Bicycling is a pastime enjoyed by Americans across the nation, but especially in locales with year-round riding weather. Many cities and states have encouraged residents to ride with bike-sharing programs like Swan City Cycles and Juice Bike Share right here in Florida. While these bike-share systems have made it possible for more riders than ever to enjoy the feeling of commuting by bike or simply riding for fun, bicycling in a city can be dangerous for even experienced riders. Unprotected bicyclists are at high risk of serious injury or death in the event of a collision, and sadly, one Chicago family is now mourning the loss of a beloved daughter after a tragic bicycling accident.
This July, 25-year-old Virginia Murray was killed after colliding with a flatbed truck while riding a bicycle in the city. Murray was on a Divvy bike, the city’s bike-share system bicycle, in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago when she was struck by the other vehicle. Both Murray and the truck were traveling north on Sacramento when the truck made a right-hand turn onto Belmont and collided with Murray. It is unclear whether Murray was continuing north or making the same right turn, but as a cyclist, she had the right of way in either situation and the truck driver should have yielded.
Reports showed that Murray was experienced at biking in the city, but the crash resulted in injuries so severe that even the helmet she wore could not save her life. Murray’s family has filed a lawsuit in Cook County naming the truck driver and his employer as defendants, claiming that he failed to keep proper lookout for the bicyclist, yield the right of way to a cyclist, and reduce his speed. The family said that ultimately they want Divvy and the city to implement policies and procedures to ensure that both bicyclists and drivers can safely use the roads together.
Bicycling Accident Statistics
Experts noted that this is the first bike-share fatality in the nation, but bicycling accidents in general are unfortunately very common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that bicyclists are twice as likely as vehicle occupants to die on roads on a per trip basis. In 2014, over 700 bicyclists were killed in collisions with cars on the road throughout the United States, and Florida’s statistics are even more troublesome. In a ranking of the most dangerous states for cyclists, Florida comes in at number one, with an average of 110 fatalities per year. Worse, our state has failed to reduce the number of bicycle deaths over the last few decades, showing only a ten percent decrease in fatalities. Until Florida can find a way to ensure bicyclists’ safety with protected lanes or more intensive penalties for drivers who cause collisions, riders must take responsibility for their own safety on the road.
What Should I Do if I am in an Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling accident in Central or North Florida, let lawyer John Piccin at the Piccin & Glynn help. You may be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages from the responsible parties. He can answer your questions, negotiate with insurance companies, and even make home or hospital visits to ensure you get the help you need. Call John at 352-581-6174 or contact us online today.