Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Bicycle Accident Liability
Today, many people choose their bicycle as a sustainable mode of transportation and an environment-friendly entertainment venue. Sadly, more and more bicyclists are being injured or killed in collisions with automobiles. A cyclist is no match for the sheer weight and speed of an automobile, so when an bicycle accident happens, significant injuries or even death can occur. When an auto accident occurs, determining liability can be tricky. Enlisting the help of an experienced car accident lawyer can ensure your rights are protected.
Rules of the Road
Generally speaking, bicycle riders have the same privileges on the road as automobiles, and are responsible for following the same rules of the road that motorists must follow. In most cases, it is the driver’s responsibility to yield to a bicyclist, but bicycle riders must take responsibility to ensure their own safety as well.
All U.S. states have a “side of the road” law that mandates where a cyclist can travel. If the bicycle is not riding at the same speed that automobiles on that roadway are traveling, then the cyclist is required to ride as far to the right of the road as is safely possible. When a bike lane is present, the cyclist is required to ride in that lane. Exceptions to this rule can be made when they ensure the safety of the bicyclist.
If the bicyclist is going to be moving at the same speed as traffic, then they are permitted to ride in a lane with the cars on the road. If the far right lane is not safe due to traffic patterns, debris in the road or other hazardous road conditions, the cyclist may ride outside of the shoulder. They may also exit the far right lane to make a left turn.
Unfortunately, even the safest bicyclists can have accidents. Coming into contact with an opening door of a parked vehicle on the side of the road can result in serious injury and are often called “dooring accidents.” Since it is the responsibility of the driver of the car to ensure conditions are safe before opening their door, the cyclist may be able to prove that the driver was liable for injuries and damage. Savvy insurance adjusters may try to claim that the bicyclist could have moved over to avoid the collision, but liability almost always falls on the driver of the motor vehicle.
Right Turn Collisions
A large number of automobile and bicycle collisions occur when making right hand turns. Automobile drivers are responsible for ensuring that their lane is clear and conditions are safe before making a turn. Right on red laws in many states require drivers to come to a full stop before making a right turn on a red light. Failure to take these precautions can result in serious accidents. Since bicyclists are required to ride on the extreme right of the road, they have the right of way in intersections. A driver that fails to come to a complete stop at a red light before turning right, or a driver that fails to yield to a cyclist in an intersection, can be held liable for damages and injuries in the event of a bike accident.
Motor Vehicle Passing
Motorists are required to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and a bicyclist. A three to four feet minimum is considered a safe distance in most states. Drivers must yield to a cyclist in the road when passing, which includes slowing down and staying behind them until it is safe to pass. Even a minor brush against a passing car can throw a bicyclist off of their bike and into oncoming traffic.
Larger vehicles, trucks and buses must be extra cautious when passing a bicyclist. Narrow streets, traffic congestion and road conditions need to be considered when these wider, larger vehicles pass a bicycle on the road. When a vehicle brushes up against or hits a cyclist on the side of the road, they are most always liable for the accident. While an insurance adjuster may suggest that the bicyclist should have moved over to allow the vehicle to pass, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that a safe distance is maintained between their vehicle and the bicycle.
Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents
If you are a bicyclist and have been injured in a collision with an automobile, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced and knowledgeable Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC at 215-735-3326 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our team of skilled and reputable Philadelphia auto accident lawyers is dedicated to helping our clients claim justice for their injuries. Our offices are conveniently located in the heart of Philadelphia allowing us to serve clients in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County.