Drinking and Bicycling Can Have Fatal Results

Millions of enthusiasts around the US enjoy riding bicycles, whether taking the healthy route for a daily commute, not to mention one that is more affordable, plus better for the environment in avoiding the use of any fuel except for that of human exertion. Bicycling is an activity that can be immensely appreciated whether riding solo or in a group with family and friends, contributing to good heart and lung health as well as burning enormous amounts of calories—all while building stronger bones and muscles.

We have produced numerous blogs about the priority that should be placed on safety for kids on bicycles, whether traveling in a group or on their way to school, but as an adult bicyclist, remember that you have the same responsibilities in traffic that other adult motorists do. This includes refraining from riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And while doing so is generally illegal and dangerous, because bicyclists are so much more vulnerable in traffic, alcohol can not only be the cause of bicycle accidents but allow for results that are further catastrophic—even resulting in fatality.

Ongoing data has shown Florida as first in bicyclist fatalities, and while the numbers may simply be higher due to the good weather in the Sunshine State, extreme caution should be exercised while on the streets and highways which are famous for senior drivers, along with many tourists who may not be familiar with the area and are driving erratically.

“You kind of mush it all together, and it helps us explain as best we can what’s going on out there,” said Pam Fischer, author of a recent report for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Data shows that alcohol use may play an unfortunate role in bicycle accidents and fatalities in Florida, with a significant number of those involved in crashes exhibiting alcohol levels in their blood at the time of the traffic incidents. Distracted driving (especially texting) continues to be the major cause of accidents in terms of motorist negligence as well. Injuries to bicyclists may include concussions or traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries or paralysis, broken bones, sprains, and more.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Avoiding Fatalities at the Swimming Pool: Know CPR

Swimming is a year-round activity in Florida, enjoyed by all ages. And while many of us enjoy a dip in the ocean, swimming pools are much more accessible—and often situated right in the patio area or in the backyard. Unfortunately, dangers usually accompany recreation in the water too—causing boating accidents, drownings at the beach, and raising the potential for swimming pool fatalities.

Whether you are permanently retired or enjoy your pool as a getaway from the busy life, it is probably often the center of gatherings between family and friends. Pool parties can be one of the greatest ways to kick back on the weekends, celebrate birthdays, and more. There can be a lot of distractions though and supervision may become difficult, with the alcohol flowing for the adults, and events that involve kids becoming chaotic at times. Safety should always be the first consideration, and this starts with following Florida law regarding pools, requiring homeowners to choose from one option, to include a barrier like a fence or wall (at least four feet high), alarms on windows and doors to the swimming area, a pool cover, or latching gates to entrance/exit areas.

In the event of a swimming accident or a potential drowning, it is extremely helpful to know CPR. Even children as young as nine or so can take classes to learn how to save someone if they require resuscitation, and there have been numerous cases where they were able to save lives due to CPR education. CPR is performed with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing meant to start the heart again after it has failed in a drowning episode or perhaps even a heart attack that was unrelated to the activities at hand. An individual who experienced distress in the water has a much better chance of survival if CPR is administered almost immediately.

It is important to watch kids constantly while they are in the pool, and if you frequent public pools, make sure there is a lifeguard in charge. Swimming classes may also offer some of the best lessons in life that your kids can learn too, but it is important to keep them enrolled year after year until they have developed into fully capable older swimmers.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of another party, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Bicyclists Riding Against Traffic More Likely to Be Severely Injured or Killed

Bicyclists abound around the US, but as the population in Florida continues to grow, so do outdoor enthusiasts. Traveling on two wheels is not confined just to enjoying the fresh air and beauty of the natural landscape, however. Commuting on bicycles is becoming more popular—and especially in cities. If you are physically active, or working on being so, bicycling to work often means less time traveling as you can circumvent traffic bottlenecks, accidents, and the inconveniences of rush-hour traffic. It is also much more economical, with absolutely no need for fuel other than your own leg power. Maintenance generally requires little expense, and the start-up cost in purchasing a bike can usually fit any budget.

