A man on a bicycle died from injuries suffered in an accident with a semi-truck near the intersection of South Orange Blossom Trail and Taft Vineland Road. The accident is reported to have happened at approximately 5:45 a.m. The news report states that the bicyclist was riding south in the “right, northbound lane” of Orange Blossom Trail and that Henry Stafford (truck driver) was attempting to exit the Sunoco gas station to go north.
I have taken an image of the scene from Google Maps. You can see that this is the intersection that is described above with the Sunoco gas station. What is unclear in the news report is the statement that bicyclist was riding south in the right, northbound lane. If the bicyclist was actually riding the wrong way in the lane of travel, then the bicyclist may bear a significant amount of responsibility for the accident. However, this is a very busy intersection on a very busy road. Just look at the volume of traffic stopped at the traffic light going southbound. Also, note that there is a sidewalk on both sides of the roadway. It is my opinion that the bicyclist was probably riding on the sidewalk in the southbound direction (which he is legally permitted to do) rather than riding on the white line the wrong way on an extremely busy road.
Legal Duty To Avoid Pedestrians
This is just a hunch as I do not know this for a fact but it would stand to reason that a reasonable person would be riding on the sidewalk rather than the roadway in a place such as this. Therefore, with the assumption being made that the bicyclist was riding on the sidewalk rather than the wrong way on a busy street, the semi-truck that is pulling out from a gas station has a legal duty to stop at the crosswalk under section 316.125, Florida Statutes. Section 316.125 covers a vehicle entering a highway from a private driveway and states:
(2) The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
In this instance, the semi-truck has a legal duty to yield to pedestrians traffic on the sidewalk including the bicyclist. I would imagine that this is why charges are pending. This would make the bicyclist’s death a wrongful death under Florida law.
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