Written By Eva Brindisi Pearlman | July 16, 2018
The summer time in Upstate New York is not only the season of breaking out your convertible or classic cars, but it is also a prime season for bicycles. Whether you ride your bike to work or for leisure, cyclists know how difficult it can be to share the road with cars and trucks; and how a casual stroll could turn deadly in an instant.
Who's Liable? Driver Negligence vs. Cyclist Negligence
When determining liability in a car and bicycle accident, the bike is actually considered a "vehicle." Therefore, many of the rules of the road still apply in a bicycle and car accident and the cyclist could hold responsibility in a collision as much as the car. Many bike-car accidents occur in intersections. Liability is usually determined by who had the right-of-way.
If there are no traffic signals, the vehicle that arrives to the intersection first has the right-of-way. If both vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way. The same rule applies if the vehicles are approaching a stop sign. However, if the intersection involves of a minor street meeting a major street, the traffic on the major street has the right-of-way.
When there are traffic signals, the right-of-way is determined by the signal. However, sometimes the sensors cannot detect a bicycle. In this case, the person cycling may have to cross at the crosswalk or wait until it is safe to cross against the signal.
The following are a couple of additional instances of a car and bicycle collision:
- If the bike rider did not see an approaching vehicle or misjudged the speed and fails to yield at an intersection, they are held liable.
- If both vehicles are approaching from different directions and the car turns left in front of the bicycle rider and they collide, the driver is usually at fault.
- If a car cuts a bicyclist off or doesn't see the bicycle alongside of them and turns right and collides with a bike rider, the car is usually at fault.
- If a bicycle is riding in the designated bike lane or to the far right of the road and is side swiped or hit by a door opening, the driver of the car is usually held liable.
5 Tips to Help Avoid a Bike-Car Accident in Central New York
When riding, bicycle safety is of utmost importance. Check out our top 5 tips on avoiding a bicycle-car accident in Central New York.
- Remember your safety gear! ALWAYS wear a bike helmet and other bike accessories like knee and elbow pads and gloves to protect you in the event of an accident.
- Try your best to be seen. Invest in bike lights to make yourself more noticeable to drivers. You should also look into reflective and/or bright clothing.
- Perform a safety check before you ride. Check the air pressure in your bicycle tires, make sure the brakes and gears work, and check if your bike helmets are secure and still durable. Go through a checklist to ensure your bike is good to ride!
- Follow the rules of the road. As determined earlier, as a bicycle rider, you are still considered a vehicle on the road. Follow the rules of the road and right-of-way.
- Always remain alert. Expect the unexpected on the road. Make eye contact with drivers, alert them with hand signals, but be prepared in the event of a close call.
Injured in a Bicycle-Car Accident - What to Do
If you suffer bike crash injuries, call 911 immediately. Notify the police and request medical help if necessary. Do not claim fault or fight with the driver of the vehicle. If possible, take photos of the incident while you are on the scene. When you are ready, you may wish to seek an experienced bike accident lawyer to represent you in a lawsuit. This personal injury attorney will be able to skillfully fight for compensation for your injuries resulting from the accident.
If you have suffered bicycle injuries as the result of a car-bike accident, The People's Lawyer is ready to fight for you. You are unprotected on a bike, and a car collision can be extremely dangerous, if sometimes even fatal. Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi and Pearlman will passionately stand up for you in a bike accident lawsuit and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact our office for a free consultation today.
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