Liability for Bike Crash on Shared-Use Path

Question

Diana asked: I have a pretty unique situation. I was on a multipurpose sidewalk bike riding with all my safety equipment, i hand signal a right turn and as i was turning i was hit by another cyclist at fast speed that was riding behind me.

There was no signaling by his part about coming up to pass me but he also had no explanation why he hit me on a wide sidewalk when i asked him several times. He had to call 911 for me as i was paralyzed, he went on to say to 911 that we were friends bike riding and had a little accident and one of us was hurt (i do not know the guy, do not know who he is). No police showed up to do the report in which i assumed he should have gotten a citation for the accident.

I am now trying to recover from several fractures on my spine and had to hire a private investigator to track this guy since there was no police report. After finding out who he is, i also learned that he likes drinking and bike riding but of course there is no record of it because there was no police on site to do any investigation.

So he walked away, the accident had no report since the police did not show and i am left with what it would be a long litigation to get my medical bills paid while i have no income since i am unable to work.

My questions are,

What specific of the Florida bike law did he break?

Is the police required to show to the scene of a bike accident?

Is the police required to cite the person causing the accident?

If at time of accident was no citation, can a citation be issued to the individual that caused the accident at a later date?

What responsibility does the police have in this?

If i am unable to collect any money from this individual to cover my medical expenses, is there a victim fund where i can request financial aid?

I am trying to takes this beyond my accident, i need to at least make known to the police what they failed to do and fix their processes so this doesn’t happen to someone else.

Answer

There few regulations that apply to bicyclists interacting with other cyclists on shared-use paths or bike paths.

This might apply:

s. 316.083Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall give an appropriate signal as provided for in s. 316.156, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.

(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the visible blinking of the headlamps of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

This is more specific to sidewalks:

s.316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.

Your other questions are beyond the scope of this site. You should retain an attorney to find out what is possible.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Paths, Overtaking & Passing

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