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Being hit by a car while biking can cause serious injuries. Bicyclists are vulnerable to cars around them, especially if other drivers do not pay attention or drive carefully to avoid hitting them.
Whether you were riding your bike for exercise, transportation, or for enjoyment, being involved in an accident can be terrifying. If you were in a bike accident and need a lawyer, consider hiring a personal injury attorney who is experienced in bicycle accident cases.
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Bicycle Accidents are common
Those who ride bicycles are aware of the dangers associated with cycling. Most cyclists can take precautions to prevent accidents, but nobody can guarantee the safety of a cyclist. While no one plans to be in a serious bicycle accident, they are unfortunately a common occurrence, especially in larger cities where cyclists are seen on the roads more frequently.
Bicyclists may be hard for other drivers to see if the other drivers are not paying attention. Busy roadways can make it harder for other drivers to properly share the roadway with cyclists. Drivers may fail to see the cyclists even when the cyclist is riding in the designated bike lane or sharing a traffic lane.
While drivers and passengers within a car are protected by air bags, seat belts, and the vehicle itself, bicyclists are largely exposed with only a helmet to protect themselves in an accident. Bicycle-related injuries can be catastrophic for the cyclist; unfortunately, many are fatal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), each year 2% of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. The majority of bicyclist deaths are due to injuries to the head. In 2019, there were 843 bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles.
Common causes of bicycle accidents
A bicycle accident can occur in many ways and for many reasons, but some of the most common ways bicycle crashes occur include these:
Collisions with Doors
A car that is parked on the side of the road next to a bicycle lane may fail to look before they open their door. If a cyclist is riding quickly and the occupant of a nearby vehicle opens their door without looking, it could cause the cyclist to slam into the door before they are able to slow down or move.
Collisions at Intersections
Collisions at intersections could occur if the cyclist is at a full stop at a light or stop sign, but the driver of the car does not stop completely and hits the cyclist. If the driver is going too fast or is following too closely, this would cause them to not be able to stop in time before hitting the cyclist.
Collisions at Lane Changes and Turns
Left turns can be difficult for bicyclists because they have to cross over at least one lane of traffic. A driver who is also making a left turn may unintentionally turn into the bicyclist or pull in front of them, causing the cyclist to run into their car.
Right turns require a car to briefly enter the bicycle lane. If the driver is not paying attention and does not look before they enter the turning lane, they may cross into the bike lane and strike a bicyclist.
What are the relevant bicycle laws?
Each state will have their own laws regarding cyclists, but most states provide similar rights and responsibilities to cyclists as they do to drivers of motor vehicles. This means that a cyclist could be cited for driving under the influence or violating parking signs. Cyclists must obey traffic signals and must also yield to pedestrians, just as drivers of motor vehicles must do.
Many cities have designated bicycle lanes on their roadways. Cyclists must do their best to remain in these lanes whenever available and should ride in the same direction of traffic. Drivers are usually obligated to share the road with cyclists, which includes looking out for them and giving them appropriate space by changing lanes, if possible. Drivers are usually forbidden from blocking the bicycle path, either by stopping in it for any length of time or parking in it.
It is your responsibility as both a cyclist and as a driver to be aware of your local road traffic safety laws. Contact your local government office or Department of Motor Vehicles for the relevant bicycle laws in your area.
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Who is liable in a bicycle accident?
A person who is liable to you is a person who is financially and legally responsible for your injuries. Other drivers on the road may also be criminally charged if their driving behavior was reckless or intentional. If the driver failed to obey traffic signs such as stopping at a crosswalk or stop sign or was driving under the influence at the time they hit your bicycle, they may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. However, a civil claim is where you would be able to recover for your injuries.
A civil claim for a bicycle accident would be considered a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to sue the driver who hit you to recover money damages for your injuries and any damage to your personal property, such as your bicycle.
Most personal injury lawsuits will be filed under a legal claim for negligence. Negligence is a legal term that is defined as the failure of someone to act as a reasonable person under the particular circumstances. To be successful in a claim for negligence, the other driver must have owed you a duty, such as driving carefully or obeying traffic signs, and must have breached that duty. Their breach of that duty must have been what caused your injuries.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine whether you have a claim for negligence. If you are in need of a bicycle attorney near you, contact Zinda Law Group for assistance.
How much is your bicycle accident worth?
How much your case is worth depends on a variety of factors. These include the severity of your injuries, the cost of treatment, whether you lost income due to the inability to work because of your injuries, whether any of your injuries will be long-lasting or long-term, and the amount of emotional suffering you experienced as a result. Each case will be different, so it is not possible to know how much your case is worth until you speak with a bicycle accident attorney.
Common injuries in a bicycle accident may include broken bones, brain or head injuries, spinal cord injuries, road rash, paralysis, internal injuries, or death. The type of harm you suffered and the degree of harm will be factored in to determine your financial compensation.
how can bicycle accidents be prevented?
A bicycle accident can cause devastating injuries and may even cost you your life. There are a few steps you can take as a cyclist to help prevent accidents from occurring. These include:
Wearing a Helmet
Some states require that a helmet be worn at all times when riding a bicycle. Check with your local laws to confirm. Even if a helmet is not required by law, it is in your best interest to wear one. Helmets can prevent serious head injuries and death in the event of a bicycle accident.
Installing Additional Equipment
Additional equipment such as bicycle lights in the front and rear can increase visibility and make it safer to ride on busier roadways. Consider also adding other equipment such as mirrors and reflective tape to make cycling safer.
Wearing Reflective Clothing
Wear bright, reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers, especially at night. Consider adding reflective tape to your helmet or bicycle.
Always Signal Turns
Make use of the proper hand signals to indicate lane changes or braking. Left turns can be especially important to signal because it involves crossing over a lane of traffic.
Stay focused when cycling, and do not allow yourself to become distracted. Do not wear earphones or talk on the phone while cycling to ensure that you can hear the traffic around you. Some states even prevent wearing earphones in both ears while riding. Utilize the same defensive driving skills that you would if you were driving a car.
Get Help from Zinda Law Group’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our bicycle attorneys are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims of bicycle accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help you recover the best possible outcome for your case.