Bicycle-Car Accidents | What to Do If You Are Hit by a Car on a Bike
Are you a cyclist who was injured in a bicycle-car collision? If so, then you may be entitled to sue for compensation! Laws vary from state-to-state, but as a general rule, negligent and reckless drivers can be held responsible for the damages they cause.
Biking has grown in popularity in recent years and the United States has an overwhelmingly car oriented culture, so bicycle-car accidents are common. Unfortunately, cycling in the US is dangerous, especially in cities and towns where bike lanes are uncommon and drivers do not know how to share the road. According to Statista, “In 2020, the number of participants (aged six years and older) in bicycling amounted to approximately 52.73 million.”
Alarming Bicycle Accidents Statistics
Due to the lack of exterior, shock-absorbing material, cyclists are more vulnerable to severe and fatal injuries during a bike crash. The dangers of cycling in the US are supported by data from the CDC and the NHTSA.
How Many Cyclists Died in 2020?
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 738 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 alone. That number continued to grow over the years, in fact, 938 bicyclists were killed in 2020.
What Is the Number of Bicycle Deaths Per Year in the USA?
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that around 1000 bicyclists die each year and 130,000 bicyclists are injured each year due to bicycle crashes with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, biking and pedestrian accidents are on the rise since 2009, the numbers are actually getting worse!
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Researchers found that these three items gave rise to bike accidents:
- Motorist behaviors
- Non-motorist behaviors
- Infrastructure issues
Motorist behaviors that contribute to bike accidents are: speeding, distracted driving, not following traffic laws, not being aware of traffic laws, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Non-motorist behaviors, like those of bicyclists and pedestrians, that help to cause bike accidents are: not following traffic laws, not being aware of traffic laws, poor visibility, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Infrastructure issues that contribute to bicyclist and car accidents are: lack of separation between motorist and bicyclists, bad lighting, traffic and street signs, and marked crosswalks.
Bicycle-Car Accident Prevention
How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling?
According to the NHTSA, “a large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road.” The NHTSA outlines Rules of the Road for Riding Safely, and they are as follows:
- Ride in a straight line, single file.
- Go with the traffic flow. Ride on the right, and in the same direction as cars.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Ride with both hands on the handlebars, except when signaling a turn or stopping.
- Practice stopping, then looking left-right-left for traffic before entering a street.
- Walk your bike across an intersection, instead of riding it across.
- Stay alert. Use your eyes to look for things that could make you fall, such as: potholes, cracks, pebbles, or wet leaves.
- Do not wear earphones while biking, use your ears instead to listen for traffic.
- Watch for parked cars and cars pulling out or into parking spaces and driveways.
- Check your bicycle equipment. Make sure your bike tires are properly inflated and that the brakes work.
- Do not forget your bicycle helmet. Wear it flat on your head and buckled at all times while bicycling.
Share the Road Campaign and Bicycle-Car Safety
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths related to car-bicycle accidents, the NHTSA initiated its Share the Road campaign which offers tips for bike safety. This initiative also provides information about sharing the road safely for drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. The idea is that we all need to use the road carefully and be aware of each other when driving, riding, and walking.
The project highlights that bicyclists have the same rights as drivers on roadways in the U.S. It seeks to inform all road users that bicyclists, as well as motorcyclists, have a distinct disadvantage on the road due to their size and lack of exterior protection. All other motorists need to be alert and aware of this disadvantage, in order to help prevent accidents on the road.
When Can I Sue For a Bicycle-Car Accident?
If you were in a biking accident and got hurt and/or incurred property damage to your bike by a car driver who was not following the rules of the road, you may have a valid personal injury or property damage claim.
Bicycle Laws by State
It all depends on where you live, the severity of the accident, and who is at fault. Each state has its own laws regarding who is responsible for bicyclists hit by a car. In some cases, and depending on the state, you may have an accident claim, even if you are partly to blame. Your total damages are likely to be reduced by a percentage, but you may still have an actionable claim for compensation.
Examples of Partial Fault
Examples of when a cyclist may be considered partially at fault for an accident can include:
- Not wearing a helmet
- Riding in the street instead of the available bike lane
What to Do if You’re Hit By a Car While on Your Bicycle
If you’re in a bicycle accident with a motorist, you should do the following:
- Do not panic; make sure you are safe before helping others or moving around
- Seek medical attention
- Call 911, if you are able
- File a police report
- Provide help to anyone who may be injured, if you are able
- Collect insurance information from the driver of the vehicle
- Talk to witnesses, and collect contact information
- Take pictures of property damage and/or injuries
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney to make sure your best interests are protected
Be sure to contact a bike accident attorney BEFORE you speak to any insurance adjusters about the incident. Your accident attorney will work on your behalf, acting as the communication middleman. This prevents you from saying anything that could undermine your claims.
Speak to a Bike Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you suffered an injury in a bicycle-car accident, you may be able to sue and obtain compensation for your losses. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to speak to a bike accident attorney in your area. Consultation is free, so there’s no downside to calling and having a short conversation.