Whether you are traveling alone or with your family or in a group of friends, however, safety should always come first—and unfortunately, the greatest threat is motorists. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths each year (and hundreds of thousands of injuries), whether this means bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or other motorists. Defensive ‘traveling’ is necessary no matter your mode of transportation. If you are riding a bike, it is vital to be seen. Wear bright clothing, ride a brightly colored bike, and apply reflective devices wherever possible. When riding at night, make sure you have proper lighting, as well as devices to make you heard such as a bell or horn.

And although you may have heard conflicting views on traveling against traffic while bicycling (or walking), it is not only illegal in Florida but also considerably more unsafe. A recent study by the Florida Department of Transportation shows that bicyclists traveling on the roads against traffic were involved in more severe crashes, as well as more fatalities. Additional data shows that the following contributed to many bicycle crashes:

  • Poor lighting in city areas
  • Unusual intersection patterns
  • Reckless driving
  • Bicyclists hitting parked cars or opening doors

“Engineering countermeasures, including signal optimization, turn restrictions, and sign and pavement marking improvements, could improve the overall safety situation for bicyclists. Agency-wide education campaigns on the laws pertaining to bicyclists and extensive driver education campaigns that focus on driver compliance with bicyclist right-of-way laws and stricter enforcement could improve bicycle safety,” state FDOT researchers.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Beware: Bicyclists Love Florida—But Greater Numbers Mean More Accidents

Bicycling is an activity you may have been enjoying as long as you can remember. Most of us start out as kids, doing the initial routine with training wheels, and then graduating to a more mature bike with the inevitable spills, and bumps and bruises along the way. You may prefer biking alone around Florida, taking respite from a busy life, enjoying fresh air on quiet roads and paths that are especially satisfying when the sun is shining (not too warmly!), the birds are singing, and other interesting wildlife make an appearance here and there as you travel on your way. Others still may enjoy bicycling as a family activity, getting all the children outside, and sometimes even including babies being pulled in small ‘trailers.’ Commuting is also becoming more and more popular on bikes and proving to be not only more economical but much faster in some city areas.

Florida is extremely popular for activities like swimming, walking, hiking a multitude of trails, motorcycling, and bicycling. Unfortunately, all this fun can also have its hazards—and bicycling is no exception. The Sunshine State is particularly dangerous for bicyclists, with recent data stating that Florida bicyclist fatalities are considerably higher than that of other states, with California and Texas emerging next in line. Higher numbers for Florida are thought to be due to a larger population of ageing drivers and visitors who may not be familiar with roads. Florida also has a large population overall, meaning statistically more accidents are to be expected—along with the addition of enticingly good weather year-round.

While many bike safety tips may seem like common sense, all too often they are overlooked, with visibility being one of the most important. Remember to wear brightly colored clothing, but it is also helpful to have reflective material anywhere possible – including on your helmet, shoes, and bike. Lights should be in working order too. Protective gear is vital, beginning with the helmet. And although kids may balk, knee and elbow pads certainly come in handy if there is an accident, preventing cuts, contusions, and possible road rash from those commonly vulnerable areas. Ride with traffic, not against it – and know and follow all traffic signs and signals. If you are riding with smaller children, make sure they have a full education on everything a bicyclist needs to know—especially if they are riding to and from school each day.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a bicycle accident injury caused by the negligence of others contact Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Defective Toys Could Land Your Child in the ER

Life can be so complicated for the modern family today as both parents often commute back and forth to work, kids need to get to school, afternoon activities commence throughout the week, and vital errands must be run. It can be extremely satisfying to take just a short break or a weekend respite with the kids, and fun shopping for a new toy or two may be in the plans. While it may be difficult to find exactly the right thing to please small children or to occupy them for any length of time, the last thing you may expect is a product defect that is harmful to your daughter, son, grandchild, or other loved one.

