collapse.

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As the starting tight end on Florida State University’s Division I football team, Nick O’Leary is used to getting his bell rung once in a while. While he usually experiences this on the field at the hands of his opponents, he took a particularly hard hit recently on the streets of Tallahassee when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car. The crash occurred when O’Leary tried to outmaneuver the car, which he eventually struck, sending him sailing through the air like a running back diving over the defensive line to score a touchdown. Instead of landing in the end zone to the cheers of adoring fans, O’Leary found himself scraping the pavement and a nearby van, but miraculously limping away with only minor bruises and scrapes.

While the accident was caught on video and quickly went viral on the Internet, O’Leary’s mother was only recently capable of sitting through the agonizing footage. She noted that only after seeing her son fly through the air and parts of his bike crashing through the windshield of a city bus, did she fully appreciate that he escaped from the accident relatively unscathed.

Over the handlebars

While O’Leary’s crash traumatized him and his family, motorcycle accidents involving riders going over their handlebars are not uncommon. When cars cut off motorcycles, forcing them to swerve and stop short, riders are frequently thrown from their bikes. Defensive driving on the part of motorcycle riders can help minimize this risk, but the fact of the matter remains that automobile drivers often simply do not see motorcycles. Sadly, most riders are not as fortunate as O’Leary, who literally walked away from his accident.

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While e-bikes are just catching on in the United States, close to 30 million were sold worldwide in 2012. E-bikes look like conventional bicycles, except that they are outfitted with an integrated electric motor that propels the rider when pedaling becomes too exhausting, or inclines prove too steep. Not to be confused with mopeds or traditional motorbikes, e-bikes can be pedaled with or without help from the motor and generally do not reach top speeds greater than 20 miles per hour.

In the United States alone, more than 50,000 e-bikes are purchased each year, some of which are manufactured by the Florida-based company EVantage. As an incentive to riders, EVantage models include a carbon footprint savings function that calculates the pounds of CO2 the rider saves by riding an e-bike instead of driving a gas-powered car.

A bike by any other name

In Florida, e-bikes do not need to be registered with the DMV and may be operated without a license by any person 16 years of age or older, if the bike does not travel faster than 20 mph on level ground. With that being said, e-bike riders on Florida’s roads must obey motor vehicle laws and should also keep in mind that they are operating a motorized vehicle that can and will cause damage if they collide with a pedestrian or object. In addition, e-bikes should never be operated while the rider is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as serious injuries can still be sustained at speeds under 20 miles per hour.

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According to the Florida Department of Health there are more children injured while riding a bicycle than using any other consumer product except a car. In 2009 over seven thousand kids were seriously hurt or killed in bicycle accidents in Florida. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Florida has one of the highest bicyclist fatality rates in the country.

The most common serious injuries in bicycle accidents are head injuries. The Department of Health, Vital Statistics and Agency for Health Care Administration’s hospital discharge data shows that almost a third of bicycle accidents caused traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in kids. More than half of Florida bicycle-related deaths to children ages five to fourteen were the result of traumatic brain injuries. The importance of wearing a helmet is obvious.

In addition to helmets, the frequency of motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists in Florida makes it imperative that bicyclists use other safety measures as well, such as reflectors at night and following the rules of the road. As the summer approaches even more bicyclists will be sharing the roads with cars, trucks and motorcycles. Children are especially susceptible as the bicycle can often be their primary form of transportation. Children should be instructed as to bicycle safety. Operators of motor vehicles also need to be careful and pay extra attention to their surroundings so bas to be aware of bicyclists that may not always be visible to them until it’s too late.

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1359233_53491326.jpgA 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.

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1158220_39704248.jpgA national health care advocacy organization, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), recently released a report on injury-related deaths in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, entitled “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” TFAH identified ten “key indicators” of injury prevention in state laws and regulations. The study ranked the states and D.C. based on the number of key indicators present, and it also ranked them based on the rate of deaths per 100,000 people. Florida ranked near the middle on both scales, with only six of the ten key indicators. The state’s annual rate of 66.8 injury-related deaths gives it the eighteenth-highest rate in the country.

