Tag Archives: Bicycle accident lawyer

Are Onewheels Safe?

Onewheels is a Fun RideIf you are like us and spend any time in Downtown Pensacola, you have probably seen the hottest new method of getting around town—a motorized, skateboard-like object that has one wide, treaded tire in the middle of the board instead of four smaller ones.

At first blush, “Onewheels” as they are appropriately known, look like a fun, exhilarating ride for those looking for a cross between a skateboard and a dirt bike. Unlike those vehicles, Onewheels promises that “anyone” can ride one “with little instruction and practice” because it is “packed with technology that actively helps to keep you balanced.”

However, injury lawsuits have followed the Onewheels around since it began to be manufactured in 2015. Specifically, many people have filed claims in the six years since the Onewheel hit the market based on allegations that the machine abruptly stops while underway.


When the motor stops, the machine pitches forward and dumps the rider out onto the ground, causing bone fractures, concussions, and other injuries.


Why You Can’t Anticipate A Fall From A Onewheel

While some may look at these accidents as like the accidents that can happen on a bike or a skateboard or surfboard, the common thread in all the claims is that while a person can usually anticipate a fall from a skateboard or similar, man-powered device, a person cannot anticipate an abrupt motor failure. Even some of the world’s most talented and famous surfers and skaters have experienced serious injuries while using Onewheels—which should certainly make the rest of us pause before we rent or buy one.

If you or a loved ones experience an injury during a Onewheels ride, it may not be your fault. At least three wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Onewheels stemming from accidents involving the abrupt stoppage defect—one each in Texas, California, and New York.

Product Liability

In many product liability circumstances, the law imposes “strict liability” on the maker of a product for injuries caused by a defect. This means that a manufacturer of a product can be liable for injuries caused by a product defect even in the absence of negligence. If negligence exists, a plaintiff can make claims for negligent design and/or negligent manufacture in addition to the strict liability claims.

Risk of Concussion… or Worse

If a Onewheel accident were to cause the rider to hit the ground headfirst, it may put them at risk of concussions and traumatic brain injuries, or they may land hard enough on their forward-leaning hand or arm to fracture bones.

Protective gear is your last line of defense against the harsh and unforgiving nature of a hard surface. Falling from any electric skateboard is painful, but falling from a Onewheel really sucks.

Onewheel are balanced on a single wheel, therefore, it is much easier to be thrown from the board. The One wheels are also very mobile and nibble, making deep carves a thing of ease. Of course, this is what makes them so much fun to ride, however, this nimbleness also makes it super easy to come unstuck.

It’s easy to catch an edge of the Onewheel’s deck, carve to hard or overcompensate on a turn, become undone on a small bump or crack, or overbalance and be thrown with momentum off the board’s deck.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to put on some gloves, a helmet, and protective clothing or at least thick pants and a durable jacket to protect you whenever you are riding just in case an accident does occur.


ONEWHEEL SAFETY TIPS:

  1. Wear your safety gear whenever heading out for a ride.
  2. Start with beginner mode
  3. Stick to beginner modes like Mission or Delirium if you are new to riding Onewheel.
  4. Avoid maxing out a modes top speed. Try to stick to 3-5 miles per hour below the max.
  5. Keep your weight centered over the wheel and don’t lean too far forward and risk nosedive. 
  6. Also, make sure not to accelerate too hard while going uphill, riding into a strong wind, or while traveling over bumps or cracks.
  7. And lastly, be vigilant of your Onewheel’s battery level. Check it regularly on the Onewheel app.

If you are injured in an accident involving a Onewheels or any other similar device, it is important to contact an experienced product liability lawyer as fast as possible. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts” in a particular field. However, the Bar does allow lawyers who work on personal injury cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are specialists in civil trial.

So, when potential clients ask us about whether or when to hire a lawyer after an accident, we remind them that only a board-certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law. Since all injury lawyers have the same “no fee no cost unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason to hire someone who is not a specialist.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/onewheel-skateboard-injury-lawsuit-7316679/

https://oneradwheel.com/severe-trauma-from-onewheel-to-er-to-icu-lessons-learned/

https://thetechleaders.com/the-burning-question-are-onewheel-boards-safe/

https://apnews.com/press-release/pr-newswire/business-health-b908e4a5ca916b6441aaa59c7713270b

Meet Our Summer Clerks: Billy Harris

Meet Our Summer Clerks: Billy HarrisBilly Harris
Law Student at Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Hometown – Pensacola, Florida

Billy Harris Q&A:

1. School You Are Attending And What Year Of Law School Are You In?

Cumberland School of Law, going into my second year.

