Important Bicycle Accident Laws That All Rider Should Be Aware Of

Bicycle Accident Laws

According to bicycle injury statistics of CDC,  more than 130,000 cyclists get hurt in crashes on American roads yearly, and almost 1,000 cyclists die. More so, 2% of fatalities in collisions involving motor vehicles are bicycle riders. 

Now you may think this percentage is small compared to car accidents. But in a crash between bicyclists and motorists, the impact is more on the bicyclist. In fact, any collision can put the life of a bicyclist in danger. 

Hence, there are laws put in place that all bicycle riders should know for their safety. Also, with the aid of bicycle accident lawyers and knowledge of the law, filing a claim over a bicycle accident won’t be a hassle. So without further adios, let’s dive into it.

How Common are Bicycle Accidents?

Bicycle accidents are relatively common, especially in urban areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 800 bicycle fatalities in the United States in 2018. Also, the numbers in this bicycle injury statistic have been rising in recent years.

Several factors contribute to the high number of bicycle accidents. Poor road conditions, distracted driving, and bicycle defects can all lead to severe accidents. In some cases, cyclists may be at fault for an accident by riding carelessly or breaking traffic laws.

Regardless of who is at fault, bicycle accidents can have dire consequences. Cyclists are often seriously injured or killed in collisions with motor vehicles. In addition, even minor accidents can result in costly property damage. 

Hence, when involved in a bicycle accident, seek medical help first. Also, it is crucial to seek legal counsel to protect your rights. Bicycle accident lawyers can come to your aid to pull you through your bicycle accident lawsuit.

Bicycle vs Car Accident

There is no question that both car and bicycle accidents can have serious consequences. But when it comes to which type of accident is more dangerous, the answer is clear: car accidents are far more deadly than bicycle accidents.

In 2016, there were 37,461 deaths from car accidents in the United States alone. In contrast, there were only 857 deaths from bicycle accidents. This means that car accidents are nearly 45 times more deadly than bicycle accidents.

So, why are car accidents so much more dangerous than bicycle accidents? There are a few factors at play. First, cars are much larger and heavier than bicycles, which means they can do more damage in an accident. 

Also, cars travel at much higher speeds than bicycles, which increases the force of the impact in an accident. Therefore, both parties have to be careful to avoid collisions that may lead to car or bicycle accident injuries.

Things That Bicyclist should be Aware of

There are laws that keep you safe when using a bicycle. They show your rights and the action to take to fight for them. So here are a few of those laws:

Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer for your Lawsuits

Who else can show you all the details you need to know about the law except bicycle accident lawyers? These people know the “ins” and “outs” of the law. 

A San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers represents those hurt due to another party’s negligence. Negligence is the failure to act with the same degree of care that someone else would use in a similar event. When a person’s negligence causes harm, that person will pay for it. 

Thus, bicycle accident lawyers represent cyclists who suffer from bicycle accident injuries due to negligence. They safeguard your legal rights and strive to secure payment for your losses. Hence, when filing a bicycle accident lawsuit, San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers can ensure your win.  

 Make Use of the Bike Lanes

You must use the bike lane if you are riding a bicycle on the road with one and travel more slowly than the traffic flow. Once you feel it is safe, you may leave the bike lane. Just make sure you signal when you do. 

Also, according to some states’ laws, there are certain specific instances when you can exit a bike lane. They include;

  • While making a left turn
  • Passing another cyclist
  • Avoiding a pedestrian or cars in the bike lane
  • When getting close to a location where they permit a right turn

Ride With Lights and Reflectors at Night

When riding at night, you must have a white light on your bike or yourself. This light must be visible from 300 feet in front of the bicycle. The bicycle must also include the following:

  • A red reflector or a solid or flashing red light; goes on the back with a built-in reflector that is visible from 500 feet away.
  • A white or yellow reflector must be visible from the front and back of the bicycle. This should be from 200 feet away on each pedal, shoe, or ankle. 
  • Unless your bicycle has front and rear reflecting tires, each side of the forward center should have a white, yellow, or red reflector. And the opposite side should have a white or red light.

Hit-and-Run is Wrong

If a car hits your bike and then flees the scene, this is an illegal hit-and-run. But, hit-and-run is an issue when it comes to collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians. 

Most times, the rider believes they have a higher chance of escaping. This is because they know they lack license plate information. But there are still ways to find hit-and-run drivers. This could be through eyewitness accounts or nearby security camera footage.

Bicyclists Must Go in the Same Direction as the Traffic

When biking on a public road, you must go in the same direction as the traffic flow. On a one-way street, you should walk your bike on the sidewalk if you’re going the other way.

Some states have no laws stopping bicycle riders from using the sidewalk. But the state government may impose limitations on how and when you can ride your bicycle on the sidewalk because it can be risky to pedestrians.

For instance, as long as you are not riding dangerously, Los Angeles permits bicycles on sidewalks. While Santa Monica prohibits sidewalk riding, the violation can lead to a fine or jail time. 

Riding Under the Influence

It is unsafe and forbidden to ride a bike while intoxicated. Usually, bicyclists receive fines for public intoxication rather than getting charged with DUI. But, depending on the degree of intoxication, going to jail is not unusual.

This can also affect the rates for car insurance. This is because the insurance firm can use the conviction as justification for increasing the premiums. This is what happens when a bicycle hits a car. And even when a vehicle is absent, cyclists may still have to pay more.

Also, riding a bicycle while intoxicated breaks the law and endangers other people. The difficulty of controlling a bicycle increases a cyclist’s danger of collision. This is because intoxicated bike riders find it difficult to maintain their balance. So, avoid riding while drunk.

Obey All Traffic Signs and Signals

You should always abide by traffic and road signs. Stop at all stop signs and red lights, and turn only when the signal is green.

Biking through neighborhoods also requires observing traffic signals and signs. Obey the posted traffic regulations when cycling faster than the speed limit. Also, remember to stop when crossing the street near schools. And when buses are dropping off or picking up youngsters.

Know and Follow All Helmet Laws

The protective shells on bicycle helmets may ruin haircuts, but they also save lives. This is because they produce them from tough, long-lasting plastic. They are also coated with foam to cushion the shock from impacts. Thus, it protects you from fatality and bike accident head injury. 

Hence, wearing a helmet is part of the law. Many States require cyclists under the age of eighteen to wear protective helmets. Local laws regulating helmet use on the road for all cyclists, regardless of age, may also be in effect.

So, checking the States laws before riding a bike is a smart idea. This will save you from paying a fine and, most of all, protect yourself.

Cyclists 3 Feet Away from Motorists

Before getting on the road, drivers should learn what three feet of clearance look like.

There are laws for motorists telling them to give cyclists three feet of space in many States. Giving motorcyclists plenty of space adds to the safety of both vehicles and bikes. This is because, on the road, bicycles can suddenly topple over, and no motorist wants to run someone over.

Thus, breathing room is vital for cyclists to maneuver their bicycles. Also, when passing, drivers should be aware of their speed. It can be scary when vehicles speed up to pass a bike. As a result, a bike rider may lose control, leading to bicycle fall injuries.
Image Credits: Pexels

Bottom Line

All riders should be aware of several vital bicycle accident laws. But, if you get involved in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to seek legal aid. This will protect your legal rights and ensure you win the case. Thus, a qualified bicycle lawyer will be able to assess your case. They can also advise you on the best course of action to take.

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