Unfortunately, there are far too many products out on the market that have the potential to be harmful. And while it would seem like toys would be a major priority in terms of product testing, far too many of them cause serious injuries (and in some cases even death) to children each year. You may expect or assume that a toy is safe just because everyone is buying it, and they may have been doing so for years, but manufacturers could be facing allegations of injuries or fatalities and are fighting behind the scenes to prevent necessary recalls that may not happen for a long time.

Choking hazards are one of the main sources of injury or death from toys, and especially if you have small children. This usually becomes more of an issue around the holidays too, whether newer toys or some of the tried and true are being heavily marketed, purchased, and used. While small, unattached pieces should be avoided, it is also important to watch for toys with long strings or attachments that could lead to the potential for wrapping around a child’s neck or cut off circulation to a limb or finger. Toy guns and other play shooting devices may cause hazards, along with riding toys or trampolines.

A serious product defect could find you in the ER with your child being treated for a breathing or choking issue, burns, cuts, and more. Fatalities may be caused due to drowning, asphyxiation, trauma, a serious blow to the head, or more. Contact a skilled product defect attorney as soon as possible if your child or a loved one have been hurt or fatally injured by a defective product. It is imperative that a report or complaint is filed regarding the product, so others are not injured too, and you may be due significant damages after such an incident.

If you or your child have been injured by a defective product, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Swimming Pool Liability: Are Your Drains Updated?

Swimming is usually enjoyable for the whole family, and in Florida especially as it is an activity that everyone can enjoy year-round in many cases. Adults usually enjoy swimming for the exercise it affords, offering health benefits to the health and lungs, as well as building muscle strength and burning mega-calories. If you are a parent, you probably also love to center family gatherings around the pool area, reveling in how worn out kids are after taking a long dip.

Unfortunately, fun activities centered around water usually involve the danger of drowning too. That can be hard to believe sometimes, watching everyone have such a wonderful time while eating, drinking, and celebrating togetherness in their off time. Like car accidents in Florida though, drowning incidents just continue to rise too! Children are primarily at risk, along with the elderly, making it vital to follow the safety laws. While enclosures such as fences, alarms, and pool coverings all help prevent drowning, if drains are not newer or have not been retrofitted for safety, swimmers could be trapped when hair or even limbs are sucked in. Newer drains lack the dangerous suction mechanism, and are larger and rounder in shape, as well as more secure when it comes to fastening (always be sure screws are intact and that drains are in good working order, without any cracks). Pumps should only be run using the settings as instructions outline, and the shutoff should be easy to access.

Even with all the proper maintenance in place though, little of that matters if proper safety guidelines are not followed. While there are probably many adults in attendance during birthday pool parties and other celebrations, don’t let your guard down just because kids are used to swimming in the pool or ‘have been around the water forever.’ A tragic swimming pool accident could occur in a matter of moments, which is why there should always be supervision.

If children are going to be growing up in an area where they will be exposed to the water routinely, as well as expected to be in the pool or ocean, enroll them in swimming lessons. Not only are lessons a great way to become skilled at swimming, they can be a fun social activity. All the normal challenges in a swimming area should continue to be overcome as well, as parents and other adults must discourage running, pushing, rough-housing, and any types of swimming games that could cause injury or drowning. Everyone of age should also know CPR.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

FDOT Study Examines Bicycle Crash Patterns

If you have never been injured in a bicycling accident, then it may seem like one of the most enjoyable and healthy forms of exercise one could enjoy. After all, what could go wrong as you innocently take in the fresh air and the natural landscape, working your heart and lungs, and burning calories like crazy? Unfortunately, plenty. And this is not usually the bicyclist’s fault. As usual—and as in the case of motorcyclist accidents and pedestrian injuries—motorists are your greatest threat. Florida is evidence of this danger too, listed as one of the top states for bicyclist fatalities.

The state has been working to solve the problem, with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performing an analysis on bike crashes last year. As far back as 2014, Florida was leading in bicyclist fatalities, and the numbers continue to be concerning each year. In their report, researchers explore causes and patterns of such accidents, along with pinpointing ‘hot spots,’ and ways to prevent crashes. They also create crash modification factors for evaluating to ‘assess safety effects of common engineering treatments on bicycle safety.’