2. What Area Of Law Are You Interested In Pursuing? When Did You Know You Wanted To Be A Lawyer? 

The more I study the more areas that I am interested in. But I have a big interest in both business law (transactional and litigation), as well as personal injury.

3. What Do You Hope To Learn While Interning At Zarzaur Law, P.A.? 

Everything and anything that I am able to do while I am here, it has been a great experience so far and I have learned so much already.

4. Why Did You Choose Zarzaur Law, P.A.?

Joe is a Cumberland alum which I think is neat, I had also heard tremendous things about both The Firm and Mr. Zarzaur personally.

5. Name Some Of Your Top Achievements Thus Far

I have reinstated the Florida Student Bar Association and am currently its sitting President.

6. What Do You Like To Do? (Hobbies, Sports, Charity Work)

I love to be outdoors, golfing, going to the beach, etc.

7. Who (Dead Or Alive) Would You Like To Meet And Why? 

Probably our Nation’s Founding Fathers. I love history so I think it would be really interesting to meet anyone from that time, but it would be a huge added bonus to really see what the people who founded our country were really like.

8. Why Do You Love / Like Pensacola? 

I love the perfect mix of large and small-town appeal that it holds, also all my family is here so it’ll always be home.

9. Best Piece Of Advice That You Have Ever Received? (By Who?)

Just to work hard and to always keep trying to get myself better, I have been fortunate in that I have parents who’ve provided me with enough advice for two lifetimes and are always able to make me remember just exactly why I am doing what I am trying to do. (Become a lawyer)

10. What Are Your Reading?

Mostly caselaw!

WATCH DANIEL’S INTERVIEW WITH JOE HERE!  >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet SkiAccidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

 

Florida Changes Bicycle Safety Law in Effort to Reduce Fatal Accidents

Since COVID19, more people are riding bicycles. It is a great way to get exercise and fresh air. However, more bikes on the road mean more injuries for bike riders.


IT IS ESTIMATED THAT ALMOST 1000 PEOPLE DIE PER YEAR IN BIKE ACCIDENTS WITH AUTOMOBILES OR TRUCKS


Most vehicles vs bike accidents occur in rush hour, or just after dark when traffic conditions are most crowded and dangerous. 80 percent happen in urban areas with 63 percent on major roadways.

Astounding Bicycle vs Automobile Fatal Accident Statistics

8 times more men than women die in these incidents (Most are 50 years old or older)

25 percent who died were intoxicated.

37 percent of the automobile drivers were intoxicated in these deadly crashes.

61 percent who died were not wearing helmets.

It should be noted that these statistics were for the years 2010-2019. It is anticipated that there will be many more accidents and deadly accidents recorded in 2020 and 2021.

New Florida Law Passed to Address This Problem

The 2021 session of the Florida legislature passed a sweeping new law to address this deadly problem. Senate bill 950, entitled Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety came into effect July 1, 2021 and addresses many common safety issues. This bill revises requirements for drivers of motor vehicles overtaking bikes, turning bikes, riding configurations and cyclist rules at stop signs. It also required the Florida DOT to have an annual awareness and safety campaign and require the driver’s license exam to include bicycle safety questions. The bill passed unanimously and was signed by Governor DeSantis.

Cars Overtaking a Bike or E-bike.

Florida law governs the situation where a car overtakes a bike or e-bike. The law requires a car to remain a safe distance behind a cyclist before being able to pass them. It also requires at least three feet of clearance space when passing. It also legalizes driving safely and briefly to the left of the center in a no-passing zone to allow the safe passage of cyclists. This is a significant change to the law as it was previously not allowed.

The law prohibits right turns from a side road unless the cyclist is at least 20 feet away from the intersection. This prevents the “right hook” crash where the turning driver crashes into the bicyclist who is close to the intersection.

The law allows a cyclist turning left at an intersection to use the whole left turn lane. It requires the cyclist to stay close to the right edge of the roadway after crossing the intersection.

Single (or two) Cyclist and Narrow Lane

As you know, many areas now have dedicated bike lanes, which cyclists are required to use. However, in areas where there is no such lane, the cyclist must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. This allows cars to safely travel past them. Similarly, if the bike lane is too narrow to accommodate cyclists riding abreast, the cyclist must ride single file. Unfortunately, many lanes are too narrow to accommodate two cyclists. Cyclists may only ride more than two abreast if riding on a dedicated bike path, not a bike lane on a roadway.

