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.

Florida’s Bike Trails: Keeping Your Family Safe

Biking in Florida is one of the most fulfilling activities families can enjoy together. And while it is certainly an exercise that is enjoyed alone too for a variety of health benefits to include working the heart and lungs, preventing obesity, and building strong bones and muscles, bicycling can be greatly enjoyed in groups and of course, there is always greater protection in numbers. Whether you are planning a quick outing with the kids though—or mapping out a day trip on one of Florida’s great bike trails—everyone’s safety comes first.

Protective Gear is a Must

Bicycle accidents can occur due to obstacles on the road or path, collisions with others they are traveling with, efforts to avoid pedestrians or pets, and more. Be sure that everyone is wearing protective gear, with the understanding that kids under 16 must be equipped with a bicycle helmet that meets federal standard guidelines. A bike path is a better place for those who like to carry on at a leisurely pace rather than rapid cycling as there tends to be so much more traffic—including other families on foot with babies and toddlers in strollers. And although it may sound dramatic for traveling on a bike path, it is true that passing should be done with extreme caution as those walking, riding, or running may tend to be more erratic in pace and movement. Right of way should always be given to pedestrians, and all traffic signs (and yes even speed limit signs!) should be followed.

Take Note that Florida Leads in Bicyclist Fatalities

The most serious threat to you or your children while traveling on two wheels though is always other motorists. Chances are if you are out and about on bikes—whether in a small town or a larger city—you will have to navigate through some traffic. These aren’t the roads you traveled as a kid on a bike, keep in mind. Recent news continues to stress that Florida tops the nation for bicyclist fatalities, with a death rate 60 percent higher than neighboring states. Because of this, everyone—and most importantly children due to their added vulnerability—must understand how important it is to be visible, follow traffic rules, and be extremely defensive as riders.

Make Sure Your Bike is in Good Working Order 

As an added tip, don’t forget to ensure that the kids’ bikes and yours are in tiptop shape when traveling. Bicycles are usually fairly low-maintenance, but it is vital to make sure the horn and any lights work, that the chain is properly lubricated, tires are filled and able to keep air, and most importantly—that the brakes are in good working order.

Contact Us for Help!

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.

Facial Fractures Commonly Caused by Motorcycle Accidents

As a motorcyclist, you probably enjoy a lot more than just driving back and forth to work every day. Although a faster and more economical commute makes traveling on two wheels enticing, most of the country can be enjoyed by motorcycle—including over 100 scenic byways and other roads that allow for hours of fresh air and breathtaking landscapes. The health benefits abound too, from the amount of mental acuity required during each ride to strength built in the core and legs.

Motorcyclists report feeling a great sense of freedom, traveling unfettered by the protection of a car—as well as feeling camaraderie with other riders out on the roads. The flip side of all the goodness experienced in riding, however, is an ongoing concern for safety. All the features that offer such a sense of freedom in travel can also be a major downfall if safety procedures are not followed or if you are struck by a car or truck.

You may have read some of our previous blogs regarding typical injuries caused by motorcycle crashes, with broken bones—and especially broken legs—being common. Along with serious neck and spinal injuries, and issues like the dreaded road rash, facial fractures are often the unfortunate result of a crash also. The nose, being much more vulnerable, may be broken, with accompanying swelling, pain, and black eyes. The forehead may be fractured too, along with the eye sockets, cheekbone, and/or jaw.

Many facial fractures are mild, but others can be so serious they cause death or significant disfigurement. Damage to the face may also include problems with eyesight or total blindness, as well as impeding talking, breathing, and eating. If you have any question about injury after a traffic accident, seek medical help as soon as possible. Symptoms of a facial fracture may include bruising around the face and eyes, nosebleeds or the nose appearing crooked and out of alignment, numbness or tingling in various areas of the face, broken or chipped teeth or misalignment of the jaw, double vision, and problems with speech or swallowing.

Diagnosis usually includes CT scans or X-rays, and while treatment may involve pain relievers, steroids, or antibiotics, extensive reconstructive surgery could be required too. While it may be difficult to prevent such injuries in the case of a catastrophic crash, wearing a helmet can prevent facial injuries as well as traumatic brain injury.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle 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.

