Howell & Thornhill

Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Your Home Team Since 1975 - We Got This!


Bicycle accidents can be life-threatening, and even if they do not end in tragedy, they can forever alter the course of your life. If you or a loved one have been involved in a bicycle accident in Florida, your medical bills, along with being out of work can make recovering compensation a necessity to get through the situation.

At Howell & Thornhill P.A., we stand up for those injured by the negligence of others. We offer a free consultation so that you can speak with a Florida bicycle accident attorney about your case. At this time, we can explain to you what we can do to help you recover compensatory damages.

Following a bicycle accident, your energy should be spent recovering from your injuries and the mental anguish that came from the accident. You can trust the team at Howell & Thornhill P.A. to allow you to do just that. Our experienced legal team will provide you with a bicycle accident lawyer who understands how to proceed with your claim, ensuring your rights are protected and that all your options are presented to you.

Why Choose Howell & to Handle Your Florida Bicycle Accident Case

  • Because we are a firm built of local practitioners, our attorneys know the area and the communities we serve. We have an in-depth knowledge of the area and the state and local laws that affect our clients. Tri Thornhill, a lawyer with Howell & Thornhill, regularly rides a bicycle in Polk County.
  • Our stellar communication skills mean that your questions will be answered by us when they arise. We are committed to providing you with the information it takes to make informed decisions throughout your lawsuit.
  • Our six locations mean that we can come to you when you reach out for help, whether that be at the hospital, your home, a rehabilitation center, or our office. Wherever you are, we are nearby.
  • Our team and the resources we provide give you the edge. We are made up of a team of five attorneys, a certified investigator, and a registered nurse. Our skills, knowledge, and experience are at your fingertips.
  • You only pay if we win money for you; we are paid from your winnings. Our fees are based on contingency fees, meaning none of the legal fees come out of your pocket.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Florida

Bicycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Most happen because a motorist is driving recklessly or a driver’s negligent behavior causes the accident. Discussed below are some of the most common causes of bike accidents in the Sunshine State.

Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes of all traffic accidents is distracted driving. Bicycle accidents are no exception. Drivers are distracted by their passengers, eating or drinking, and most of all, their telephones. Drivers who text, talk on the phone, use social media, snap photographs, or use their telephones’ GPS or map features can be particularly hazardous to bicyclists.

Buffers are not Adequate.

Drivers are guilty of not always leaving an adequate buffer between themselves and those on bicycles. This can mean they are following too closely, leaving no room for error on either party’s part. It also happens when motorists pass bicyclists.

To safely share the road, there must be more than three feet of room between the bike and the car. Without this, the drivers run the risk of hitting the bicyclist, or they simply do not have room to avoid a crash involving another vehicle.

Florida Statute 316.083 requires drivers give a bicyclist three feet of space:

(2) The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle or an electric bicycle occupying the same travel lane must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle or electric bicycle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet or, if such movement cannot be safely accomplished, must remain at a safe distance behind the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle or electric bicycle until the driver can safely pass at a distance of not less than 3 feet and must safely clear the overtaken bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle or electric bicycle.


Driving in excess of the speed limit by motor vehicle operators or too fast for the conditions can end tragically for those on bicycles. Increased speed means decreased time to react when necessary. High-speed injuries result in life-threatening accidents and can leave a bicyclist with catastrophic injuries. Failure to follow the listed speed limits creates a dangerous situation for everyone sharing the road.

Weaving In and Out of Traffic

Weaving in and out of traffic means that the driver doing the weaving is less likely to notice that there are cyclists nearby. Sometimes, drivers who weave have a tendency to drift into the bicycle lane or onto the shoulders of the road where cyclists may be traveling. Because they are already weaving, they may be unable to avoid a bicycle if they do notice that they are about to hit one.

Changing Lanes Erratically

Unsafe lane changes lead to danger. Bicyclists are often injured when motorists change lanes without doing so carefully and appropriately. Frequently, drivers merge into the cyclist’s lane without ensuring the lane is clear first, in turn causing accidents.

Unsafe Turns

Cars sometimes turn without looking out for bicycles first. This can happen at intersections when the driver is given the green light. They still must look for pedestrians and cyclists as well as other motor vehicles. When they fail to do this, accidents occur.

Intersection accidents like this can almost always be prevented if the driver practices a modicum of caution.

