Bicycle accidents happen every day, all around the nation, but rarely do they happen to a person who has been such an outspoken advocate for the rights of bicycle accident victim. Alan Snel is a former reporter for the Tampa Tribune and co-founder of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club. He created a bicycling advocacy group, South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers, specifically to lobby and organize on behalf of the cycling community’s safety. On the morning of March 7th, he was riding his bike along Old Dixie Highway near Fort Pierce when he was struck from behind by a 65-year old driver. He was thrown onto the vehicle’s windshield, then fell to the pavement. Snel’s helmet was crushed by the force of the accident and he suffered severe injuries, including a fractured spine and deep bruises.
According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Dennis Brophy provided a number of excuses for why the accident had occurred. He indicated that he had been self-administering a breathing treatment at the time of the accident. He also said that he had been “blinded by the light and never saw the bicyclist until he hit him,” and that he “suffered from extreme sleep apnea.” Despite all of these cited reasons and the police conclusion that he had been “inattentive” as well as that his condition at the time of the accident was “fatigue/sleep,” Brophy was not charged. Snel’s only recourse is to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in civil court.
Florida Leads the Nation in Bicycle Accident Fatalities
In the state of Florida, there are no criminal charges filed against a driver who causes a bicycle accident unless they intentionally hit the cyclist. Coincidentally, the state has the dubious distinction of being ranked first in the nation for bicycle accident fatalities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Snel’s focus is on improving the safety laws in the state, including creating steep financial disincentives for driving carelessly and causing bicycle accident injuries. He has worked to create bike lanes and raise awareness of the need for better engineering and driver education. He is pursuing a bicycle accident lawsuit against Brophy, but now plans to move out of the state of Florida. “The motorist who knocked me out cold and didn’t even receive a ticket for his careless driving was the final straw,” he said.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano can provide you with the aggressive advocate you need to ensure you get justice. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. We can be reached at 1-866-222-9990.