What About Groups of Cyclists on the Road?

Cycling groups are more common than ever. Such groups must come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Motor vehicles must allow one group of 10 to travel forward before moving through an intersection. It is hopeful that common courtesy would avoid this problem, but motorists must yield to cyclists in this manner or be in violation of the law.

Violation of the New Law

The new law states that a violation of any of these rules is non-criminal inflation, punishable as a moving violation. Presumably, a violation would include points on your driver’s license and negatively affect your insurance rates.

The law also provides for required safety programs and for at least 25 questions in the test bank for the driver’s license set to address bike and pedestrian safety.

Final Overview:

Now motorists MUST obey the 3 feet passing law
If a motorist cannot give 3 feet when passing, then the motorist must stay behind the cyclist until passing with at least 3 feet is possible.  Law enforcement previously complained about the difficulty in enforcing the 3 feet passing law.  This law improves enforcement.

Motorists CAN cross the center lane in a no-passing zone to safely pass a cyclist.
The law makes it legal for a motorist to briefly and safely cross the center lane in a no-passing zone, in order to pass a cyclist by 3 feet.  Previously, it was confusing as to whether motorists could cross a double yellow line to pass a cyclist.  Now it is clear that they can, rather than passing dangerously within 3 feet.

Motorists CANNOT turn right in front of a cyclist within 20 feet of any intersection.
The law states that a motorist, who is going in the same direction as a cyclist, may not make a right turn if the cyclist is within 20 feet of this intersection.  This is a designed safety provision to prevent “right hook” crashes by cyclists.

Bicyclists SHOULD use the left lane before making a left turn.
The law clarifies that bicyclists should use the left lane for motor vehicle traffic before attempting to make a left turn at an intersection.

Group riders should cross intersections with stop signs in groups of 10 or less. 
The law describes how cyclists should handle stop signs when participating in a group ride.  The law says that after coming to a complete stop, bicyclists can proceed through the intersection in a group of 10 or less at a time.  Vehicles must allow a group of 10 or less to get through the intersection before the vehicle moves forward.

 

Zarzaur Law, P.A. handles many cases involving serious injury from these devastating bicycle crashes and welcomes any laws or regulations that will improve safety. Violation of these rules is an important issue in cases involving bikes and cars and often requires a careful analysis to make your case.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Sources:

https://www.wpbf.com/article/florida-bicycle-safety-laws-in-effect-education/37036312

https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/BillSummaries/2021/html/2502

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/contributors/2021/07/19/law-change-crossing-double-yellow-ok-protect-bike-riders-opinion/7929452002/

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/950

 

 

 

National Bike Month – Florida Laws for Cyclists

About Florida Laws for Cyclists
Americans are increasingly bicycling to commute, for exercise, or just for fun – especially post COVID. By Florida Laws for Cyclists, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR CYCLISTS IN FLORIDA? >

May is Bicycle Safety Month, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges bicyclists and motorists to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws and respecting each other’s rights. Bicycle Safety Month was created to remind the public to put “safety first.


  • Nearly 700 cyclists died on U.S. roads last year. The vast majority were men, who comprised 80.1% of the victims. Women accounted for 12.8%. Unknown accounted for 7.2%
  • Hit-and-run accidents accounted for more than a quarter of the fatal accidents in 2020. That number was 26.1%.
  • The states with the most cyclist deaths were California (118); Florida (90); New York (44); Texas (44); and Louisiana (34). While populous states such as California and Florida had some of the most cyclist deaths per million residents, Louisiana tops that list. That state recorded 7.3 fatalities per million residents.

