Bicycle Accidents Caused by Dangerous Roads, Paths, and Bicycle Lanes

Not all bicycle accidents are caused by negligent motorists.  Cyclists also crash because the roads, multi-use paths, trails, or bike lanes they were using were unsafe.

I have handled cases against the parties who failed to maintain roads or trails for more than 30 years.

How do roads or bike lanes or trails become unmaintained?

Government may put a lower priority on maintenance of road shoulders or bike lanes than lanes for cars. Cities or counties may blame budget concerns or lack of sufficient manpower for their lack of maintenance.  

I handled a recent case against a Florida city, where the city employee in charge of road maintenance admitted in his deposition that safe roads for cars are more important than safe facilities for bikes. Trails are often ignored for routine maintenance and repair.

It is especially important that roads and trails be kept safe for bicycle riders. Because cyclists are riding on only two wheels which are much narrower than the wheels or cars or trucks, they are at high risk of having an accident when a road or trail is neglected.

Consider the FAQs below:

FAQs about Legal Claims for Negligently-Maintained Roads and Trails

If you have a question about that isn't answered, please contact me.

What kind of legal claims have you handled for bike or e-bike riders who crashed on dangerous roads or trails?

I recently won compensation for a cyclist who fell in a large pothole which covered a significant part of a bike lane. Before the bike accident, local citizens had complained repeatedly about the pothole over months. One citizen warned the that the pothole was getting worse. Another warned that an accident was likely going to happen. The government did not timely repair the pothole or safeguard the bike lane with barricades or warning devices.

I have represented cyclists whose front wheels fell into the slats on a drain grating on the shoulder of the road. There are still treacherous drain gratings all over Florida, where the grate openings run parallel to the path of a bike tire.

I have represented a cyclist who fell on a rail trail which was poorly maintained. Tree roots caused the asphalt trail to buckle, and the government failed to repair it or warn users.

I have helped a cyclist who had an accident on a sidewalk which suddenly terminated in the middle of a block. After the sidewalk ended, there was a grassy ditch. At night, the cyclist did not see the sidewalk went to nowhere. The cyclist crashed and injured his shoulder.

I have assisted a cyclist who crashed on one of Florida’s many metal grating bridges.

What is the deadline to make a legal claim for negligent maintenance of a road, bike lane, or trail?

Up until 2023, Florida law gave you 4 years from the date of your accident in order to file a lawsuit against private landowners responsible for negligently maintaining the road or path. As of 2023, it's now 2 years from the date of your accident.

But most roads, bike lanes, and trails are not maintained by private parties - they are maintained by Federal, State, or Local government. Different rules apply to bringing a successful legal claim for the negligence of the government.

Before you can sue the State or Local government in Florida, you must send them a written notice of claim within 3 years of the date of your accident. The content and form of this notice letter is very specific. It must be delivered in a very specific manner. It is very important that the letter be adequate, or the court could dismiss your legal claim. For this reason, please get in touch and let me help prepare and deliver the notice letter.

Before you can sue the Federal government for it’s negligent maintenance of a road or trail, you must file a written notice that is commonly called a “standard form 95”.  There are two deadlines in a negligence tort case against the Federal government. The law requires a claimant both to file a claim with the relevant federal agency within two years of the tort and to file a suit in federal court within six months of the agency's written denial of the claim. A claim must be filed within two years of the date the claim accrued.

It takes effort and expertise to prepare the notice letter, standard form 95, or lawsuit, so you should contact me right away.  Don’t wait until the deadline is approaching.

Is there a limit on the amount of money that you can recover from State or Local government?

There is a “cap” on the amount of damages that may be paid to you by the State of Florida or a local Florida municipality. The maximum amount of damages that can be recovered is limited to $200,000 per person. There is an exception to the limit of the cap if you successfully pursue a "claims bill".  With a claims bill, you ask the Florida state legislature to pass a law allowing the state to pay more than the cap amount on your claim. But the claims bill process is cumbersome, time-consuming, and does not have a high degree of success.

If you believe you might have a case, please contact me free of charge to discuss.


Bicyclist vs City

A bicyclist injured by cable hanging over the sidewalk, causing an accident.


Bicyclist vs Damaged Road

A bicyclist who fell due to negligent maintenance of the road, causing drop-off on shoulder pavement

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