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Bicycle and Car Accident: Who is At-Fault?

Bella was riding her bike to the beach. It was a beautiful morning and she was going to meet some of her girlfriends for some sun and swimming. Because it was a Saturday morning, traffic was heavy. However, Bella was making good time in her bike lane. Suddenly, an SUV in the lane immediately to Bella's left made a right turn into a beach parking lot, causing Bella to crash her bike into the passenger's side door of the SUV. Bella went flying and landed on the parking lot asphalt, breaking her right collarbone.

The woman immediately got out of her SUV and started yelling at Bella. "Why don't you look where you are going?" The woman complained. "Look! You scratched my new Escalade!"

Bella grabbed her right arm in agony and begged the woman to call an ambulance. The woman called the police instead. After the police arrived, they called an ambulance, and Bella was taken to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived and gave Bella a ticket for causing the accident.
Bella was hurt, and angry. There was no way that accident was her fault!

Unfortunately, Bella needed surgery to repair her collarbone. Now, she had a plate, several screws, and a large scar. No more bikini tops or halter dresses for me, Bella thought miserably.

As soon as Bella was released from the hospital, she called the insurance company, who denied responsibility saying Bella had caused the accident. Additionally, she needed to go to court to fight her ticket.

So, Bella called GetMeJustice, and their attorneys started working on her case right away.

The law firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, & Walsh knows that under Florida law, a bicycle is considered to be a "vehicle," and is entitled to the same rights and protections as any other vehicle on the roadways.

Who is at fault - the Bike or the Car? Is really a question of who has the right-of-way under the traffic laws involving vehicles.

In Bella's case, at an intersection consisting of a minor street, or private drive, intersecting with a major street, the traffic on the major street has the right-of-way. Therefore, Bella, traveling on the major street had the right-of-way over any other vehicle entering or existing the entrance to a parking lot.
Additionally, Bella was traveling in a designated bike lane, and the SUV turned right in front of her without moving as close to the right hand curb or edge of the road as practicable. The SUV turned from the middle of her lane, and Bella had no warning that she was going to turn into the parking lot.

Finally, Florida law states that when passing or overtaking a bicycle, the vehicle must pass the bicycle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle. Additionally, when passing a bicycle on the left, the vehicle "shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle."

When the SUV turned her vehicle right in front of Bella's Bike causing Bella to hit the SUV, the woman did not leave a safe distance of three feet between her SUV and Bella's Bike. Additionally, the SUV did not safely clear Bella's Bike before turning right into the parking lot entrance.

The reality is that the SUV driver failed to make her right turn with safety, regardless of whether Bella was driving a car or riding her bicycle.

Once GetMeJustice reminded the insurance company of Florida's laws defining bicycles as vehicles, and pointed out that as a vehicle, Bella's bike had the right-of-way, the insurance company agreed to compensate Bella for her injuries.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle and car accident, protect your rights by calling GetMeJustice today. The attorneys at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, & Walsh are dedicated to helping injured victims in Sarasota, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Southwest Florida receive the justice they deserve. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we quickly help our clients recover from their devastating injuries and assist them with rebuilding their lives. Stay informed by subscribing to our Blog and following us on Facebook. Call us for your Free Consultation with No Obligation today at (800) 954-4014..