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When Bicycle Accidents Are Caused By Road Hazards

Unlike a lot of other modes of transportation, bicycles can be particularly susceptible to the bumps, cracks, and holes found in the road. This is due to their relative instability and the thin tires that make unexpected and abrupt changes in the road’s surface quite dangerous. Even the most experience cyclists may end up falling or losing control due to the various hazards found on the road.

When the bicycle accident is the result of a road hazard, the liable party is most likely the state, county, city, or other public agency that is responsible for the maintenance of the road way. Whether you can actually prove that the government’s actions or neglect of the road was the cause of your accident will typically depend on the type of hazard and what the government could have done to prevent the incident.

Bicycle Accidents Caused By Potholes

Usually, a pothole occurs for one of two reasons: poorly done temporary road fixes that sink or crack after being made or the long-term wear and tear of other vehicles which causes the surface of the road to break.

If the pothole had been caused by a poorly done temporary road fix, then the public entity that had performed that roadwork could be liable depending on whether there was sufficient warning of the hazard. Sufficient warning could mean placing cones around the area, the existence of warning signs in the area, or blocking off the repaired area.

If the pothole was instead the result of long-term wear and tear from other vehicles, then the key question is whether the roadway agency had been negligent when it comes to maintaining and repairing the road.

For example, if the pothole had only been there for a few days, then the public agency did not have the time necessary to care for the problem. However, if it has been left there for weeks or months, then it is likely that their neglect to care for the problem is what led to your bicycle accident.

Bicycle Accidents Caused By Sewer Grates

Sewer grates can often present serious danger to a cyclist. This is especially true if the bars on the sewer grate go in the same direction as traffic which can cause cyclists to get stuck between them. Thanks to many outspoken bicycle riders, most cities and counties have upgraded their sewer grates to reduce the amount of danger presented to cyclists. Still, many dangerous sewer grates still remain on the roadways.

If a bicycle rider gets into an accident because of a sewer grate that did not receive this upgrade or presents some other type of danger to the cyclist, the city or county is liable. Cyclists have a right to a safe road and if the sewer grate presents a serious danger that is relatively easy to fix, then the city or county has no excusable reason to have allowed the danger to continue existing on the road.

Bicycle Accidents Caused By Railroad Tracks

Railroad tracks that are in little use or have been abandoned can present some hidden dangers to a cyclist. They can be hazardous when they run on the roadway in the direction of traffic and especially if they cross at a curve or angle. This makes it all too easy for a bicycle wheel to get caught in the space and cause them to crash or be thrown into a vehicle.

Whether a public entity is liable for the bicycle accident caused by the railroad tracks depends on two questions: what is the rail position and what has the public entity done to reduce the hazard?

If the position of the tracks run in the same direction as traffic or cross on a curve or angle, then they are especially dangerous to bicycle riders. However, if the tracks are perpendicular to the road, they are not that hazardous.

It is also important to consider what the public entity has done to reduce the dangers of this hazard. If the tracks are dangerous and not in use, then the public entity should have removed or covered them. If they are still in use and dangerous then they needed to provide sufficient warning such as with warning signs.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

When Bicycle Accidents Are Caused By Road Hazards

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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