Injuries account for over 180,000 deaths each year, according to the study. Among people between the ages of one and forty-four years, injuries are the leading cause of death. Injuries account for nearly 90,000 deaths in that age group, compared to 50,000 for non-communicable disease and less than 10,000 for communicable disease. The study divides injuries into categories, including falls, blunt force injuries, gunshot wounds, cuts or puncture wounds, burns, poisoning, vehicular injuries, and drowning or suffocation. In all, the lifetime costs of injuries, which includes not only immediately medical expenses but also the ongoing cost of care, lost income, and lost productivity, exceed $406 billion per year.

New Mexico has the highest overall injury-related death rate, according to TFAH, with 97.8 deaths per 100,000. New Jersey has the lowest rate at 36.1. Florida is just behind Colorado’s 67.8 and ahead of North Carolina’s 66. TFAH states in its report that it cannot say with certainty why one state has a lower or higher injury-related death rate than another state, but that its list of “key indicators” can offer states guidance on how to effectively prevent injuries.

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It was chilling to watch this tribute to the cyclist Aaron Cohen that was stuck and killed by a hit and run driver on Virginia Key recently. From all reports and interviews that was seen Aaron was an all round great guy – a great father to his kid and a great son to his parents and a best friend to all.

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. (WSVN)Family and friends of a cyclist who lost his life after being struck by a hit-and-run driver gathered in his honor.

Thursday night, hundreds jogged up the bridge where 36-year-old Aaron Cohen was struck. Once the massive group of Cohen’s loved ones got to the top of the bridge, they dropped roses into the waters below.

According to police, Cohen and his friend, Enda Walsh, were biking across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne early Wednesday morning, when a vehicle hit them.

Police said the driver then fled the scene; Walsh suffered a broken ankle, and Cohen has a serious head injury.

The 36-year-old father of two was sent to the hospital in critical condition. However, Cohen succumbed to his injuries on Thursday afternoon.

His family was devastated. “We were a family all the time. His cousins, his aunts, his uncles, everybody loved him. Everybody loves him. He is just special,” said Cohen’s father, Stephen. “Aaron Cohen is probably the nicest person who has ever lived. He had no enemies, he never had a bad word to say about anybody, he was a fierce competitor, he was bright … He was the kind of son every father dreams about.”

Earlier Thursday, the hit-and-run driver, 26-year-old Michele Traverso, turned himself into police. He appeared in court, where he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and driving with a suspended license.

Traverso has had a history with drugs: he was almost done completing a drug program that stemmed from a cocaine charge, and the charge against him would have been dropped had he finished the program.

However, Traverso’s new charges are a direct violation of the probationary program, and as a result, he will be held without bond for at least 24 hours. Also, Traverso’s charges will likely be upgraded because of Cohen’s death.

During Thursday night’s memorial, the words Aaron wrote just before he died were read, which he titled, Why I Run: “The short answer is, I run, because it makes me happy.”

The story above says it all, Aaron and his companion victims of a hit and run driver, luckily the driver turned himself in eventually and charges were made. Victims of hit and run accidents after seeking medical attention should seek immediate legal counsel from an experienced attorney to ensure you know your legal rights. Keep records of all medical bills, go back to the scene of the accident and take photographs of the area, also keep photographs of your injuries.

Should you or a loved find yourself a victim of this type ofinjury please contact an Attorney experienced in wrongful death law to ensure that you know your loved one’s rights. Contact us for your FREE consultation via telephone 954 431 8100 or 305 624 9186 or online.

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Recently whilst doing research on motor cycle safety for my blog I stumbled upon an article “Mandatory motorcycle safety training in two more states” on the website Clutch and Chrome. It states that motorcycle training has become mandatory for future riders in Connecticut and California before riders can take tests and licenses issued. Following Rhode Island and Florida that require riders to complete a safety course to get their license, this mandate was introduced in 2008.

