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Can a Cyclist Be Responsible for Causing a Car Accident?


Just as drivers are duty-bound to drive in a manner that keeps other people who use the roads safe, cyclists also have a duty to cycle safely and obey traffic laws.

This means that if a cyclist fails to live up to that duty of care and their actions cause a crash, they can be held responsible for the crash and resulting injuries and damages. 

Let’s consider some situations where cyclists may be responsible for bicycle-car collisions.

a missouri cyclist in the bike lane

Rules Cyclists Must Follow on the Road 

Under Missouri bicycle laws, there are set rules for operating a bicycle on the road. These rules include: 

  • A bicyclist cannot ride on the sidewalk within a business district
  • Bicycles should be equipped with a brake that can stop the bike within 25 feet
  • Bicyclists must observe the same roadway rules as motor vehicle users, including biking on the right side of the road and stopping at all traffic signals
  • Always use hand signals where necessary 
  • Bicyclists can ride side by side as long as they don’t obstruct the roadway
  • A bicyclist must yield the right of way to pedestrians

When Is a Bicyclist at Fault for an Accident? 

As mentioned earlier, cyclists are required to follow all traffic rules. If they create an unsafe situation, they may be considered negligent and held responsible. Negligent actions could include: 

  • Knowingly ignoring the traffic rules 
  • Riding on the wrong way on a one-way street 
  • Careless driving among pedestrians 
  • Ignoring stop signs and red lights 
  • Making abrupt turns without giving signals 

Negligence and Shared Fault Under Missouri Laws 

Missouri uses the comparative negligence fault system, meaning each party in the accident will receive compensation for part of their damages for which they were not liable. So, if it is determined that the cyclist is 20% responsible for an accident, they can recover the remaining 80% of their damages.

What About Children?

Under the “tender years” doctrine, children are generally considered incapable of exercising the expected standards of care compared to adult cyclists. Therefore, a child generally cannot carry either contributory or comparative negligence in case of an accident. 

How Do You Prove Negligence in a Bicycle-Car Accident? 

To establish that the defendant was liable and be awarded damages, the plaintiff needs to provide evidence of the defendant’s negligence. This includes submitting photographs of the accident scene, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, and medical reports. 

Speak With a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

If you are involved in a bicycle-car accident, our experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys can help you determine what compensation you may be entitled to. Give us a call 24/7 for a free case evaluation.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Updated: September 30, 2021