Things You must know about Florida Laws for Cyclists
For Motorists, “SAFETY FIRST”  Means That Vehicles Must Share the Road with Bicyclists.  NHTSA Strongly Advises Motorists To:

  • Always respect bike lanes and allow at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist
  • Be vigilant of cyclists before opening a car door or reversing in a parking lot
  • Check for cyclists before making a turn
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as instructed by road signage
  • Never drive under the influence or when you are distracted

The NHTSA Strongly Recommends That Cyclists:

  • USE A PROPERLY FITTED CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (CPSC) APPROVED HELMET. For more information on fitting a bike helmet, visit your trusted bicycle store or the NHTSA website.
  • ENSURE ALL EQUIPMENT AND PARTS (BRAKES, TIRES, SEATS, HANDLEBARS) FUNCTION – and fit properly.
  • RIDE STRAIGHT AND USE HAND SIGNALS AT EVERY LANE CHANGE –  or turn so motorists can anticipate your movements.
  • ALWAYS OBEY ROAD SIGNAGE – as well as signals and lane markings. Travel with traffic in the same direction.
  • STAY ALERT FOR TRAFFIC AND OBSTACLES – Avoid the use of any electronic devices.
  • ENSURE VISIBILITY TO MOTORISTS  – by wearing bright, reflective colors and using bicycle lights at dusk or dark.
  • NEVER RIDE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR when you are distracted.
  • DON’T GET DOORED– Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road lined with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in the car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.
  • SIGNAL A WARNING– Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potentially dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.
  • STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE– Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or an instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.
  • READ THE LIGHTS– Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.
  • KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY– If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling but be prepared to stop.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

 

Sources:
https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/safety-tips-for-motorists-and-cyclists-for-national-bike-month/

https://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/

https://www.outsideonline.com/2420196/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year#close

Hit and Run Fatalities Are On The Rise In Florida.

As an Ironman® triathlete who has spent many hours on a bike, I have become quite familiar with the dangers associated with being a pedestrian on our roadways.  In fact, I have just about given up doing my training rides on the actual roads and do about 95% of my training on an indoor trainer.

Share the Road

Even though the law in Florida requires that motorist “share the road” with cyclist that law does not appear to deter many driver’s from creating hazards for cyclists.  Sometimes these issues are caused by plain inattention or distraction like when they are on their phones.  Other times, however, motorist get frustrated that you are in the roadway at all and attempt to intimidate cyclist by getting their vehicles within inches of the bike.  The end result is, unfortunately, the same:  unnecessary injuries and deaths.  Many times, these events are also followed by the driver fleeing the scene of the collision.

An Increase in Hit and Run Accidents

Loosely these events are called “hit and run” accidents since the driver causes a collision (hit) with their vehicle and then leaves the scene (run).  Last year, fatalities in Florida from hit and run accidents went up 18% from 2019.  Further, more pedestrians were also killed by vehicles hit and ran from the scene than were reported in 2019.

Complicating this issue is that 85% of these hit and run accidents occur after dusk and before dawn.  So, they happen under the partial or total cover of darkness making the identification process that much harder.  It also makes the at fault driver more likely to have been under the influence of something, the later in the night it gets.  Of the 254 pedestrians hit by cars last year, 137 of them were walking on or near the roadway and 25 of them were on bikes.

Investigation Tools

Fortunately, the abundance of security cameras in both residential and commercial areas has provided a key investigation tool in attempting to identify vehicles involved in a hit and run.  Many times, eyewitness accounts of a nighttime event will render various descriptions of the car and the driver since darkness if not helpful in allowing for a clear view of the hit and run suspect or their vehicle.

Even partial tag numbers can be helpful on many occasions.  In fact, our investigation team can run a search with a partial tag number and a general description of a car.  This will allow for a report of all cars meeting that description with those numbers of letters in their tag.  So, memorizing the entire tag number is not always required to help identify the suspect.  Partial tag numbers especially if the letters or numerals are consecutive are sufficient some of the time to at least narrow the suspect list down to a manageable number.

The Investigation Process in a Civil Case

It is extremely important in hit and run cases that the law firm start the investigation as soon as possible.  The authorities will do some initial investigation but if they hit a wall, they rarely push through it unless there is a fatality.  In fact, it has been our experience here at Zarzaur Law, that unless there is a fatality, authorities will likely not have a huge incentive to get to the bottom of any event unless the injuries are life-threatening.

Burden of Proof – Civil vs Criminal

Also, it is noteworthy that the criminal justice system requires that the State prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt”.  This means that authorities investigating a hit and run accident will need to find compelling evidence that a specific person not just a specific car was involved before they can bring criminal charges.   However, in the civil justice system the burden of proof is “more likely than not” which is a much lower bar than in the criminal system.  Further, we are looking for the owner of the car and the driver and can use either as targets to get more information.

Another helpful piece of information is that criminal hit and run investigations sometimes stop when the suspect pleads the 5th amendment and refuses to answer questions when asked by the investigating officer.  In the civil system, however, we can actually use the fact that the suspect pleads the 5th against him or her in proving that they committed the civil offense.  The basis for this is that the constitution protects you from self-INCRIMINATION not from admitting to a NON-CRIMINAL offense.

