Florida traffic laws require bicyclists to follow traffic rules when riding their bikes on New Port Richey streets and roads.

Riders can be arrested for bicycle DUI if they ride their bicycles while under the influence. Bicyclists could face criminal and civil penalties for drunk bicycling. 

What Are the DUI Laws in Florida?

A person can be charged with drunk driving in Florida if their BAC is .08% or higher after a blood test or breath test. Also, a driver can be charged with DUI if the alcohol in their system impairs their ability to operate a motor vehicle. 

The criminal penalties for driving under the influence depend on the facts of the case. For example, a person could be ordered to pay fines and install an ignition interlock system. In addition, the court could impose jail time, probation, and other penalties.

Why Can a Bicyclist Be Charged with DUI While Riding a Bicycle in New Port Richey?

Bicycles are considered vehicles under Florida laws and are given many of the same responsibilities drivers of cars are. If a person is drunk while riding a bicycle, that person could be charged with DUI. 

However, the prosecutor must prove that the bicyclist had a BAC above the legal limit. Alternatively, the prosecutor would need to prove that the alcohol in the rider’s system prevented the bicyclist from operating the bicycle with the same level of care as a reasonably prudent sober rider.

Therefore, a bicyclist could face jail time, pay fines, and lose their driver’s license if they are convicted of bicycle DUI in New Port Richey.

What Happens if a Drunk Bicyclist Is Involved in an Accident?

In addition to facing criminal penalties, bicyclists could be sued for damages if they cause a traffic accident while bicycling under the influence. Under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, if another party sustains serious injuries, the victim can sue the at-fault party for damages.

Therefore, a drunk bicyclist could be held liable for damages if they caused a DUI accident. They could be required to pay for the other person’s economic damages, including out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and medical bills. In addition, the drunk bicyclist could be responsible for the non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.

Before a bicyclist can be held liable for damages caused by an accident, the victim must prove:

  • They sustained injuries that meet Florida’s serious injury threshold to sue for a car accident
  • The bicyclist’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the crash
  • The victim sustained damages because of the bicycle vs. car accident 

Being guilty of DUI can be used as evidence in a personal injury case. However, being impaired by alcohol does not automatically make the bicyclist responsible for damages. You must still prove causation and fault to establish liability

Can a Bicyclist Recover Damages for a Bicycle Accident if the Rider Is Drunk?

Florida comparative fault laws apply in traffic accidents. The law states that an injured party is responsible for their portion of damages when they contributed to the cause of their injury. In other words, if the bicyclist is partially to blame for the accident, the rider’s compensation can be reduced by their percentage of liability.

Suppose a jury finds that a drunk bicyclist contributed to the cause of a bicycle accident by 40%. The jury awards the rider damages in the amount of $400,000. Therefore, the accident victim receives $240,000 ($400,000 less 40%).

Riding a bicycle under the influence increases the risk of a bicycle accident. Bicyclists have the same duty of care to obey traffic laws and take steps to avoid causing a traffic accident. 

How Can You Protect Yourself From Liability After a Bicycle Accident?

The insurance company for the driver may try to blame you for the cause of the accident to deny your claim. It could try to shift some of the blame to you to lower your compensation for damages. Ways that you can protect your right to fair compensation after a bicycle accident include:

  • Do not admit fault for the bicycle crash
  • Take pictures and photographs of the accident scene
  • Ask bystanders and eyewitnesses for their contact information
  • Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
  • Document your injuries by taking photographs of your injuries throughout your recovery
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan
  • Avoid talking to an insurance adjuster without first seeking legal advice from a bicycle accident lawyer

Bicyclists sustain traumatic injuries and life-threatening conditions when they are hit by motor vehicles. Therefore, you deserve full compensation for all damages if a reckless driver causes your bicycle accident. 

Contact the Clearwater Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442