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Determining Liability in Bicycle Accidents

  • Bicycle accidents claim hundreds of lives every year and cause thousands of terrible injuries. When an accident with a bicyclist occurs, determining who is at fault is crucial if the bicyclist wants to recover compensation for their injuries. The failure is based on negligence. In other words, operating the vehicle or bicycle without a reasonable amount of care. One way to determine negligence is if any traffic laws or regulations were broken, creating a dangerous situation. Traffic laws apply to both the motorist and the cyclist. Many drivers do fail to realize that bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as they do. Bicycle accidents often occur due to the driver of the vehicle’s negligence.

    Causes of Bicycle Accidents

    Most accidents happen at intersections; drivers ignore the bicyclists right of way or fail to yield. Collisions also commonly occur if drivers forget to check the side mirrors before they change lanes and hit the bicyclist.

    Bicycle Accidents Arise When

    • Driver is negligent or violates the traffic laws
    • Cyclist is negligent or violates the traffic laws
    • Hazards are present on the road
    • The bicycle or car may be unsafe, defective, or malfunction

    As stated, cyclists have the same legal right to the road as motor vehicles. Everyone is expected to adhere to the same traffic laws and regulations. In the event of an accident, a cyclist has access to the same claims process and legal systems motor vehicle drivers do.

    Finding a person negligent can be difficult.  Many variables are possible and must be considered in court. Each accident is unique and will have different variables.

    Accidents Caused by Driver Negligence

    Bicycle accidents where the motor vehicle driver was negligent are the most common type of accident. There are so many ways that a motor vehicle driver can show a lack of cautiousness while on the road. A few examples of this would include texting while driving, failing to consider other lanes before moving over, failing to notice the bike before making a turn, or only just opening the driver side door into the bicyclist way. There are several other possible mistakes a driver can make to be found liable. If a driver is found liable, an accident claim can be filed with the driver’s insurance company for damages.

    Accidents Caused By Road Hazards

    Accidents that occur when the roads are hazardous are usually more straightforward. Whoever is responsible for the hazard is considered to be negligent. This can mean that if a construction company accidentally left gravel in a bike lane, they are deemed to be the negligent party. Claims of this type are often filed against the state, or other government agencies on account of these accidents often occur at state-sponsored projects.

    Accidents Caused By Defective Equipment

    Much like accidents caused by road hazards, accidents caused by defective equipment are simple. Whoever is responsible for the deficiency in the equipment was negligent. If a bicycle is bought and the brakes go out near instantly, the manufacturer is responsible for making sure the bikes are ready to use when bought, so they are negligent in this case. However, if the brakes go out in three years,  the cyclist is who is negligible because of the failure to do the proper bicycle maintenance.

    Accidents Due To Cyclist’s Negligence

    Accidents that are caused by a cyclist’s negligence have a little more to consider. A cyclist must operate his or her bicycle safely, as well as ensure that the bicycle is in good working condition before starting a ride. Because a rider has the same right to the road as other motorists, failing to comply with any traffic laws will cause them to be considered negligent in the event of an accident. The amount of care and consideration they put into the bicycle can also make them negligible. A bicycle that is not maintained is more likely to fail than a bike that is properly looked after. A cyclist who is in an accident after their bike malfunctioned would have to find a way to prove that the crash would have occurred even if the bike had been working properly.

    There are thousands of accidents involving bicycles every year in America. If you or a loved one have been involved in one of these accidents, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Lawyers will have the knowledge and experience required to ensure you get justly compensated for the accident.