Hit and Run Case in Downtown Pensacola

Our firm has handled many types of hit and run accidents and have typically been successful in identifying the suspect(s) and bringing them to justice in the civil system.  We have also noticed that if we are able to find more evidence in the civil system, we can refer those items to the investigating officer and in some cases, they can re-open the criminal investigation into the hit and run suspect.

Watch our ZTV video segment which provides an overview of an actual Hit and Run case that happened in Downtown Pensacola, FL and handled by Zarzaur Law, PA, plus an interview with the victim (our client).  >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one is a victim of a hit and run accident, whether they be a pedestrian or a cyclist, it is imperative that you get a law firm on your side as soon as possible.  There must be evidence collection and investigation performed within hours or days of the event.  Weeks or months will be too far removed for any meaningful evidence collection for sure.  If you have further questions about hit and run accidents please call us at 855HIREjoe or you can find us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

Hit-and-run crash fatalities rise in Florida

https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/hitrun/

 

Florida Law Related to E-Bikes.

E-bikes are becoming more and more popular in our country.  In fact, in the last 3 years the sales of these motor assisted bikes has tripled and there were approximately 65 million in e-bike sales in 2017.  These bikes are popular since they open the activity to groups of individuals that would otherwise not feel comfortable or capable of riding a human power bike given physical condition.  For those that are perfectly capable, these e-bikes allow the rider to increase the distance that they otherwise would not be able to drive on their bikes.

Studies have suggested that e-bikes require 64% less energy than walking and 22% less energy than regular cycling.  Even though regular cyclist may not be attracted to an e-bike, it certainly increases the group of potential riders when those who ordinarily would not consider a regular bike would be more likely to cycle on a bike with an electric engine.

 

DEFINITION OF AN E-BIKE
In Florida, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle” so long as it is capable of being propelled by human power and has a maximum speed of 20mph.  The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles.

 

REQUIREMENTS TO OWN AND RIDE AN E-BIKE
E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirement that apply to motor vehicles.  Certain communities in Florida have outlawed e-bikes and so it is important that you check with your local governing agencies before purchasing one of these bikes since each city or county may have special laws applying to these vehicles.

Gas powered bikes are illegal in Florida.

Helmets are not required by law and the minimum age for use of e-bikes is 16.  E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths but many counties require that when being used on sidewalks that bikes must be ONLY under human power and not motorized.

Florida Statutes Sections 322.01, 316.003.

 

E-MOUNTAIN BIKES (eMTB)
The rules associated with trails varies significantly depending upon whether the trail is managed by federal, state, or local government agencies.  You should consult each such trail prior to operating a e-bike on such trail.

E-MTBs May Not be Allowed on Trails Managed for Non-motorized Activities.

Most importantly, from a safety standpoint helmets, although not required by law, should always be worn on all types of bikes.  This is even more important when the bike is operated at higher speeds since the greater the bike’s speed the greater the force of any impact that a collision would cause.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF FLORIDA LAW VIOLATIONS AS IT PERTAINS TO E-BIKES.
1. If you are caught operating an e-bike under motorized power on a sidewalk, the operator will be issued a moving traffic citation for operating a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk. Florida Statute 316.1995.

2. Parents who knowingly allow a juvenile who has no driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle on public streets may be cited for a violation of Florida Statute 322.35, “Permitting an Unauthorized Minor to Drive.”  This is an arrest-able misdemeanor.

 

E-BIKE INJURIES
Injuries can occur on e-bikes just like they can occur on any motorized vehicle.  Many of these e-bikes look like and have the safety reflectors and lighting as any other bike.  This makes them less visible than most cars and motorcycles, especially at night.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one injured on an e-bike and you have questions about the legal rights relating to such injuries, please feel free to contact Zarzaur Law at 855-HIREJOE or zarzaurlaw.com. There is no fee or cost unless we win and all consultations prior to recovery are free.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-ebike-trade-off-seems-to-be-less-exercise-more-enjoyment-and-fewer-showers/2018/05/05/5990770a-4ede-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/as-e-biking-grows-us-cities-consider-easing-rules-on-where-the-machines-may-be-used/2018/04/06/d20b2f58-3756-11e8-8fd2-49fe3c675a89_story.html

Renewed Popularity of Riding Bikes: Safety is More Important Than Ever.