Failure to Adhere to Stop Lights and Signs

Intersection accidents are often the site of accidents with motor vehicles and for those on foot or on bikes. Bicycle accidents happen when motorists run red lights or stop signs, leading to serious injuries. This happens often in urban areas and in suburban neighborhoods.

Running a traffic light can mean an inconvenience for the motorists involved. For those on bicycles, a car running a red light can be deadly.

Failure to Yield

Another common cause of bicycle accidents is when a motorist fails to yield when they should. It is a reckless habit that sometimes occurs at roundabouts or at intersections with merging lanes. When drivers are obligated to yield to oncoming traffic, they sometimes do not see bicyclists or do not yield as they should, leaving devastating consequences.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Impaired drivers are operating a motor vehicle when they should not be since their ability to start, stop, or make snap decisions while driving is dulled. Alcohol and drug-impaired drivers cause accidents that could always be prevented. Drivers who are under the influence significantly lack the ability to avoid accidents by making safe choices while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Driver Fatigue

Drowsy drivers are as dangerous as those who are under the influence. Drivers who have worked long hours, are out late at night or early in the morning, trying to get home after a long day are often the cause of bicycle accidents. Drivers who are not rested lack the cognitive ability to make choices quickly to keep themselves and others safe.

Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents in Florida

Victims of bicycle accidents often sustain horrific injuries that can alter their lives forever, if not altogether end them. Sometimes, victims are left with temporary or even permanent disabilities. It can take medical treatment, surgeries, therapy, and a lot of pain and suffering to get past the amount of damage sustained in a bicycle accident. A bicycle accident attorney can be a huge help when it comes to recovering the damages to which you are entitled.

Some injuries that are common in Florida bicycle accidents are discussed below.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are very common in bicycle accidents. This can range from a scrape to the need for stitches or a fractured skull. Any head injury can lead to a brain injury. Florida law states that bicycle riders and passengers who are under 16 years old have to wear a federally-approved, well-fitting bicycle helmet when riding a bike. Florida Statute 316.2065 provides:

(d) A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, final rule, 16 C.F.R. part 1203. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that is seen all too often in bicycle accidents. They are also the leading cause of death in bike accidents in the U.S. A head injury that causes a TBI can be suffered without being able to look at the rider or bike passenger and being noticeable immediately. Concussions and brain injuries are often considered “closed” injuries, meaning you cannot see the damage sustained from the outside.

Traumatic brain injury symptoms include the following:

  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Bodily functions can be interrupted
  • Permanent mental or emotional modifications

Facial Injuries

Many times, facial injuries occur in bicycle accidents. These types of injuries can cause substantial damage to the face. These could include the following:

  • Broken or lost teeth
  • Broken jaw
  • Eye, eye socket, or vision damage
  • Broken nose
  • Road rash
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement

Bodily Trauma

Trauma to the body comes along with nearly every bicycle crash. Cyclists suffer from soft-tissue trauma and the musculoskeletal system. Including the following portions of the locomotor system:

  • Intact muscles
  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Connective tissue

Bodily trauma might leave the bike rider with whiplash, torn ligaments, and broken legs, hips, hands, or wrists. Often, dislocations and fractures are sustained when a biker tries to break their fall by putting their hands out in front of them before they make an impact with the ground.

Internal Injuries

When riding a bicycle, there is very little protection for the rider when they come into contact with a motor vehicle or the road. This can lead to severe bodily trauma. This might manifest itself as broken ribs, punctured lungs, or internal bleeding.

After suffering a bicycle crash, it is imperative that the victim is seen by a medical professional. This is the only way to rule out internal injuries like internal bleeding and other possibly catastrophic injuries.

Back and Neck Injuries

Those who are injured in a bicycle crash run the risk of sustaining severe injuries to the back and spine. These injuries are often caused if the cyclist is run over or if they land with a great deal of impact on their backs or necks. This can also happen in rollover accidents.

Back injuries might lead to the following damage:

  • Paralysis
  • Herniated discs
  • Damaged vertebrae
  • Whiplash
  • Broken back or neck

Loss of Limbs

Depending on the injury, the bicyclist could end up losing a limb. This could be due to a crush injury or an amputation. Depending on the injury, limbs could be salvageable, but this is not always the case.

This can lead to a tremendous amount of therapy, as well as a prosthetic limb.

