Bicycle Accident (2024)

Editorial Team


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles often result in the motor vehicle driver being held responsible. The vulnerability of cyclists, equipped with only a helmet for protection, places them at significant risk in traffic. Their limited ability to evade larger, faster vehicles adds to this risk. Among the prevalent factors contributing to bicycle accidents are:

  • Excessive speed by motorists
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure of cyclists to use designated bike lanes
  • Bicycling against the flow of traffic

Although cyclists can sometimes contribute to accidents, claims for compensation typically target the motor vehicle driver. Nonetheless, establishing fault remains critical.

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Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

The lack of protective barriers for cyclists can lead to severe injuries in the event of an accident. Common injuries include:

  • Spinal injuries, potentially leading to paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries, which may result in long-term cognitive issues
  • Broken bones, such as fractures to the arms, legs, wrists, or ankles
  • Soft tissue injuries, including lacerations and bruises
  • Whiplash, characterized by neck strain but usually healing within a short period

The severity of injuries directly influences the compensation potential, with more severe conditions warranting higher compensation. Accurately documenting all medical expenses is essential for substantiating claims.

Negligence and Liability

To establish negligence in a bicycle accident, several elements must be demonstrated:

  1. Duty of Care: Proving the motorist owed a duty of care to the cyclist.
  1. Breach of Duty: Showing the motorist failed to adhere to this duty, often through traffic law violations.
  1. Causation: Linking the breach directly to the injuries sustained.
  1. Damages: Providing evidence of the injuries and losses incurred.

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Fault and Partial Liability

There may be instances where the cyclist holds partial responsibility for the accident. This does not automatically preclude compensation but can affect the claim's outcome depending on state laws. Some states reduce compensation based on the cyclist's fault percentage, while others may deny compensation if the cyclist is found even slightly at fault. Honest communication with legal counsel about any potential fault is crucial.

Cyclist Liability Considerations

Cyclists must adhere to road rules similar to motor vehicle drivers. Violations such as ignoring traffic signals or failing to use designated lanes can lead to partial or complete liability for an accident. Proper signaling and respecting the right-of-way are critical for avoiding fault assignments.

Post-Accident Actions

Following a bicycle accident, the next steps are crucial:

  1. Contacting law enforcement to ensure an official accident report is filed.
  1. Seeking medical attention to diagnose and document any injuries.
  1. Filing a claim with the involved motorist's insurance provider.
  1. Consulting with an experienced bicycle accident attorney for guidance and to maximize the chances of a favorable insurance claim outcome.

Most attorneys will offer you a free case evaluation, so it is worth speaking with a ConsumerShielf lawyer near you who can help.

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