May is National Bike Month and bicycling has certainly seen a recent resurgence. During the COVID-19 quarantine, the beaches in Florida were closed, along with gyms – so many people have turned to a pastime favorite to stay in shape or get back in shape: bicycle riding.

Stores all over Florida, and the country, have seen a boom in bicycle sales and some are even sold out. There has been a certain uptick in seeing whole families riding bikes. A byproduct of the quarantine that has provided a silver lining. People are embracing health, wellness, active family time, togetherness and safety.

Bicyclists and shop owners say people are thinking more about their health and looking for safe ways to be together. It’s all about family and getting back to the basics.

Bicycling is also a cost-effective mode of transportation as well as way to reduce air pollution.

In general, roads are getting safer due to reduced traffic while businesses and schools are closed. It is very important however to think about safety on the roads now and as automobile traffic begins to pick back up with the loosening of restrictions. It is extremely important to not only have the proper protective equipment – helmet, lights, bright colored clothing, etc., but it is also about how cyclists interact with motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and bicycling.com reminds us to keep in mind the following guidelines when riding a bicycle to reduce the risk of accidents and avoid injuries.

BE VISIBLE – Use protective equipment such as a helmet, a white front light, and a red rear light. Don’t forget to use reflectors on the bicycle, helmet, and clothes.

GO STRAIGHT – Plan a safe route. Choose roads with less traffic and slower speeds. Always ride in a straight a line as possible so drivers can sense how far left they have to go to get past you safely. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

DON’T GET DOORED – Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road line with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.

USE COMMON SENSE – Do not use your cell phone or listen to music during your trip. It requires that your vision and attention stay focused on the road.

SIGNAL A WARNING – Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potential dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.

STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE – Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choice: a panic stop or instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.

READ THE LIGHTS – Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.

KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY – If you have the right of way in an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling, but be prepared to stop.

Drivers should also keep in mind the following key points when sharing the public roads with other cyclists.

BE COURTEOUS – Give way to cyclists in the same way you would with another vehicle on the road.

RIGHT ON RED – Avoid hitting a cyclist when you turn right on red. Observe to your right and behind you to make sure there are no cyclists nearby.

OBEY SPEED LIMITS – Reduce speed if road conditions are hazardous and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

PASSING – Do not pass a cyclist too closely. Pass a cyclist only when it is safe if you need to cross into the adjacent lane.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Bicyclists beware: The psychology of car-bike crash risks. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/motr/bicyclist-beware-cars-view-less-risk-in-crashes-with-bikes.html

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (2016) Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics [Statistics]. Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/resources/crash-citation-reports/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.). Bicycle safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

333 Secrets of the Lifetime Rider. https://www.bicycling.com

https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/04/coronavirus-biking-critical-in-cities

https://www.consumerreports.org/bikes/bike-riding-safety-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-bikes/wary-of-public-transport-coronavirus-hit-americans-turn-to-bikes-idUSKBN21Z1BX

Bicycle Traffic Law

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/coronavirus/fl-ne-south-florida-booming-bike-shops-20200506-h3pudf7kcrg45aaylc4ducdsoi-story.html

Driver and Cyclist Crash-Risk Perception. Do You Know the Rules?

Florida’s roads and streets are the main scenario for the interaction between pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and more. We face the everyday hazardous act of sharing the roads, trusting in the driving and riding knowledge of everyone in traffic. But what happens when this knowledge is affected by a different perception of reality?

ZL_blog_Cars_&_BicyclesAccording to the Association for Phycological Science (APS), a 2012 study revealed there’s a difference between cyclists’ and drivers’ perceptions about road interaction. The study showed that cyclists look at the car-bike road interactions as risky and with a high crash propensity. On the other hand, the study found drivers look at the car-bike dynamic with less chance of accident and less risky than other automobile accidents. These hard findings make drivers think about the importance of complying with the regulations and, above all, the need to respect other users on the road. Cyclists must also engage in responsible riding and respect all motor vehicles.

Looking into the statistics published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the annual average number of bicycle accidents in the last five years is 6,800 and the number of bicycle crash fatalities is 135 per year. This fact makes it even more imperative for both parties to become aware of the dangers they face when driving and riding the public roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and bicycling.com reminds us to keep in mind the following guidelines when riding a bicycle to reduce the risk of accidents and avoid injuries.

