If you or a loved one were involved in a bike vs. car accident, you likely have a lot of questions. You may wonder who is to blame and whether you can get compensation. Many of your questions can be answered by knowledgeable personal injury attorney Michael Stephenson at Los Angeles Bicycle Law. Our firm is fully focused on bicycle accidents and helping cyclists obtain the help they need after a crash. Call us today to find out how we can help you.
Types of Bike vs. Car Accidents
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, nearly a third of all injuries sustained by cyclists are caused by cars. There are many ways a bike vs. car accident can occur, including when a:
- Bike hits the open door of a parked car
- Car sideswipes a bike as they pass
- Car strikes a bike while turning right
- Vehicle fails to see a bike, etc.
Rules of the Road for Bikes
Bikes must follow many of the same laws as cars when traveling on the same roads in an attempt to avoid a bike vs. car accident. Bikes must also abide by “side-of-the-road” rules, which address how bikes must behave when traveling on public roadway. For example, bikes must travel on the far right side of the road or in a bike lane, unless they:
- Are moving as quickly as other traffic;
- Right lane is too narrow to share with passing cars;
- Need to make a left turn; or
- Need to avoid a road hazard, such as debris.
Because cars are often parked along the side of the road, bikes are often forced to ride directly beside parked cars. This can create a hazard when people open car doors and pull into and out of parking spaces. Bike vs. car accidents often occur along the right side of the road.
Rules of the Road for Cars Near Bikes
There are also a set of laws addressing how cars should drive near bikes. Cars should give bikes plenty of space, but may pass when the road space allows. However, passing space often becomes a problem for trucks, large SUVs, buses, and other large vehicles. It is not the duty of the bicycle to get out of the way of a car. A bicycle must simply stay as far right as possible. Cars are required to do as much as possible to avoid a bike vs. car accident when passing cyclists.
Cars must also give bikes right of way in the same manner that they would other motor vehicles, when appropriate. For example, if a car and a bike approach an intersection, the person who arrives first has right of way. If they both arrive at the same time, then the vehicle to the right may proceed. Unfortunately, a bike vs. car accident is common when cars fail to give bikes right of way, especially at intersections.
Car drivers should remain on the lookout for bikes at all times. Both non-motorized bicycles and motorcycles are difficult to see in the rearview mirror. Cars have blind spots that also make it difficult to see bikes. Thus, car drivers should carefully look around them at all times to avoid a bike vs. car accident.
Liability in a Bike vs. Car Accident
It can be difficult to prove who caused a bike vs. car accident. However, it is important to conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault so you can establish legal liability. The person who was negligent or failed to adhere to the rules of the road should be held liable for their actions or inaction. If your bike vs. car accident was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
Liability will be assigned based on who failed to follow the law or which vehicle driver acted negligently. Negligent actions describe those that were unreasonable or are not how a reasonable person would act in that specific situation. If a car driver swerved into you, they acted negligently and failed to follow the law giving you enough space to ride.
Call an Attorney If You Were in a Bike vs. Car Accident
If you or a loved one were in a bike vs. car accident, contact an attorney right away. We will investigate your situation and help you establish legal liability. Call attorney Michael Stephenson at Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.