An accident between a car and a bike can cause serious injury, but just because a cyclist is at a disadvantage in these situations doesn’t mean they will automatically win a claim. Cycles are considered vehicles by most traffic laws, so cyclists are expected to observe all traffic regulations, even when they seem inconvenient for the cyclist. Failure to follow traffic laws can adversely affect a victim’s ability to recover compensation, and may even make the cyclist liable for damages in some cases.
HOW IS LIABILITY DETERMINED WHEN A CAR COLLIDES WITH A BIKE AND CAUSES INJURY?
It’s important to note that only 11 percent of cycle accidents involve a car, though these accidents often result in the worst injuries. And though cyclists enter and exit intersections quickly, 45 percent of all these accidents happen at intersections. It’s clear why this is the case – motorists and cyclists often have trouble seeing each other and determining who has the right of way.
Most cycle and car collisions occur at intersections where the cyclist or motorist has a stop sign, but the other person does not. Both the motorist and cyclist must observe normal right of way laws, so if either party runs through the stop sign or does not yield when required, they will be liable for the accident, no matter who is injured worse. A notable factor in these cases is when the cyclist is riding against traffic. If they are – and this is the case in about 60 percent of accidents – then they will likely share liability with the driver.
It is extremely important that a cyclist cross roads and intersections safely. Even if a motorist slams into a cyclist and causes serious injury, the cyclist will be at fault if they misjudge the driver’s speed and ride their cycle into the car’s path when they don’t have the right of way.
There are two types of accidents that will almost always render the motorist liable. These are known as the left cross and the right hook. Both are capable of causing a severe, even fatal bike accident injury.
The left cross occurs when a driver and a cyclist are approaching an intersection from opposite directions. The motorist makes a sudden left turn in front of the cyclist, hitting them as they turn through the intersection. In most cases, the motorist does not see the cyclist or misjudges their speed.
The right hook happens when a motorist turns right and cuts off a cyclist that’s next to them. Sometimes, a driver doesn’t see the cyclist approach, or the cyclist overtakes the motorist right as they attempt the turn. If the motorist speeds into the turn quickly, they may run over the cyclist and cause severe bodily harm.
A bike injury attorney can help a cyclist determine the liability for their claim, and give them the representation they need to fight back against a dangerous driver.