After a long winter, the snow is finally melting and things are looking brighter. We have waited a very long time to be able to enjoy some warmer weather. You may notice more people are out taking walks or choosing to ride their bike to get to their destinations. With more people and bicyclists on the road, more safety precautions is crucial.
In the event of an accident, the following question, “Who is at fault when bikes and vehicles collide?” Is complicated.
It seems like an obvious answer that the car is at fault in a bicycle-versus-car accident. Cars are bigger, stronger, and much more forceful. A car can seriously injure someone who is riding on their bicycle with no protection around them.
Yet, cars and motor vehicles are not always to blame. Bicyclists happen to be at fault for collisions more often than one would think. A common cause for bicyclists creating accidents is they don’t always follow the rules of the road. By law, bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators. This means, they must yield to pedestrians, obey all traffic signals, and avoid unsafe lane changes.
Understanding the Law
New York State follows a No-Fault law. This system is set up to compensate injured persons whose crashes arise out of the “use and operation of a motor vehicle”. Therefore, the liability is generally allocated to the driver of the car and not the bicyclist. However, there are instances when a bicyclists is the one at fault for accidents.
Determining Who is Liable
In court, various factors determine liability for a motor vehicle and bicycle accidents. Motor-vehicle drivers and bicyclists both need to follow the rules of the road. Motor vehicle drivers should give reasonable room to bicyclists on the roadway and give an adequate warning before making a right turn.
It is critical that drivers don’t make the reckless decision to drive distracted. Talking on the phone, texting, eating, etc. can all contribute to a serious accident. Drivers are at a much higher risk of not seeing a bicyclist when trying to multi-task behind the wheel.
The same principle applies to bicyclists when it comes to practicing safety on the roads. If a bicyclist decides to swing onto a street out of nowhere, someone driving a car may not have enough time to stop or slow down. If bicyclists are not wearing a helmet, they are at much higher risk from suffering a severe head injury. There are countless examples of how a bicyclist is at risk for injury if not being cautious.
Other circumstances where accidents are a bicyclist’s fault include:
- The bicyclists ignores traffic signals
- The bicyclist is on the wrong side of the street
- The bicyclist rides against the flow of traffic
- The bicyclist makes a sudden turn with no warning
- The bicyclist fails to yield
- The bicyclist does not come to a complete stop at a stop sign
- The bicyclist ignores traffic signals
Injury and death is a serious concern when it comes to motor vehicle and bicycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 846 Bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2019 in the United States. It’s crucial that both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists adhere to the rules of the road and use extra caution.
If you have recently suffered injuries from a motor vehicle and bicycle collision, contact Losi and Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.