Is it Illegal to Ride a Bicycle While Under The Influence?
Florida law provides that all individuals who ride bicycles have the same legal rights and duties that apply to motor vehicle drivers, expect for some exceptions and restrictions. This means that it is also illegal for bicyclists to ride their bikes while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. So what does this mean if a bicyclist gets into an accident with another motorist while drunk?
What Happens When Drunk Bicyclists Get Into an Accident in Florida?
Under the state’s no-fault insurance system, if another motorist suffers serious injuries and damages not covered by PIP, the injured victim can file a claim against the other party for damages. This means that drunk bicyclists could be held responsible for damages - including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering - they caused in a crash.
However, to hold the drunk bicyclist liable for the crash, the injured party must prove the following elements of negligence:
- They suffered injuries and damages that meet the state’s injury threshold to sue for losses incurred in a crash
- The bicyclist’s actions were the proximate or direct cause of the accident
- They suffered damages due to the accident
It’s also worth noting that the injured party can use a charge or conviction for DUI in a personal injury claim. But being drunk does not mean that the bicyclist is automatically liable for the damages. The other party must still prove fault and causation to establish liability.
Can Drunk Bicyclists Recover Damages If They Get Injured in an Accident?
Yes, because Florida’s comparative fault or negligence rules apply to all traffic accidents. The law provides that injured people are liable for their portion of fault and damages if they contributed in some way to the cause of the accident. So, if a drunk bicyclist is partly to blame for the crash, their compensation will be decreased by the percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say the drunk bicyclist’s share of fault is 30%, and their damages amount to $300,000. They will receive $210,000, which is $300,000 less 30%.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident?
It is common for insurance carriers to try and blame drunk bicyclists for the crash to deny their claim or significantly reduce the compensation they can recover. But you can help protect your legal right to proper compensation after getting injured in a bicycle accident, even if you were drunk, by:
- Not admitting fault for the accident
- Calling the police as soon as possible to ensure that a police report is created
- Seeking medical treatment for your injuries as soon as you can
- Documenting the scene using photos, videos, witness statements, etc.
- Not talking to the other party’s insurer, claims adjuster, or lawyer before speaking to a Sarasota bicycle accident lawyer first
Consult with a Top Sarasota Bicycle Accident Lawyer Now
Whether or not you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while riding your bike, you deserve fair compensation for your accident-related losses. Call Matthews Injury Law at 941-877-5800 or contact us online to arrange your free case evaluation with our Sarasota bicycle accident lawyer.