Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
In an accident between a bike and a car, the cyclist almost always comes out worse. After a bike accident, the driver may blame the cyclist, and the cyclist may blame the driver. The person responsible is liable for paying for any injuries and property damage.
Who is at fault in a collision between cyclists and motorists depends on state law. States and some municipalities have their own traffic laws and requirements for cyclists on the road. If you were involved in a bike accident, talk to a local accident lawyer in your area to find out about your legal rights and options.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 39,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic crashes in 2020, and there were 938 bike riders killed. Alcohol involvement of the driver or cyclist was a factor in more than one-third of bicycle deaths. More than 75% of fatal bicycle crashes occur in urban areas.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some ways to reduce the risk of injuries and bicyclistfatalities include:
- Bicycle helmet laws to encourage helmet use
- Fluorescent and reflective clothing
- Lights on bicycles for riding after dark
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), issues that contribute to bicycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Not following traffic laws
- Lack of traffic awareness
- Alcohol or drug impairment
Other factors include a lack of separation between motorists and cyclists on the road, a lack of lighting, and a lack of signage at intersections.
Both the driver and the cyclist or either person can be to blame in a collision. Liability in motor vehicle crashes is generally based on state negligence laws. Drivers and cyclists owe a duty of care to others on the road to follow traffic laws and act responsibly. If a motor vehicle driver violates traffic laws and causes an accident, the driver may be responsible for the cyclist’s injuries.
Driver negligence in causing bike accidents can include:
- Driver making a turn into a cyclist’s path
- Opening a car door and hitting a cyclist
- Not giving cyclists room when passing
Cyclists are also supposed to follow the rules of the road. If you were riding recklessly and got into an accident with a car, you may be to blame. Traffic laws for cyclists can depend on state and municipal laws. In most areas, cyclists must follow the same rules as cars, including stopping at a stop sign or red light and yielding to the right of way.
Many states also have bicycle safety laws that apply only to cyclists, including helmet laws, bike lights or reflectors when riding at night, and specific times when riders can use the sidewalk. If you violate traffic laws and get into an accident, it would be more difficult to pursue personal injury compensation from someone else.
Some bike accidents involve collisions between cyclists and pedestrians. These accidents are common in areas with shared-use paths for cyclists, runners, and walkers. Negligence rules also apply to pedestrians. For example, if a pedestrian was distracted by their phone and stepped into the path of a cyclist, the pedestrian may be responsible.
Other bike accidents can involve bad bike parts or a defective helmet. The company that made or sold the defective bike parts may be liable for any defects that caused your injuries. If your bike accident was caused by a defective tire, brakes, or other bike part, you may have a product liability claim.
If you are injured in a bike accident, you should get medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t think the injuries are that bad, you may have suffered a back, neck, or head injury that will lead to chronic pain down the road.
If the driver was responsible for the accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you get money to pay for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Find one near you today who can walk you through the process of filing a lawsuit and advise you about potential outcomes.