In Connecticut the law took effect as of January 1st 2011 and was driven by the mother of a 19 year old boy that was killed in a accident when he collided with a minivan, although he was wearing a helmet he had not taken a safety education class. In the article she stated that she believes her son might be alive today if he had take a course for novice riders, which the prior to the mandate of January 1 2011 only applied to motor cycle applicants under the age of 18. The new requirement does not apply to Connecticut riders who already have a motorcycle endorsement or those who are moving from another state with a motorcycle endorsement.

DMV Commissioner states that this new requirement will ensure that all riders have proper training and safety education before acquiring a license to operate a motor cycle; he also went on to say that this law is all about making riders and their passenger’s safety.

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As a Cooper City bicycle accident attorney, I was sorry to read about another death from a bicycling accident in Palm Beach County. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Feb. 8, a Boca Raton firefighter was killed the day before. John Wilson, 50, was bicycling during off-duty time in his home town of Jupiter. He was reportedly hit by an SUV driver, 66-year-old Myron Umbel. Wilson was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach but died. The Palm Beach Post reported Feb. 8 that Jupiter police are still considering whether to file charges against Umbel, and that investigation could take at least a week.

Wilson was a former chef and restaurant owner who made a career change to become a firefighter with the Boca Raton Fire-Rescue agency. Friends said he chose to live in Jupiter because he felt it was friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. Wilson was bicycling through a crosswalk at the intersection of Indiantown Road and Maplewood Drive when the accident happened. Umbel, a part-time Jupiter resident who is also a permanent resident of Maryland, was reportedly coming from Maplewood Drive. He was trying to turn east onto Indiantown when he hit Wilson. The crash knocked Wilson unconscious. He was airlifted to the hospital but died shortly after his arrival.

I look forward to seeing how the investigation of Umbel turns out, as a Margate bicycle accident lawyer. As it happens, the intersection where this accident took place is T-shaped, which means Umbel could only have been making a right turn if he was turning east. That makes it hard to see how he could have missed seeing Wilson in the crosswalk. There could be other mitigating circumstances, of course – for example, Wilson could have run a red light or stop sign. But if Umbel is found to be at fault for the accident, he could face criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit from Wilson’s survivors, who include his three adult sons.

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Two fatal bicycle accidents in two days have prompted bicycle safety advocates to remind everyone to be respectful on the road. As a Miramar bicycle accident attorney, I was pleased to see the reminder in the form of a Jan. 19 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The fatal Broward County crashes took place on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, both in the early morning hours. In response, bicycle advocates and local planners reminded drivers and bikers to treat one another with respect. Jeffrey Lynne, president of the board of directors for the South Florida Bike Coalition, said drivers should respect cyclists’ right to be on the road, and cyclists should return the favor by obeying traffic laws.

Little information was available on the fatal accidents earlier this month. A Plantation man was killed at about 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 4, in an area without a sidewalk or bicycle lane. The next day, a Wilton Manors man was killed crossing a road in Fort Lauderdale. Florida had the most bicycle accident deaths of any state in 2008, the article said, but Broward County has actually improved its rate of bicycle deaths since the 1990s. A spokesman for the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization said the most common bicycle accident configuration in Broward is when drivers turn right without checking for bicycles. He said drivers are legally required to give bicycles three feet at the right side of the road, although riders might choose to move over further if they think they’re slowing traffic. Lynne added that there are too many inexperienced bicyclists on the road, some of whom incorrectly believe that traffic signals don’t apply to them.

As a Cooper City bicycle accident lawyer, I hope both drivers and cyclists take this approach to heart. As a bicyclist quoted in the article said, most drivers move over when passing a bicycle. Those who don’t — intentionally or because they failed to notice the bike — are risking an accident for which they would be legally and financially responsible. Bicyclists are a lot like pedestrians in that an accident with a car is a very serious matter. Bicycle accident injuries include death and permanent brain damage, as well as less serious but still disabling injuries like broken bones. However, unlike pedestrians, bicyclists are supposed to share the roads with drivers, which means their risk of a crash is much greater. That’s why it’s so important for both bikers and drivers to be courteous and respect each other’s right to be on the road.

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