Recently in Brooklyn, during the Ninth Annual Red Hook Criterium 5K bicycle race, a massive pileup at the start of the race highlighted the dangers, both seen and unseen, for bicyclists everywhere. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, your best move is to discuss your potential case with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
Stalled motorcycle results in huge bicycle crash
During this years Annual Red Hook Criterium 5K bicycle race, which started out as an unsanctioned cycling race series, the pace motorcycle stalled at the beginning of the race, leading to a huge bicycle crash just as cyclists took off from the starting gate. There were seven reported injuries, the worst of which was a broken arm. There were ultimately several crashes during the event.
Your bicycle accident lawyer explains how to avoid bicycle accidents
Although most motor vehicle accidents involve cars, motorcycles and trucks, you can also be injured while riding your bicycle and being struck by a motor vehicle. In order to avoid a trip to a bicycle accident lawyer, you need to reduce the risk of accidents, especial ones involving cars. This requires maximizing your visibility, understanding the rules of the road, taking safety precautions and recognizing potential dangerous situations ahead of time.
The dangers of riding a bike through an intersection
Despite the fact that only a small percentage of a cyclists travel route includes intersections, that is where they are at the greatest risk for injury. While only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a crash with a car more than 45 percent of those accidents occur in an intersection. This type of accident is common for many reasons. Car drivers often underestimate the speed of a cyclist. Another problem is that drivers do not really expect to see a bike on the road, so they don’t really look out for them. Even if they were watching for bikes, it is easy to miss them because they are small and often blend into the background.
Be sure to actually stop at an intersection
As any bicycle accident lawyer will tell you, it is important to avoid the “almost stop” at an intersection. In many states, when a cyclist fails to come to a complete stop at an intersection, the cyclist may be legally barred from any recovery. This is true even if the motorist is more responsible for the accident than the cyclist. The lesson to learn here is that, in order to protect your legal right to recovery for injuries following an accident, you must come to a complete stop when the rules of the road require it.
Determining who has the Right-of-Way
As with cars, motorcycles and trucks, determining who has the right-of-way in a given situation depends on several factors, especially whether there are traffic signals. When there are two vehicles approaching an intersection that does not have a traffic signal or only has a stop sign, the vehicle arriving at the intersection first has the right-of-way.
In situations where the vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way. There is an exception to this rule. When a minor street intersects with a major street, the traffic on the major street always has the right-of-way. When an intersection is controlled by a traffic light, right-of-way would obviously be determined by the traffic signal.
When the cyclist may be liable for accidents or injuries
While you may think the primary issue in an accident involving a car and a bike is how badly the cyclist was injured, there may be a bigger issue of liability. Because a cyclist is required to follow the rules of the road, if they violate those rules, they could possibly face legal consequences of their own. In fact, if the driver of the other vehicle is injured in any way or, more commonly, if their vehicle is damaged, the cyclist may be held responsible. The other side of that coin is that, when the cyclist is at fault, they may not be able to recover for their own injuries.
Never ride your bicycle against traffic
Since, under the law, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and are required to obey traffic laws, a cyclists who rides against traffic are breaking the law. Contrary to popular belief, riding against traffic is more dangerous and actually accounts for the majority of bike accidents. Another reason to refrain from riding against traffic is that it typically leave less time to maneuver away from an imminent collision.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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