In the decade I have spent here in Florida practicing as a personal injury attorney, I have spent a lot of my time representing people injured in bicycle wrecks. So much so, that I have devoted a page of my site to nothing but bicycle versus automobile collisions.
While the rules of liability (who is at fault) apply to bicycle crashes similar to crashes with cars and pedestrians, I have noticed that the injuries in car-bicycle crashes just tend to be much worse.
News outlets are again reporting this week that another cyclist has been hit in Safety Harbor, Florida. The bicyclist is listed in serious condition after a sanitation truck rolled over the rider.
The accident occured at the intersection of 1st Avenue North and 6th Street North at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2011.
According to Pinellas County Deputies a man named Alexander Aponte, age 19, was busy riding his mountain bike on the sidewalk like others do, minding his own business right along the west side of 1st Avenue North approaching 6th Street North.
The City of Safety Harbor’s sanitation truck driver was Eric Davis, 44. He was traveling southbound on 1st Avenue North when he entered the intersection and made a right turn which enabled him to head west on 6th Street.
There is no stop sign where the driver of the sanitation truck was located so Davis completed the turn before the cyclist Aponte reached the intersection.
Witnesses on the scene stated that Aponte appeared to go into a panic when he saw the truck causing him to abruptly turn right, taking him right into the path and ultimately crashing into a telephone pole.
On impact, Aponte was ejected from the bicycle flying through the air to land in the roadway directly underneath the truck’s rear wheels, which rolled over him. Davis, the driver of the sanitation truck immediately stopped the truck and called 911. He then proceeded to use first aid on Aponte, who was still conscious but obviouly seriously injured by the accident.
When paramedics finally appeared and responded to the scene, Aponte was transported by the trauma helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center for immediate attention.
The crash is still under investigation and authorities report that no one has been cited at fault in the crash.
I do not know enough about this particular crash from the news reports to make a guess if the truck driver was at fault. In the meantime, please remember when you are on your bicycle that even though you have the right-of-way, cars and trucks are more worried about other cars and trucks than bicycles and pedestrians and may pull in your path without knowing you are there.
As with motorcycles and pedestrians, all you can do is try to drive defensively.
Herman & Wells, P.A.is a law firm which handles personal injury lawsuits for people who are injured in bicycle crashes in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Florida.