Untimely Death

Bicycle accidents can be tragic events if the driver of the motor vehicle is speeding, distracted, or impaired. If the road conditions are not conducive to biking on them, this can also be a factor.

If a loved one of yours is killed in a bicycle crash, it is crucial that you speak to a wrongful death attorney promptly. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another, you will want to pursue a claim as soon as you can.

What Happens After the Florida Bicycle Accident

What happens following a bicycle accident depends on the injuries sustained. Of course, taking care of your health is the number one priority. However, if you are able, the following might be helpful to your case:

  • Call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Be polite to the law enforcement officers and answer their questions, but do not volunteer excessive information.
  • Take photos and videos of any damage that may have occurred due to the crash. This might include your bicycle, landscaping, mailboxes, your telephone, watch, or whatever else was damaged in the accident.
  • Get the names and exchange contact information with those involved in the accident.
  • If there were witnesses, get their contact information as well.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Contact a Florida bike accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
  • Follow up with all care advised by your medical team. This means attending all follow-up appointments, seeing specialists if recommended, participating in therapy, or whatever advice you were given.
  • Do not apologize or take responsibility.

Working With Insurance Companies Following a Bike Accident

Florida bicycle accidents can be complicated since Florida is a no-fault state. The state’s bike laws are some of the most exhaustive around. They offer the bike accident victim various protections. Victims of a bike accident must seek compensation using Florida’s No-Fault insurance law. This means the system will pay out, no matter who is responsible for the accident.

A Third-Party Lawsuit May Allow You to Recover More in Damages After a Bicycle Accident

Each accident has its own specific challenges. If you are in a position to seek restitution through a lawsuit, you might have a larger compensation available to you. The damages you may seek vary, and you will want to speak with your Florida bike accident attorney to get an idea of exactly what applies to you.

Some common damages you may face are as listed here:

Medical Costs

Medical expenses begin to grow from the time you set foot in the ambulance, and they mount consistently throughout your treatment. These costs could include the following:

  • Ambulance or airlift fees
  • Emergency room treatments
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) costs, if necessary
  • Prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies
  • Specialists
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Procedures or surgeries
  • Life-saving measures or equipment used
  • Therapy, including occupational, physical, and psychological
  • Rehabilitation
  • Hospital stays
  • Follow-up doctor visits
  • Prosthetics
  • Mobility devices like wheelchairs, scooters, lifts, canes, walkers, and crutches
  • At home healthcare

Home Alterations

In some cases, after experiencing a bicycle accident, you may find that you are left with long-term damages. This could mean that your home must be renovated to accommodate your new needs. Depending on the process, this can be expensive.

Some of the following home alterations might be necessary:

  • Ramps might need to be installed
  • Wider doorways
  • Lighting as well as lowering light switches to accommodate those who use wheelchairs
  • Roll-in showers
  • Walk-in bathtubs
  • Larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and being able to turn them all the way around.
  • Staircase lifts
  • Countertop heights may need to be adjusted
  • Grab bars and handrails should be installed

Keep a record of all the expenses necessary to make your home fit your needs.

Loss of Income

Economic losses can take their toll on a person who was in a bicycle accident. If the cyclist is self-employed, overcoming those issues can be a challenge. If you have experienced a severe injury and have missed work or are injured in a way that makes returning to your old job an impossibility, you should seek financial compensation.

Your earnings can be negatively impacted, which can make it difficult to take care of the things you once did with your income. The benefits you once enjoyed may also no longer be available to you. Speak to a bike accident lawyer about how to calculate the compensation necessary to make up for these losses.

Lost benefits might include:

  • Accrued vacation time
  • Retirement benefits
  • Pension
  • Bonuses

You might also no longer benefit from special job assignments, and your personal and professional reputation may suffer.

Pain and Suffering

This is considered a non-economic damage, but a damage all the same. Your recovery can be difficult, and all of the challenges, the pain, and the suffering you experienced should be included when tallying up the damages you sustained.

You may have suffered from any number of the following:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional anguish
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Your Florida bike accident lawyer can discuss with you the compensatory damages to which you are entitled after reviewing your case.

Contact a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important that you contact Howell & Thornhill as soon as possible. We will ensure that your rights are protected, and we will diligently and tenaciously pursue the damages to which you are entitled to receive after being involved in a bicycle accident in the state of Florida.