AFTER HOURS CALL: 1.855.2 HARR LAW Get Answers to Your Questions Today!

Bicyclists on the Roadway: Who's at Fault in a Collision?

  • Apr 29, 2023
  • The Harr Law Firm

Bike and helmet laying on wet road in front of red carCar-bicycle accidents can be some of the most devastating accidents on the road. When a car and a bicyclist collide, the consequences for the bicyclist can be severe, sometimes even fatal. In such an accident, determining who is at fault can be a complex process, and various factors need to be taken into account. While every case is unique, here are some general things you should know about how fault is determined in a collision between a cyclist and a driver.

Common Reasons the Driver May Be at Fault

In many cases, drivers may be at fault for accidents involving bicycles. Drivers have a responsibility to share the road safely with all other vehicles, including bicycles. Unfortunately, many drivers may be unaware of the specific laws and regulations surrounding bicyclists on the road or may not take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of those around them. Some common driver behaviors that can lead to accidents with bicyclists include:

  1. Failure to yield: Drivers who fail to yield to bicyclists at intersections, crosswalks, or when turning are a significant cause of accidents between cars and bicycles.
  2. Distracted driving: Texting, using a cell phone, eating, or even talking to passengers while driving can take a driver’s attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents with bicyclists.
  3. Speeding: Drivers who speed may not have enough time to react to a cyclist’s movements or may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  4. Driving under the influence: Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and may be more likely to cause an accident with a bicyclist.

Common Reasons the Bicyclist May Be at Fault

While it’s easy to assume the larger vehicle is the guilty party in these kinds of collisions, it is important to note that bicyclists can also be at fault in these accidents. Bicyclists have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road, including obeying traffic signals, riding in designated bike lanes, and using proper hand signals when turning. Some common bicyclist behaviors that can lead to accidents with cars include:

  1. Riding against traffic: Bicyclists who ride against traffic are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident with a car because drivers are not expecting them to be riding in that direction.
  2. Riding in the road: Bicyclists who do not ride in designated bike lanes or ride in the middle of the road can be difficult for drivers to see, especially at night or in poor weather conditions.
  3. Failing to signal: Bicyclists who do not signal their intentions when turning or changing lanes can cause confusion for drivers and increase the risk of accidents.
  4. Riding under the influence: Just like drivers, bicyclists who ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have impaired judgment and slower reaction times, making them more likely to cause an accident.

How Fault Is Determined

Determining fault in a car-bicycle accident involves a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. Some factors that may be taken into account include:

  1. Witness statements: Statements from witnesses who saw the accident can provide valuable information about what happened.
  2. Police reports: Police reports can provide information about the location of the accident, the parties involved, and any citations that were issued.
  3. Physical evidence: Physical evidence, such as skid marks or damage to the vehicles or bicycles involved, can help reconstruct the accident and determine who was at fault.
  4. Medical records: Medical records can provide information about the injuries sustained by the bicyclist and help determine the severity of the accident.

Once all of the evidence has been gathered, fault will be assigned based on who was found to be negligent. Negligence is a legal term used to describe a failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. In the case of a car-bicycle accident, negligence can be attributed to either the driver or the bicyclist, depending on the circumstances.

In some cases, fault may be split between the driver and the bicyclist. For example, if a driver was speeding, but the bicyclist was riding on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision, both parties may share the fault, which would impact any future personal injury cases that may arise.

If you were injured by a vehicle while riding your bike on the road, contact The Harr Law Firm today. We’ll discuss the details of your case with you to help you better understand how fault is assigned and how that impacts your case. Then, we’ll work with you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.