In 2013, getting hit by a car was the dominant cause of bicycle injuries in the US. Twenty-nine percent of bike accidents that year were caused by getting hit by a car. Seventeen and thirteen percent were caused when a rider fell and when a rider had an error. A poor road repair caused thirteen percent, seven percent was caused by a crash, and a canine intervention caused four percent.
Despite the low percentage of bicycle accidents involving cars, most fatal bike accidents are the ones where a car is involved.
If a driver or the cyclist will use negligence as a counter, they need to have proof of several elements:
- The driver has been cautious.
- The cyclist is not careful or is negligent.
- The driver is negligent or reckless by speeding, running at stop signs, or failing to follow road rules, specifically the bike lane.
- The cyclist has been careful and cautious.
When the cyclist or the driver acts on the contrary to the safety of others, it is considered recklessness.
Who Is At Fault for the Accident?
The most dangerous place for cyclists are intersections because not all motor vehicles look for cyclists when turning. Determining who is at fault between a motor vehicle and a cyclist can be difficult. The cyclist is also required to follow the same rules as other vehicles.
If the intersection has no traffic light or a stop sign, the rule of thumb is the first to arrive is entitled to make the first move. If both came simultaneously, then the driver on the right has to make the first move.
Almost ten percent of collisions involving bicycles occur at an intersection where the cyclist has a stop sign and the car does not. In this instance, the cyclist stops at the sign and takes off without considering the motor vehicle. The cyclist is at fault in this situation.
If the motor vehicle driver stops at the sign and proceeds on the intersection even when the cyclist has the right way, the motor vehicle driver is at fault, unless the cyclist is riding against traffic. If the cyclist is on the wrong side or riding against traffic, both the cyclist and the motor vehicle driver may be at fault.
Riding a bicycle against traffic is against the law. The bike is a vehicle and is bound to follow the same traffic laws as other motor vehicles. The cyclist may not have seen the car, or the vehicle is traveling faster, the cyclist may be found at fault for the incident.
The State Laws Define Traffic and Bicycle Laws
Motor vehicles and traffic laws are based on local state laws. This also includes bicycle lanes and bicycle laws. Not all states are strict when it comes to implementing bicycle helmet laws, but for those who require helmets, they require helmets for ages under 14, 16, or 18. California requires helmets for those under 18. New York requires helmet for those under 14.
Sharing the road means a collaborative effort between motor vehicle drivers and cyclists. To avoid accidents, including traumatic brain injuries, both parties need to be more cautious and mindful of other vehicles.
If you saw an accident on the road, it is best to call 911 as soon as possible. Assist the injured person and help them gather evidence — advise the injured person to contact a personal injury lawyer to help them in their situation.