BE VISIBLE – Use protective equipment such as a helmet, a white front light, and a red rear light. Don’t forget to use reflectors on the bicycle, helmet, and clothes.

GO STRAIGHT – Plan a safe route. Choose roads with less traffic and slower speeds. Always ride in a straight a line as possible so drivers can sense how far left they have to go to get past you safely. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

DON’T GET DOORED – Avoid getting clotheslined by a car door! On a road line with parked cars, take up more of the lane. Assume that the person in car does not know you are coming and will open the car door. Look over your left shoulder to check that traffic is clear and give the car a wide berth. Also, look at wheels and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers if the car’s wheels are turned and they pull out in front of you. The driver may honk at you…but at least they saw you.

USE COMMON SENSE – Do not use your cell phone or listen to music during your ride. It requires that your vision and attention stay focused on the road.

SIGNAL A WARNING – Before passing a pedestrian announce yourself with “on your left” or “passing on your left” or using a bell so they can be aware of your presence. It is also important to use your ears in vehicle traffic, since many engine sounds can tip you off to any danger, with possibly the exception of hybrid engines that don’t make much noise. When a potential dangerous encounter occurs, a scream is instant and can get a driver’s attention.

STAY TO THE RIGHT AND BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY MOVE – Drive in the same direction as traffic. If the driver passes you and immediately begins to turn right, you have two choices: a panic stop or instant turn. If you must panic stop, then shift your butt to the right of your saddle, straighten your arms as you lower your chest, and squeeze both brakes firmly. Never squeeze just the front brake or you’ll pitch forward. Or you can avoid the collisions by making a right turn with the car. If possible, brake before the turn, not during it. Keep your right pedal up so it won’t hit the curb. Be fair and take your fair share of the lane to avoid being overtaken by a car.

READ THE LIGHTS – Obey road signs and drive predictably. Stay clear of traffic by staying ahead of it, however, don’t gain ground at red lights by passing a lane of cars on the right. It’s illegal and you can get “doored” from either side.

KEEP PEDALING & RIDE ASSERTIVELY – If you have the right of way at an intersection, don’t coast through or drivers may assume they can cut in front of you. Keep pedaling, but be prepared to stop.

Drivers should also keep in mind the following key points when sharing the public roads with other cyclists.

BE COURTEOUS – Give way to cyclists in the same way you would with another vehicle on the road.

RIGHT ON RED – Avoid hitting a cyclist when you turn right in red. Observe to your right and behind you to make sure there are no cyclists nearby.

OBEY SPEED LIMITS – Reduce speed if road conditions are hazardous and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

PASSING – Do not pass a cyclist too closely. Pass a cyclist only when it is safe if you need to cross into the adjacent lane.

Common Motorist Errors: How to Avoid them

TURNING LEFT AND CUTTING CYCLIST OFF – When a driver is turning left in front of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight through an intersection: Make eye contact with the driver and nod to indicate you’re moving forward.

RUNNING THROUGH A STOP SIGN – If a driver fails to obey a stop sign and pulls in front of a rider: Stand on your pedals at stop signs to improve visibility.

TURNING RIGHT AFTER PASSING – Keep your hand on the brake when a driver passes and look for a turn signal.

Sharing the road is mandatory, so it is important to to have a sense of safety and security for both cyclists and drivers. Practice the guidelines above to keep roads free of accidents. Remember that sharing the streets is about promoting mutual understanding and above all avoiding accidents and injuries.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:
Association for Psychological Science. (n.d.). Bicyclists beware: The psychology of car-bike crash risks. Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/motr/bicyclist-beware-cars-view-less-risk-in-crashes-with-bikes.html

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (2016) Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics [Statistics]. Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/resources/crash-citation-reports/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.). Bicycle safety. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

333 Secrets of the Lifetime Rider. https://www.bicycling.com

RECALL: Kidde Nighthawk Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerPensacola Product Liability: Recall Alert

The Kidde NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are being recalled because the alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven-year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The company is recalling 3.6 million Kidde NightHawk talking combo smoke/CO alarms in the U.S. and another 1.5 million in Canada. Alarms with the model number KN-COSM-IB and manufacture dates between June 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2010 come under the recall.

The alarms are hard-wired into a home’s electric power. The unit has a compartment on the back for the installation of a replaceable 9V backup battery.

The alarm is white, round and measures about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. “Kidde” is engraved on the front of the alarm. “Kidde,” the model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back on the alarm.

