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Motorists and Bicyclists

Motorists and Bicyclists have Equal Rights on the Road

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration persuades every road user, especially motorists, to respect the rights of bicyclists on the road, as this is the best way to make a safe transportation environment. Legally speaking, bicycles have the same rights on the road as any other type of motor vehicle. Sadly, though, many drivers have refused bikers the space they need on the road, resulting in significant numbers in severely injured and dead bicyclists.

According to the website of LaMarca & Landry, P.C., there were about 51,000 injured and as many as 600 killed bicyclists in 2009 alone. These numbers have continued to increase in recent years, showing the great danger bikers are exposed to once they start to ride on US roads. And despite the bike lanes on busy city roads, many drivers still refuse to acknowledge the right of bikers on the road, rendering car and bicycle collision a common road site every day.

The most common causes of collision between motor vehicles and bicycles are:

  • Motor vehicle drivers directly and abruptly turning in front of cyclists;
  • Drivers, from parking areas or driveways, driving into traffic and cutting cyclists’ right of way;
  • Drivers failing to slow down at intersections;
  • Drivers running a stop sign or traffic light;
  • Drivers not taking time to double-check for incoming cyclists; and,
  • Reckless driving due to negligence or alcohol influence,

Despite the number of bicycle accidents, riding a bike should never be a seen as a dangerous means of transportation or leisure activity. If only to keep away from the dangers that city roads present, many bicyclists have decided to ride along paths where they’ll be safer and enjoy more.

According to Philadelphia car accident lawyers, in the state of Philadelphia, specifically, “1.1% of all auto accidents in 2014 involved bicycles, which also accounted for 1.6% of all car accident related deaths. Children ages 5-14 were the most susceptible to death and injury while riding a bicycle, though bike riders between the ages of 15-19 accounted for 15.5% of all bike injuries as well. Bicycle accidents occurred most frequently during daylight hours, though 17.3% of all personal injuries involving bicycles occurred when it was dark out. The majority of bicycle versus car accidents occurred at 4-way intersections.”

As explained by a Georgetown personal injury attorney, “a bicycle collision involving an automobile can be incredibly dangerous. In the event of an accident, the massive weight and force of a moving vehicle against a bike that offers no protection from impact is likely to result in serious injury for the cyclist. Although drivers are legally required to share the road with bicycles and exercise caution in consideration of smaller vehicles, collisions resulting from a driver’s negligence occur regularly. These accidents can be caused by a driver who veered into the bike lane, failed to check for oncoming bicycles when turning right, or otherwise acted inattentively when cyclists were present. While cyclists and drivers are both legally required to obey the rules of the road, damages from a collision are often greater for a cyclist, necessitating a greater duty of care on the part of the driver.
Injuries that can result from a bike collision can include: head or brain trauma; spinal cord injuries; lacerations, scrapes, bruises; broken bones; and, facial injuries.

The type of injury sustained will depend on the speed of the automobile, whether a helmet was used, and the degree of impact. If a cyclist was negligent in a collision by riding on the wrong side of the road, running stop signs, turning abruptly into traffic, or ignoring traffic laws, they may be unable to recover damages”; however, if the one at fault in the accident was the driver of the motor vehicle, the negligent or reckless driver at fault ought to be made to answer to the injury he/she has caused. With the help of a determined and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, though, obtaining the compensation that the victim legally deserves is closer to possible than never.

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