Cyclists are particularly exposed to negligent drivers on the road.
Adherence to road rules may help cyclists avoid accidents with motor vehicles. The “side-of-the-road” rule requires cyclists to use the bike lanes while riding on public roads. However, bike accidents may still happen for numerous reasons including:
• bumping an opening door of a parked vehicle
• getting side-swiped by a passing vehicle
• bumped by a vehicle making a right turn
Cyclists are protected by laws regulating the use of bike lanes. Since cyclists have the same rights as drivers of motor vehicles, cyclists can use the middle part of the traffic lane unless they are prevented by other laws. Cyclists should inform the insurance adjuster about this situation when discussing an insurance claim. Liabilities in accidents involving cars and bicycles are determined by the following rules.
Bike Lanes and Side-of-Road Rules
Cyclists should use the right side of the road if they cannot keep up with motor vehicle traffic. Cyclists are required to use bike lanes if these are provided. A cyclist should only leave the bike lane or the side of the road:
• if the cyclist can keep up with the traffic
• if the space for the bike lane is restricted
• when making left turns
• to avoid obstructions
A person opening a car door will nearly always be at fault since the law requires a cyclist to pass close to cars that are parked and doors cannot be opened unless it is safe.
Space Provided To Passing Vehicles
Motor vehicles are required to provide a three-foot space while they are passing. However, it is not easy to be accurate in recreating an incident. This situation is further made difficult when it comes to trucks, buses, and SUVs. Motor vehicles should avoid passing cyclists using the road unless it is already safe. Motorists should slow down and wait for a good opportunity to pass and cyclists are not required to allow the motorist to pass except on the far right lane.
An adjuster may inform a cyclist involved in an accident that he or she was not as far to the right as necessary, to which the cyclist can reply that the motorist should have waited for a safe opportunity to pass. The width of the bicycle and traffic lane should be measured if the vehicle that hit the cyclist is wider than a standard vehicle. The cyclist can have an advantage in the claim if the extra width of the vehicle makes passing safely a difficult thing to do.
Right-of-Way Right Turn
A car turning right is among the most common type of accident involving cyclists. Cars may slow down while making a right turn into the path of a cyclist or simply turn right without seeing the cyclist. The motorist is at fault in these instances since the vehicle can only turn when it is already safe to do so. The side-of-the-road rule gives cyclists the privilege to continue driving through intersections without stopping for right-turning motorists.
If you have been injured in an accident as a result of a negligent driver, call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 to learn about your legal options. We are focused exclusively on helping injured people achieve financial recovery.