The alarms were sold at electrical distributors and home centers nationwide and online on Amazon.com from June 2004 through December 2010 for between $40 and $65.

Kidde has received eight reports of incidents with the recalled alarms. No injuries have been reported.

Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

Pensacola Product Liability LawyerSmoke detectors are invaluable in saving lives. It is estimated that three-fifths of all deaths from home fires occurred in homes without smoke detectors. But what happens when a smoke detector fails to alert residents of the presence of smoke? Who is responsible for smoke detector failure?

 

To prove a Pensacola product liability claim against a smoke detector manufacturer, the plaintiff is required to show:

  • That The Smoke Detector Was A Defective Product;
  • That The Defective Product Created An Unreasonably Dangerous Risk That Was Not Outweighed By The Benefits Of The Product;
  • And That The Defective Nature Of The Product Was The Cause Of The Plaintiff’s Injuries Or Damages.

The actions of the plaintiffs in maintaining the smoke detectors and in responding to the alarms can provide a defense for smoke detector manufacturers in Pensacola product liability actions.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled alarms and call Kidde directly at 855-239-0490 for a free replacement alarm, or a discount on a new alarm. Kidde toll-free at 855-239-0490 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Notice” for more information.

Securing Compensation for Victims of Defective Products

Zarzaur Law acts promptly in defective product cases to maximize the chance of fair recovery for our clients’ Pensacola product liability claims. We first secure the product itself for examination by experts. We consult with the most qualified engineers, mechanics, and other experts to research the design and manufacturing process. Our Pensacola product liability lawyers also investigate any history of similar defective product claims against the company and the manufacturers’ response to concerns about product safety.

We invest a lot of time and money in defective product cases to ensure that our clients get full compensation from manufacturers of unsafe products.

For more information, visit our Pensacola product liability page.

October Recap: Zarzaur Law Firm

October Happenings at Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, Zarzaur Law Firm

October was an exciting month at Pensacola Car Accident Lawyer, Joe Zarzaur’s Law firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A.  – Along with the resurrection of Gallery Night, Zarzaur Law sponsored several local races, participated in Downtown Pensacola’s annual Trick or Treat event and even had to deal with the aftermath of a fire!

Gallery Night October 2017

At Zarzaur Law, a Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney, October’s Downtown Pensacola Gallery Night Kicked off early. “Legal Graffiti” is an event hosted at the Zarzaur Law offices during each and every Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola. The event raised money for two non-profits this time around, FavorHouse and The American Cancer Society, Pensacola.

 

Run Pensacola

Pensacola Car Accident LawyerPensacola Car Accident Law Firm, Zarzaur Law, P.A. Sponsored two Run Pensacola events in October – the Bridge to Bridge 5k and the Pensacola Perfect 10. Don’t forget to sign up for the end of the year runs: The Pensacola Turkey Trot, the Ho Ho Hustle & The Holiday Half, all put on by Run Pensacola!

 

October Feature in the Business Climate

Pensacola Auto Accident AttorneyJoe and his office/residence were featured in the 12th annual Downtown issue of Business Climate.  Zarzaur’s current residence is a building constructed in the 1800’s – chalk full of history and interesting facts about Downtown Pensacola. Grab an issue or read it online today

 

Palafox Subway Catches Fire

Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney“The Subway below us had a fire last night. We are all ok, and our home on the corner of Palafox and Romana will be ok too, lots of smoke. From all of us at Zarzaur Law P.A.; thank you City of Pensacola first responders! Our Pensacola Fire Department and our Pensacola Police Department response last night was amazing.
We appreciate you!”

 


Afterward, Pensacola auto accident lawyer, Joe Zarzaur brought over a catered lunch to the Pensacola Fire Department to thank them for everything they’ve done!

 

Thanks again to Pensacola Fire Department nd Pensacola Police Department from Zarzaur Law, P.A!

 

Downtown Pensacola Trick or Treat

Pensacola Car Crash Attorney

The Zarzaur Law, P.A. team working together at the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board’s Annual Trick or Treat event!

 

 

One of Pensacola’s most anticipated events of the year, the family-friendly returned to Palafox Street for another fun night. More than 50 businesses along Palafox, marked with a trick-or-treat poster displayed in their window, were ready to fill bags with candy and other Halloween goodies – Including Zarzaur Law! For the second year in a row, the Superhero block was the talk of the town, giving out handfuls of candy and safety reflectors for Halloween Night.