On May 24, 2013, the The Tampa Bay Times reported that a bicyclist was struck by a hit-and-run driver at the intersection of Tampania Street and Lemon Street in Tampa, Florida.
The bicyclist failed to stop at a stop sign. He was hit by a pickup truck which failed to stop and continued after the accident. The bicyclist was taken to Tampa Bay General Hospital. His injuries were too severe and he died that night. Both the victim and the driver are reported to be in their 40s. The Tampa police are searching for the pickup truck and the driver.
This case is a good study for a variety of topics we’ve discussed in other blogs. The relevant suggestions/comments are emphasized.
- Florida Bicycle Laws
- The first rule we posted is: “Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, …” Obeying the laws on stop signs may have saved this bicycle rider’s life. This rule also applies to the driver of the pickup truck.
- Another rule we posted which might have helped is “Bicycles in operation between sunset and sunrise must have “appropriate” lighting. The accident happened in the early morning when lighting might have been a factor.
- Make sure they wear bright colors and use reflectors and lights on BOTH front and back of their bicycle. This tip may have helped the bicyclist and may helped the driver see the bicycle rider.
- Ride bicycle/walk on ANY and ALL side-walks available. Depending on the intersection and nearby conditions this rule may have helped the bicyclist.
- Follow ALL traffic light signals and DO NOT cross the street unless it says to do so and be sure to continue to look both ways even if it says “GO” because you never know what the driver might do, or if they can even see you. This is another important way of saying follow the appropriate rules of the road – there are reasons for the rules. The number one reason is safety.
- Make sure they don’t use phone or text while riding their bicycles. This comment may have applied depending on what the investigation show.
- Night riding Tips
- Wear reflective clothing. This tip could have helped. It makes sense for the early morning too.
- Install bicycle reflectors on the rear of the bike. This tip could have helped too Just one flash of light could alert a driver.
- Use pedals with Reflectors on the pedals
- Add a light to the front of the bike
- Always ride defensively – Assume cars cannot see you
- The Importance of Bicycle Helmet Safety. A helmet may have helped the bicyclist. It depends on how fast he and the driver were going, where the bicyclist was hit, how he fell off the book and a variety of physical evidence issues.
The bicyclist was killed through the possible fault of the driver of the pickup truck. This makes the claim a wrongful death claim. Please check our wrongful death blogs for more information.
The normal statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Florida is two years. But the hit-and-run nature “may” extend the statute of limitations because hit-and-run could result in a criminal conviction and criminal violations may extend the time limits.
Additional areas to consider
- Contributory Negligence
- The bicyclist may have been negligent himself (this is called contributory negligence). Contributory negligence can defeat or reduce his claim.
- But the hit-and-run nature of the accident may preclude the driver from asserting contributory negligence.
- Who are the defendants?
- The driver of the pickup truck
- The owners of the pickup truck. The driver may not be the owner.
- The driver’s employer. If the driver was using a company vehicle for company business then the driver’s employer may be a defendant.
- The local government. If the stop signs were not properly placed (maybe the pickup truck lane should have also had a stop sign) then the local Department of Transportation may be responsible.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
If anyone you know has been hurt in a bicycle accident or suffered a wrongful death, please consult or law firm immediately. Time is of the essence. Our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case. Our team of lawyers works with medical professionals, valuation experts, technical experts and other lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death please call us at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (1-888-936-3264) or email us at: [email protected].