In their analysis, the researchers examined 26,036 crashes occurring between 2011 and 2014, finding that age and sex figured into fatalities, with elderly bicyclists and men more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. Fatalities also occurred more frequently for bicyclists riding at night, for bicyclists riding against the flow of traffic, and for those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The analysis also includes many other detailed facts and statistics:

“The majority of bicycle crashes occurred on urban roadways; only 1.2% of all crashes that occurred on state roads occurred in rural areas,” states the report. “In terms of crash severity, 16.9% of all bicycle crashes that occurred on rural facilities resulted in fatalities while only 2.5% of those that occurred on urban facilities resulted in fatalities.”

“The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 43 years, while the average age of bicyclists involved in traffic crashes was 33.8 years. Among the different age groups, bicyclists between 45 and 54 years of age experienced the highest fatality rate of 19.76 fatalities per year per million population, and those in 65- to 74-year age group experienced the highest injury rate of 875.43 injuries per year per million population.”

The researchers point out the four main crash types:

  • The driver of a car turns right as a bicyclist is crossing.
  • Cars turn left facing bicyclists.
  • Bicyclists ride out into intersections.
  • Motorists run stop signs.

They also identified other reasons for accidents, to include lack of illumination at night in towns and cities, disregard for traffic laws, U-turns, bicyclists hitting car doors, complex intersections, and more.

As for measures to be taken in preventing further crashes, the team suggests more specific areas for bikes. Along with bike lanes, they suggest bicycle tracks and bicycle boulevards (‘defined as traffic-calmed side streets signed and improved for bicyclists to provide a safer alternative to riding on arterials’). Wider curb lanes, speed humps, lane reductions, and raised medians are suggested, along with more crosswalks and roadway lights.

Citing that bicycle crashes make up 5.6 traffic fatalities but overall only make up 1.9 percent of total accidents, the researchers point out that many bicycling accidents are severe.

“Drivers were found to be at-fault in 45.7% (1,321 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes while bicyclists were at-fault in 30.2% (871 of 2,888 bicycle crashes) of the crashes. Both bicyclists and drivers were found to be at-fault in very few crashes (0.8%, 22 of 2,888 bicycle crashes),” states the report.

Both drivers and bicyclists tended to be at fault when not yielding right-of-way, ignoring traffic rules, and driving carelessly.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Intersections: All Travelers Must Take Extra Precautions to Avoid Injury

The roads are full of hazards. While you may find yourself driving white-knuckled to work in rain or snow or weaving through road construction zones that sometimes seem like an extremely difficult and unfair road test, there are many, many other dangers that cannot be underestimated—and both sadly and unfortunately, most of these other hazards are presented by humans and could be prevented in many cases.

Distracted driving is one of the greatest dangers to everyone traveling today, and that goes for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone on the road. With driving and texting being one of the biggest quotients in distracted driving, states such as Florida have made such activity illegal.

Still, however, thousands of lives are claimed each year. And while that may be a host of new problems motorists and law enforcement officials are forced to deal with, most of the other issues still plague the roads too such as drunk driving, speeding, and other reckless behaviors, even including those who may simply be drowsy.

Your greatest weapon as a motorist is in defensive driving! And while this begins as soon as you put on your seatbelt and turn your key in the ignition, there are hotspots that require extra precautions, from following direction at stoplights and stop signs, to ensuring that you are giving other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians right of way as required. Intersections are the one of the most high-risk zones.

Obviously—and especially in larger cities—there is a lot going on at most intersections, and especially during rush hour. You must navigate lanes, stoplights, turning, and all the while there may be other traffic crossing too such as adults and children on bikes or people traveling on foot.

Crashes at intersections tend to be even worse. While motorists making left turns must be cautious, this is even more true for those traveling on two wheels. Motorcyclists or bicyclists in traffic should always doublecheck before turning and even attempt to make eye contact with motorists if possible.

