How to Determine Liability in Collisions of Bikes and Carsby Rodney Mesriani (Mesriani Law Group)
These days, people are using different modes of transportation to get around in less expensive ways and bicycles are one of the more popular vehicles especially in states with warm climates like California.
However, the increased number of bikes on the road today has contributed to the prevalence of bike accidents, especially those involving collisions with cars.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS), every year, bike-related crashes kill 900 people and injure about 567,000. While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that bike accident fatalities represented merely 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, the number of bicycle accidents have been steadily increasing.
In 2008, 716 bicyclists died compared to 698 in 2007 while 52,000 bicyclists were injured, rising sharply from 43,000 back in 2007. Most of the fatal bike accidents have occurred at intersections (64 percent) while a large number of the fatalities were revealed to be alcohol-related at 37 percent.
This emphasizes the dangers of bikes sharing the road with other motor vehicles like cars as well as the risk of riding while intoxicated. Intersections are a danger zone for many cyclists because of unsafe turns, driver inattention, and even failure to follow traffic rules and signals. Both the car driver and the bicyclist are often found guilty of such unsafe behavior but in every accident, circumstances would differ and one must determine who is at fault or negligent.
While drivers have the duty of due care and diligence when operating a motor vehicle, bicyclists likewise are not exempt from such obligations. The bicyclist or driver would likely be held liable for the collision under the following circumstances:
• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Failure to follow traffic signs and signals
• Failure to yield the right of way
• Inattention and/or distracted driving
• Reckless operation of the vehicle
Further, some drivers may be let off the hook or not cited in a collision if the bicyclist may have appeared to come out of nowhere. Examples of these are:
• Making sudden turns
• Lack of reflectors on the bike especially while riding at night
• Wearing dark clothes
Dealing with bicycle accidents can be tricky especially since car drivers may often impute the fault on the bicyclist. If you were involved in a bicycle accident where a collision with a car occurred, you may have to resort to getting professional legal services to help you recover any costs or expenses you incurred. It would be best to hire a bicycle accident attorney or any personal injury attorney who handles bike accidents to ensure a successful claim.