Cycling is not only an excellent activity for recreation, but it is also useful for exercise and transportation. However, cycling on public roads is not always safe. As a cyclist, it is essential that you know your rights on the road and understand actions to take if involved in an accident. Here, the automobile accident attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein explains your rights as a cyclist on the road and what to do if you are involved in an accident with an automobile.
Cycling Can Be Risky
While bicycle rides only account for roughly one percent of all transportation in the United States, cyclists maintain rights on the road that reflect the potential dangers that come with sharing the road with automobiles. In fact, three of the most common types of accidents involving bicycles and automobiles include cyclists being brushed by a passing vehicle, cyclists being struck by a vehicle turning right and cyclists running into open car doors.
“Side-of-the-road” laws have been put in place to require cyclists who cannot keep pace with traffic to either ride on the far-right side of the road or in a provided bicycle lane. Keep in mind that, while the automobile driver has the responsibility of sharing the road, the cyclist is responsible for ensuring that they are following these laws to help ensure their own safety.
Cyclist Negligence Can Cause Accidents
It is important to understand that cyclists can have be at fault in accidents concerning motor vehicles. As a bicycle is considered a vehicle, a cyclist is required to follow the rules of the road. Common accident-causing mistakes made by cyclists include failing to stop at a stop sign, passing a vehicle on the right when not in a bike lane and riding against traffic.
As a cyclist, you have a duty of care that extends further than merely abiding by the rules of the road. A cyclist is expected to ride a properly maintained bicycle, wear the proper safety equipment when required, ride with the proper reflectors or bicycle lights at night and ride without distraction. Breaching your duty of care as a cyclist could result in negligence.
What to Do After a Crash
If you are involved in a bicycle accident with an automobile, it can be a very traumatic traumatic experience. Nevertheless, it is important to know what to do following an accident, as your immediate actions after a crash can have a large impact on damages you can recover from the incident.
- Wait for the Police
Always wait for the police to arrive, even if you think that you are not injured. Often times, cyclists do not realize they are injured until hours after the accident has occurred. A police officer or other first responder will file a report and ensure all information from the incident is recorded.
- Report Your Version of Events
Sometimes, police officers may take a statement from a driver involved in an automobile and bicycle-related incident and fail to take account of the cyclist’s case. Therefore, it is important to ensure a police officer on scene has a written report of your experience and possible injuries. It can also be helpful to request a statement from a witness who has stopped their vehicle to assist with the accident.
- Document Evidence and Possible Injuries
If possible, leave your bicycle and other damaged property in the same condition it was in after the crash. It is important for a responding police officer to inspect your bicycle as-is at the scene of the accident, as this will keep the police report as credible as possible. Take photographs of your broken equipment, document your injuries and don’t attempt to fix any damaged property.
- Seek Medical Attention
It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention after a bicycle accident, as even minor injuries can progress for days after a crash. When in doubt, visit the emergency room at the nearest hospital and report all possible injuries to a doctor. This is an essential action to take after a bicycle crash, not only for your own health and safety, but for obtaining medical records that can be used as further documentation.
Speak to an Automobile Accident Attorney if You Have Been Involved in a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in an accident involving an automobile and a bicycle, it is critical you seek advice from a trusted automobile accident attorney who can help negotiate with insurance companies and represent you in legal matters. Attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein has extensive experience representing those who have been victims in a bicycle-automobile accident and can help you recover damages. If you have been involved in a bicycle-automobile accident and are seeking representation, contact automobile accident attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein today.