Extreme alertness is required by all parties to avoid any potential for a crash. Motorists who run red lights also put everyone in grave danger, most commonly sideswiping others traveling innocently along. Rear-endings are a common type of accident at intersections too, with any of these crashes leading to the possibility of fatalities or harm such as:

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Open Car Doors Pose Injury to Bicyclists

Bicycling may have changed quite a bit from the days of yore when kids (and often quite young ones!) traveled all over town daily, from going to school and seeing friends afterward, to traveling to the neighborhood candy store. As adults though, many of us still enjoy two-wheel travel. Except for start-up cost and a small amount of maintenance, bicycling is free—depending only on our energy for travel. The health benefits of bicycling are vast, from strengthening our cardiovascular health to building muscles and bones, promoting weight loss, fighting off the potential for diabetes, and so much more.

Safety is a major issue today for bicyclists though—and one that must not be overlooked as traffic deaths continue to rise in the US—and bicycle (and pedestrian) fatalities continue to be a concern for Florida especially. While recent news has examined why Florida seems to be such a dangerous place for bicyclists, cities and towns continue to try and make many areas safer, along with putting more emphasis on public safety tips. And while it might seem like a common-sense issue, car doors being opened suddenly are a common source of bicyclists who may be traveling at a good clip only to be smacked by a motorist exiting their vehicle quickly (also known as ‘getting doored’). Both parties should be watching out for each other in traffic, as severe injury could be caused to the bicyclist, and the motorist be may be found at fault for negligence; however, if you are a bicyclist, it is more important than ever to ‘ride’ defensively.

Other accidents are commonly caused at crosswalk areas, intersections, and in both rear-end and head-on collisions in traffic. Kids tend to have the highest injury rate due to vulnerability in size and lack of experience on the road, but anyone is at risk when facing a 4,000 lb. (or more) vehicle. Head injuries, paralysis, broken bones, road rash, and much more may be caused during a bicycle crash. Protective gear (beginning with the helmet) is vital, along with following traffic rules and staying alert.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Child Drownings Increasing in Florida

Whether you have lived in Florida your whole life or just enjoyed traveling there, and perhaps far more than once, there are probably a lot of great memories centered around the pool area. Not only is swimming a great way to burn calories, get in excellent cardio exercise, build muscle strength, and offer so many more benefits to your health, gathering around the pool itself is often a great way to relax. In Florida, the pool is a popular venue for birthday parties, get togethers, cookouts, and so much more. You may find yourself dreaming about a vacation where you just spend days there, lying in the sun, reading a good book, and taking the requisite dip as needed to cool off.

While the kids play, and you relax, however, safety must always be at the top of the mind—with even more diligence due as recent news proclaims Florida the leader in swimming pool accidents, and even more frightening: more children died in swimming pool accidents in Florida last year than any other state. Warm weather year-round, and more places to swim in general, make it obvious why there are more accidents—but a 20 percent increase in deaths (from 40 to 51 fatalities) should get everyone’s attention.

A recent study by the USA Swimming Foundation showed that of the 51 children who drowned in Florida last year (all under the age of 15), the majority were under five years old. Not only that, across the US, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four. The top states for leading in child drownings are as follows:

  • Florida (51 fatalities)
  • Arizona (25 fatalities)
  • Texas (25 fatalities)
  • California (20 fatalities)
  • Georgia (12 fatalities)

What further actions can you take to ensure safety for your child while swimming? Most importantly, create strong swimmers. Attending swimming lessons throughout the years will allow them to continue honing their skills—and many children take that one step further by competing on swim teams. Along with that, be sure that kids have a safe place to swim, as improper pool maintenance (especially in terms of drain covers) can lead to injuries. Everyone who is old enough to be licensed (usually by nine) should learn CPR, and children should always be supervised while swimming, with access to a safety flotation device nearby.

Were you or your child injured in a swimming pool accident due to the negligence of others? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.