Car Wrecks Involving a Bicycle

Cyclists often assume that they would not be liable (responsible) for an accident between their bicycle and a motorized vehicle. This could be an incorrect assumption! Bicycles are considered 'vehicles' and cyclists must obey the rules that apply to motorized vehicles.

Car wrecks involving a bicycle only account for 11% of all bike accidents. Yet, 45% of these happen at an intersection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The question of which driver was liable most often is determined by who had the right-of-way. Since the driver of the car and the cyclist must follow the rules of the road consider these two common situations:

1. Traffic lights. Traffic signals control the flow of traffic at these intersections and cyclists must follow rules. However, sensors may not be able to detect a cyclist. In this case, they should wait for safe crossing against the light or use the pedestrian crosswalk if available.

2. No traffic lights. If a car and a bicycle approach an intersection, the vehicle arriving first has the right-of-way. If they arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way. One exception to these rules is at intersections of a main street and a secondary street. The vehicles on the main street have the right-of-way.

There are other variables to consider in determining which vehicle has the right-of-way, such as turning vehicles versus those proceeding forward. Regardless of the circumstances, cyclists must follow the rules of the road for their own safety and the safety of others.

If you have been in a wreck as the driver of the car or the cyclist, meet with our attorneys to discuss the details.

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