Cycling can be dangerous, especially when on busy roads or when not observing the rules of the road. Bicycle accidents happen frequently, sometimes leading to minor injuries, and occasionally causing fatalities. Accidents involving cyclists can often be serious because a cyclist has little to no protection from the impact of a vehicle. This impact can be fatal even at relatively slow speeds.
Determining who is at fault in a bicycle accident, especially when it involved a motor vehicle, can be difficult and complex. This blog provides a brief overview on the basics of liability in cycle accidents, so you have some insight into who may be at fault.
Cyclists will often sue in order to recover the damages in incidents between a bike and a vehicle. When this happens, the question must be asked as to whether negligence on the part of the driver contributed to or caused the accident. On the other side of the coin, the same question must be asked of the cyclist.
What is negligence?
Negligence can take many different forms. It is defined broadly as when a person failed to fulfill his or her duty toward the other person. As a driver, this could be constituted in the form of speeding, drifting into a bike lane, failing to signal, or unsafely overtaking.
“Negligence per se” can be gained through other evidence that could serve as proof of negligence. For example, if a driver got a speeding ticket at the time of the accident, this could be enough evidence to prove that they were likely at fault.
All accident cases are subject to specific circumstances, so wide research is recommended when considering making a claim.
The duties of road users
Drivers and cyclists alike must obey the road rules in a safe and responsible way. They must exercise care for their own safety and for the safety of all others on the road.
Was the driver responsible for negligence or recklessness?
Negligence conducted by a driver that could lead to a cycle accident includes speeding, going through a stop sign, or making a right turn across a bike lane without watching for cyclists.
As a driver, it is important to consider the fact that your vehicle has the ability to cause a lot of damage to a cyclist, and that a cyclist is quite vulnerable in comparison.
Could a cyclist be considered negligent?
Negligent cyclists will rarely be sued themselves, but in their attempt to sue a driver, they may fail because it can be proven that they were at fault, too. This negligence could include cycling the wrong way on a one-way street, not cycling in a designated bike lane, or weaving dangerously in and out of traffic lanes.
Injured bicyclists should review all of their legal options before deciding whether or not to take action.