Riding a bicycle is a great way to not only get in better shape but to also lower your carbon footprint in commuting to work. Not only are bikes more affordable than cars, but they also don’t need costly repairs or insurance, as well. However, with all the benefits of riding a bike comes the dangers of the road as well. Though most people do not like to think about them, accidents between cars and bicycles are fairly common. If you ever find yourself in this situation or simply want to prepare for the worst, you may be wondering who would be at fault. To analyze the specifics of your case, it would be best to meet with a personal injury attorney. However, in general, you can follow this guide below.
Believe it or not, bicycles actually follow nearly all the same rules and regulations that vehicles on the road do. However, this also means that you should keep these rules in check and follow them at all times. Being negligent can not only cause accidents, but legal problems as well, which can prevent further commutes with your bike to work.
On the other end of the spectrum, drivers must also follow the rules of sharing the road with bicyclists. This means always watching out for them on the road and giving them plenty of room.
At the site of a collision, law enforcement will always look for negligence as a primary factor in determining who is at fault. This is why following the rules for drivers and bicyclists alike is so important.
Besides allowing for each other to have plenty of room, both cars and bicyclists should be wary of the weather, construction zones, school zones, etc.
Negligence and the Duty of Care
Whether you’re a bicyclist or a driver, both have equal responsibility when operating their vehicles of transportation. For example, if a car needs to pass a bike, it’s their responsibility to offer a bicyclist plenty of room before passing. However, if there is not sufficient space to pass, it’s the driver’s responsibility to remain behind the bike until there is. If a driver cannot follow this simple rule, the negligence is shifted onto them.
However, bikes have to follow the same rules that drivers do. Bicyclists have to ride on the right side of the road, also known as a bike lane, and not use a cell phone while operating their bike. They also must use reflector lights at night to provide caution to other drivers on the road. In addition, they must also use hand signals to show where and when they are turning on the road. If a bicyclist cannot follow these rules, the negligence is shifted onto them, not the driver.
What About Cases of Dual Negligence?
If the cyclist and driver are both charged with negligence, this process becomes a bit more difficult and complex. In this section, we will be talking about the duty of care that both drivers face.
For example, if there isn’t enough space for a driver to pass a bicyclist, but the cyclist isn’t giving enough room because they’re afraid of a car passing them. Both parties have an equal responsibility of being safe on the road. Due to this, most law enforcement officers will give percentages of fault to both parties, otherwise known as dual negligence.
So, whether you are driving or cycling, keep the rules of the road in your head at all times. You never know when you will be faced with a situation on the road where you could be charged with negligence.
If you were involved in an accident between a car and a bicycle, it would also be in your best interest to contact an personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Regardless of who was at fault, you should meet with a lawyer in order to protect your interests and your legal rights. Plus, a qualified attorney can help you to build your case and navigate the ins and outs of the legal system, ensuring your case receives the best outcome possible. Be sure to set up a consultation with a local law firm today!
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