Bicycle Accidents: Understanding Fault

If you are looking for a way to exercise, you may want to consider bike riding. However, it is important that you understand there are certain dangers that come with bike riding. When you are involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, there is a chance of personal injury. The at-fault party may be responsible for paying damages to the victim. Now, it isn't easy to determine who is liable when a bicycle accident occurs, which is why it is always important to hire an attorney. Nonetheless, here are some basic guidelines when it comes to determining fault.

When Is the Motorist at Fault?

The law states that bicyclists must ride on the right side of the road so that motorists are able to easily spot them. Despite this, accidents may still occur. For example, a driver may open his or her car door and hit a bicyclist, or a bicyclist may get struck by a passing vehicle. In these instances, drivers are the ones at fault.

In some cases, such as when the lane is too narrow, bicyclists are permitted to ride with the traffic. To prevent the risk of personal injury, motorists should keep their vehicles at least three feet from bicyclists and slow down when and if necessary. Motorists should only try to pass bicyclists if there is adequate space to do so.

More often than not, vehicle-bicycle accidents occur when motorists try to make right turns, placing them in the bike zone. Liable motorists accidentally turn directly into the path of the bicyclist, failing to provide enough room or time to react. Other motorists will make the right turn too quickly and not even see the bicyclist.

When Is the Bicyclist at Fault?

Bicyclists must follow the same rules when on the road that motorists do. Bicyclists who fail to do so may find themselves at fault in the event of an accident. Most accidents that occur at the fault of the bicyclist tend to be caused by the bicyclist being on the wrong side of the road or failing to ride within the designated bike lane, creating difficulties and confusion for motorists. Bicyclists tend to be liable when they fail to obey or yield to traffic signs.

It is important for bicyclists to provide the proper signals before they make a turn. This signaling ensures that motorists are aware of the actions of the bicyclists and helps to prevent accidents while also increasing safety for all parties. Bicyclists who fail to provide the proper signaling may find themselves liable if they are involved in an accident.

For more information, contact a bicycle accident lawyer in your area.