In the pre-dawn hours of Labor Day this year, two people – a 25-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman – mounted their tandem bicycle and set out for a ride, planning to enjoy their holiday on the roads. They never returned. At around 6:15 a.m., the two cyclists were struck by a small pickup truck. The man died at the scene, while the woman suffered catastrophic injuries including a brain injury. Unfortunately, several days later she succumbed to her injuries as well. It was a hit-and-run accident, though the driver of the pickup later came forward admitting that his vehicle may have been involved. The driver claims not to remember being involved in the accident, stating that he blacked out while driving home from work that morning only to discover the damage to his truck later in the day. He has since been arrested and is currently facing felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
New Bike Lane Lines to Protect Riders on the Causeway
Only days following the tragic accident, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that it plans to paint lane lines to clearly indicate the bike lane to motorists on the causeway. Their hope is that having such lines in place will serve to protect cyclists from the risk of accidents similar to what occurred on Labor Day. As nice as this safety measure sounds, it is not as impressive as it may seem. The fact is that there is already a bike lane on the causeway, and the cyclists who were injured in the recent accident were actually riding in that lane. Furthermore, state law requires that drivers leave a three-foot berth when passing a cyclist. Having lane lines in place may help to alert drivers of the fact that there is a bike lane, but it will only serve to reinforce the existing laws ‑ laws which only work when drivers follow them.
Who is to blame for a bike accident?
The accident occurred as a result of the driver's negligence, whether he was driving with the knowledge that he may suffer blackouts, if he was driving while fatigued, of if he simply made a mistake and is using the claim of blacking out as an excuse. This is the case in the vast majority of bicycle accidents. It is usually the driver, not the cyclist, who is to blame. Bike riders tend to ride defensively, knowing full-well just how much they are at risk of suffering a life-changing or even fatal injury in a collision. The same cannot be said of drivers.
An astonishing percentage of drivers on the roads of Clearwater talk or text on their cell phones, while others drive when they are fatigued, drunk, or many allow their minds to wander when they should be focused on the road. In addition to driver distraction, many bicycle accidents are caused by aggressive drivers who do not share the road as they are required to by law. Whatever the cause of the accident on Labor Day, two young people with their entire lives in front of them lost their lives in a crash that never should have happened.
Clearwater Bicycle Accident Lawyers
The Clearwater personal injury attorneys at Cope, Zebro & Crawford, P.L. are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims. In their advocacy for clients, they not only work to recover financial compensation for those who have been injured or lost loved ones, but also seek to enforce the standards of public safety by holding reckless parties accountable for their actions.
In a case such as the recent accident on the Clearwater Causeway, the driver may or may not be convicted on hit and run charges. Whether or not he spends time in prison, the grieving families cannot count on the criminal justice system to provide them with compensation. A personal injury lawyer's job is to help plaintiffs who are facing such a situation to pursue their claims against the insurance company responsible for covering the driver who caused the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident or any other type of accident, contact the firm now for a free case evaluation.