How road surfaces are maintained has much more of an impact on cyclists than it does on motorists, who may be annoyed by a pothole, but who will not usually be thrown from their vehicles into the street. This susceptibility has a number of different causes, including the relative instability of bicycles as compared to vehicles, as well as their thin tires, both of which make abrupt changes in the road surface extremely dangerous. Recovering compensation from the at-fault government entities or third parties who fail to address these kinds of problems in our roadways is possible, but can be complicated, so if you were hurt in an accident caused by a road hazard, you should think about reaching out to an experienced Miami bicycle accident lawyer for help.
Of the many types of road hazards faced by cyclists, potholes are perhaps the most dangerous. These kinds of defects usually occur for one of two reasons:
- The sinking or cracking of inferior temporary road repairs; or
- Breakages caused by long-term wear and tear on the road surface.
In cases involving the former, injured cyclists may be entitled to recovery if they can prove that the entity that performed the roadwork failed to provide cyclists and motorists with sufficient warning of the hazard, such as blocking off or placing cones around the area. If, on the other hand, the pothole can be attributed to long-term wear and tear, then the key question will be how long the pothole was present and whether the agency in charge of maintenance had notice of it. Generally, the older a defect is found to be, the more likely it is that an agency was aware of it.
Broken or Outdated Drainage Grates
Drainage grates can also pose a serious danger to cyclists. Many grates, for instance, are placed with their bars going the same direction as traffic. While this isn’t usually dangerous for motorists, it can be dangerous for cyclists, whose tires can become stuck between the grates themselves. While many cities and counties across Florida have started changing the shape and direction of sewer grates, or have attempted to partially cover them with crosshatch safety bars, thousands of dangerous grates still remain. If a cyclist injured in this kind of accident can prove that others have been injured in the same place or that the city or county failed to take steps to eliminate the danger, he or she could be entitled to damages.
Rarely used or abandoned railroad tracks can also present a hazard to cyclists, especially when they run on the roadway in the same direction as traffic, or when they cross the road at a curve or angle. Bike wheels can easily become caught in the space between the roadway and rail, causing a cyclist to be thrown into the road. A failure to provide sufficient warning to cyclists could be enough to demonstrate liability in this type of personal injury case.
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Filing a claim against a government agency or third-party contractor can be complicated. It is, however, often the only way for an injured cyclist to recover compensation for his or her preventable accident-related losses. Please call 305-371-2692 to learn more about how the dedicated Miami bicycle accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP can help you.