Kids on Bicycles: Be Aware of Distracted Motorists

It’s a sad state of things when kids must overcompensate for negligent drivers who may not see them because they are too busy texting and driving, but as traffic deaths and car accidents continue to increase in the US, that is the reality. The dangers of bicycle riding are starkly juxtaposed with a long list of health benefits as getting out on two wheels in the fresh air offers more than just cardio exercise but also contributes to good bone and muscle growth, and helps prevent obesity, risk of diabetes, and so much more. And while we don’t want our younger children or other family members to miss out on bike riding, safety issues abound and must be addressed.

Distracted drivers wreak havoc on the roads nationwide each day. Disturbing trends have traveled beyond impaired drivers and those talking on the phone while driving to an intense focus on eliminating texting and driving. Even with all the knowledge and statistics centered around distracted driving though, the temptation seems to outweigh good sense in far too many cases. We all understand how important communication is—and if your child has a phone so they can stay in touch when away from home, you have probably stressed to them that you would like them to return messages as soon as possible so that you know everything is okay. If you are parenting teenagers, communication can be challenging, and they may not return your texts or calls; however, it is vital that they all realize the need to put the phone away when traveling.

Along with educating kids on distracted drivers and how to be defensive on the roads, make sure they are practicing the following safety measures also:

  • Protective gear – according to Florida law, helmets are a must (“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.”), and other safeguards such as elbow and kneepads are highly recommended.
  • Visibility – while everyone traveling on two wheels or by foot should make themselves as visible as possible, children are the most vulnerable of all due to their size and inexperience. Make sure your child is wearing bright clothing, as well as a brightly colored helmet. Neon strips are helpful and can be attached to the shoes and bike also.
  • Comprehension of road signs and rules – keeping in mind that younger bicyclists are not yet driving and may not understand how traffic works, educating them on traffic rules is vital to their safety, as well as that of others.
  • Bicycle maintenance – make sure tires are in good shape and that everything on the bike is in good working order from the chain to the lights, horn or bell, and more.

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.

Careless Driving Continues to Be a Health Hazard

With record numbers of drivers licensed in the US today, most of us are hard pressed to find quiet roads to travel on; in fact, if you live in a bigger city, there could be millions commuting back and forth daily—with you joining them. Driving is a part of life for most adults, unless you are lucky enough to move to a tiny (and enviable!) community where you can walk and bike everywhere—or perhaps you have mastered the public transportation system, or prefer to Uber it most places. No matter what though, chances are you are in moving traffic each day.

Due to such repetition, driving can indeed become a rote activity. The temptation is there for many to become distracted as they worry about multi-tasking. What’s happened with that big work project? Where are the kids and what are they doing right now? Should we go out for dinner tonight or call in for pizza? Our time in traffic often allows for pensiveness—and that can lead many drivers to become engaged in intense communication not appropriate for the driving process.

Distracted drivers not only cause a multitude of car accidents daily but take thousands of lives each year. Even with countless campaigns against such activity like texting and driving (and the fact that it is illegal in Florida and most other states), not to mention cell phone use, the problem continues to grow—accompanied by a host of the same old issues too: speeding, driving under the influence, and other reckless behaviors. Recent news explains that even after adjusting statistics regarding accidents for increased numbers of vehicles on the road, crashes are continuing to increase.

Careless driving behavior has increased by staggering numbers:

  • Improper lane usage – increased by 50 percent.
  • Improper passing – increased by 47 percent.
  • Colliding with other cars traveling in same direction – increased by 40 percent.
  • Disregarding traffic signs and signals – increased by 34 percent.

“It’s an epidemic, frankly,” said Keyna Cory, coordinator for the Florida Don’t Text and Drive Coalition. Cory has no doubt that the sharp rise in accidents is the result of texting and cellphone use.

“As you drive down the road in South Florida, they’re driving in somebody else’s lane,” she said. “We all know young people do it, but I’m now seeing older people doing it as well.”

Just one wrong move by a negligent driver can cause fatalities, or catastrophic harm to include traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, broken bones, and much more—not to mention psychological trauma.

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.