Car Accident Law

Bicycle Accidents

Key Takeaways

  • Bike accidents with cars can cause serious injuries, and wearing helmets and following road rules can help keep cyclists safe.
  • Drivers must follow laws like giving bikes space and not driving in bike lanes to prevent accidents and keep cyclists safe.
  • If you’re in a bike accident, it’s important to report it to the police and your insurance, and a bike accident lawyer can help you get money for injuries and bike repairs.

Bicycling is a fun and healthy pastime enjoyed by people of all ages. Cars and bikes may share the same roadways, and when the two collide, the cyclist almost always loses. Collisions between a bike and a car can cause serious injuries. If you were involved in a bike accident with a vehicle, a personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal options.

Bike Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bikes make up only 1% of all road traffic. However, those traffic crashes have a higher rate of injury or death. Cycling accidents can result in serious injuries, including head injuries, when riders don’t use a bicycle helmet. Follow helmet use and bicycle safety rules to stay safe when on the road with cars.

Common causes of bicycle accidents can include:

  • Cars failing to yield the right of way to cyclists
  • Drivers or cyclists rolling through red lights or stop signs
  • Motor vehicle drivers not giving cyclists enough room when passing
  • Drivers turning across a bike path or bike lane
  • Drivers or cyclists operating under the influence of alcohol
  • Failing to follow traffic laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, there were 857 bike accident fatalities. The majority of bicyclist deaths happen in urban areas and non-intersection locations.

Sharing the Road With Cars

Drivers are subject to laws to keep themselves and bicyclists safe on the road. Many states have marked bike lanes that are solely for bicycle traffic. Depending on the state, drivers may be prohibited from driving in a bike lane unless they are preparing to park or turn right.

Motorists must also give bicycles a buffer zone to give more separation and promote safety. For example, Arizona requires at least a three-foot buffer zone. The buffer zone is essential when the road is narrow or has no dedicated bike lane. When a driver wants to pass a slower-moving bike on the road, the buffer zone allows passing to occur more safely.

Accidents With Children on Bikes

Due to their smaller size, children are not as visible while riding their bikes. The CDC notes that more than one-third of cyclists admitted to emergency rooms with injuries following a crash are under 20. Drivers must pay closer attention when children are riding in their areas.

Helmet laws can help keep children safe. Bike helmets are encouraged and may be required for children younger than a certain age. Many states require helmets for all children younger than 16, but some kids do not wear them.

When children are sharing the street with vehicles, drivers must exercise a greater duty of caution. Parents should also maintain strict rules regarding how, where, and when their children can ride their bikes.

Do I Have to Report a Bicycle Crash?

After a crash, you should make sure that you are safe. Some accidents may seem small, with little or no injuries or damage. You should see a doctor after a car accident even if you don’t think the injuries were serious. Some brain injuries and soft tissue injuries may not immediately appear and could take hours or days to develop.

Do not leave the scene of the accident without calling the police. If you leave, it may be difficult to identify the driver, and you will be unable to obtain information from witnesses. When you speak with the police, report what happened, any identifying information, and all injuries you may have suffered.

It is also important to report the accident to your insurance company. You may be suffering from injuries or have damage to your bicycle. Your insurance company may cover your property damage or medical bills.

Does My Auto Insurance Policy Cover Me if I Am Involved in a Bike Accident?

In most cases, yes. If you are commuting by bike or ride your bike often, you should check your auto policy to see if you are covered when you are on a bike. It should cover all auto-related incidents.

Underinsured motorist coverage could cover you if the driver involved in the accident is not insured or leaves the scene and cannot be identified. It can kick in even if the driver does not make contact with you but causes you to swerve to avoid a collision, resulting in a crash.

States with personal injury protection may also protect you and others in an auto crash. This covers injuries regardless of who is at fault.

Will Renter’s Insurance Cover Bike Accidents?

Home or renter’s insurance covers your personal property, including your bicycle. Renter’s insurance will cover the bicycle damage after an accident. If you hit a pedestrian or car while on your bike, your liability coverage will come into play.

How Can a Bike Accident Lawyer Help?

After a bike accident, you may not be able to work and have medical bills piling up. A personal injury lawyer can take your case to court to help you seek financial compensation for your losses or negotiate a settlement so you can pay your medical expenses and repair your bike.

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