Liability in a Bicycle Accident

When we think about bicycle accidents with motor vehicles, it’s not unusual to automatically assume that the driver had to be to blame for the accident and the bicyclist’s injuries. But is that always the case or can a bicyclist ever be liable for such a crash?

If you think about it, bicyclists have to follow the same traffic laws and rules of the road as motorists. They are expected to stop at red traffic lights and stop signs. They are expected to signal when they are turning, and they are expected to yield to pedestrians just like any motorists. So, can a bicyclist be responsible for an accident? The answer is yes, it is possible.

When Are Bicyclists Liable?

To answer the question, think about the traffic laws and a regular motorist’s responsibilities. In reality, a bicyclist is held to the same standards as any driver. Bicyclists are expected to follow the traffic laws and if they blatantly break a law and it leads to a crash with a motorist, it is possible for the bicyclist to be accountable for the accident.

In was instances can a bicyclist be liable? Whenever a bicyclist violates a traffic law and as a result causes a crash, the bicyclist can be on the hook for the accident. Here are some examples of when a bicyclist can be held liable for a collision with an automobile:

  • The bicyclist runs a red light and causes a crash.
  • The bicyclist fails to stop at a stop sign and causes a crash.
  • The bicyclist darts out in traffic from a driveway without yielding the right of way to oncoming vehicles.
  • The bicyclist turns left on red in front of oncoming traffic.
  • The bicyclist turns left on a red arrow or when the bicyclist has a red light.
  • The bicyclist was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and in effect, weaved in front of a vehicle or lost control and caused an accident.
  • The bicyclist was texting on their phone and caused a crash.

Next: Pain & Suffering Defined

As you can see, it is possible for a bicyclist to be at-fault for a crash. Determining liability as it turns out, is not all that different than it is for crashes involving two motor vehicles. Fault usually comes down to negligence and who broke a traffic law. If the driver was the one to blame, then the driver will be liable for the bicyclist’s damages.

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