Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Help After Being Hit As A Pedestrian Or On A Bicycle
People are unfortunately struck and injured by cars every day while crossing the street as a pedestrian or while on a bicycle. If you or someone you know has been struck and injured while walking as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle, you should contact a Lakeland pedestrian accident lawyer for a free consultation.
Know How Insurance Covers Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
A pedestrian or bicycle accident often results in an ER visit and a significant medical bill. If you have a car but were hit as a pedestrian or on a bike, then you should know that your automobile policy still covers you for both no-fault benefits and uninsured motorist benefits. Likewise, if you have an automobile policy, then you will be required to use your no-fault benefits and your case will require some degree of a permanent injury in order to claim pain and suffering damages.
If you do not own a car and do not have your own automobile insurance policy, you may be eligible for no-fault (PIP or personal injury protection) benefits under the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance policy. You do not have to re-pay no-fault benefits in Florida.
Rules That Pedestrians In Florida Are Required To Follow
Section 316.130, Fla. Stat. contains a list of the duties that pedestrians have when walking or riding bicycles in Florida. Accordingly, Florida law requires that pedestrians must obey traffic control signals at intersections but at all other places pedestrians are to be afforded the privileges and subject to the restrictions of Chapter 316, Fla. Stat.
These rules include the following:
• Where sidewalks are provided, pedestrians must not walk along the paved lane of travel of the road
• Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians are required to walk on the shoulder of the left side of the road (opposite direction of travel)
• No pedestrian is allowed stand in the roadway to solicit a ride, employment, or business from any vehicle (i.e. hitchhiking not allowed)
• At intersections, drivers must stop before pulling over the crosswalk and must remain stopped to allow a pedestrian who is at least half way across the road to pass in front
• At a crosswalk, drivers must stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian who is at least half way across the road to pass in front
• Where there is no traffic control signal, drivers must yield the right-of-way to slow down or stop if necessary to allow a pedestrian in the crosswalk who is at least half way across the roadway to pass in front
• Pedestrians must not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle where it is impossible for the driver to yield
• Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to pass, no other drivers may pass the stopped vehicle
• Every pedestrian crossing outside of a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway (i.e. jaywalking not allowed)
• Where two adjacent intersections have traffic lights, a pedestrian must go to one of the adjacent intersections to cross
• Pedestrians may only cross at 90 degree angles to the edge of the roadway or the shortest route to the opposite curb
• Pedestrians must walk “whenever practicable” upon the right half of the crosswalk
• Pedestrians should not cross a roadway at a diagonal angle unless allowed by a traffic light or sign
• Every driver must exercise “due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle” (i.e. bike) and give a warning upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person
Liability For Drivers Who Hit Pedestrians Or Bicyclists
Whenever there is a car accident involving a pedestrian or bicyclist, there is often some degree of comparative fault on the driver who has struck them.
Here is why:
Section 316.130(15), Fla. Stat. says the following:
(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.
This means that a driver is not allowed to hit or strike a pedestrian even if the pedestrian is breaking the law (bicyclists are pedestrians while on the sidewalks and “vehicles” while on the roadways). This is why a driver who hits a jaywalker is still legally responsible for the accident. Consequently, this same subsection of Florida law requiring a driver to “give a warning upon seeing a child” is what makes a driver responsible for hitting a child even if the child is doing something that they should not be doing.
“Due care” means just that and the greater responsibility falls upon the driver rather than the pedestrian in many cases.
Get Help From A Pedestrian Accident Attorney On Your Case Today
If you or a loved one in the Lakeland or greater Central Florida area has suffered an injury due to pedestrian or bicycle accident, please contact a Lakeland pedestrian accident attorney for free advice regarding the case. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee agreement meaning that there are no attorney fees or costs unless money is recovered on your case.
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For recent legal topics, please see our personal injury blog or read our answers to frequently asked questions. We help clients located in Polk County, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and Haines City, Florida.