In the early morning of November 29, 2020, a cyclist was hit by a motorist near East Hillsboro Boulevard and South Ocean Drive in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. The motorist fled the scene although police ultimately located and detained the driver. Our thoughts and prayers are with the cyclist and his family. The story can be found here.
This incident raises two important questions - (1) what are the rights of cyclists on the roadways and (2) what type of insurance will protect you if you are a cyclist and struck by a hit and run driver or a driver without insurance?
Rights of Cyclists in Florida
In Florida, a cyclist, or anyone else operating a bicycle, has the same rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle. Florida Statute 316.2065 sets forth the law on this topic:
Essentially, this law means that cyclists must obey all the laws that all other drivers have to obey. They must stop at stop signs, traffic signals, and must yield to other vehicles when appropriate. It also give cyclists all the protections that drivers of any other motor vehicle enjoy. For example, if the cyclist has the right of way, drivers of motor vehicles must appreciate and yield to that right of way.
One important regulation to know is Florida Statute 316.2065(5)(a). This law requires cyclists that are traveling below the posted speed limit to either ride in a bicycle lane, or if no bicycle lane is available, "as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. . ." Also, cyclists "may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. . ."
In summation, cyclists have the duty to act responsibly upon the roadways the same as every other driver, and they also can expect that other motorists will treat them the same as they would a motor vehicle.
Insurance to protect you if you are injured while riding a bicycle
In Florida, there is no law that requires a driver to carry insurance that will protect you if they injure you in a motor vehicle crash. That type of insurance is called "bodily injury" insurance and is not required in Florida. Florida only requires drivers to carry two types of insurance: (1) personal injury protection and (2) property damage. Personal injury protection insurance is a "no-fault" insurance. This insurance pays up to 80% of your medical bills and up to 60% of your lost wages if you are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle. However, other than the lost wages, this insurance goes to your medical providers. It generally does not go directly to the injured individual. Property damage insurance is to pay for damage to property such as a motor vehicle, structure, or other fixtures along the roadway.
If you regularly ride a bicycle on the streets and also own a vehicle, it is imperative that you purchase "uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage." This type of insurance will protect you and will allow you to recover for your injuries and pain and suffering if you are riding a bicycle and are struck by a vehicle that is either uninsured or underinsured. This type of insurance also applies if the vehicle leaves the scene of the crash and cannot be identified. A vehicle is underinsured when its maximum liability limits are not enough to cover the full extent of a cyclist's injuries.
This type of insurance is also important to have even if you don't regularly ride a bicycle on the streets. Uninsured Motorist Coverage will also protect you if you are driving your vehicle and struck by a vehicle that doesn't have liability insurance or has too little liability insurance. It will also protect you if the driver leaves the scene of the accident. Look at your coverage details on your policy to see if you have the right insurance:
Contact us today
If you've been injured while riding a bicycle in Florida and you have questions about your case or the insurance coverage, contact us today. At Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, our main office is located in Hollywood, Florida but we handle cases throughout the State of Florida. You can reach us at (954) 712-7402, [email protected], or you can fill out a contact form on this website. Let us help you get the justice you deserve.