The status of bicycles on the roadway can differ depending on which state or city you happen to be in. In Missouri, the law considers bicycles to be vehicles just the same as cars or trucks. That means a bicyclist has the same rights and the same responsibilities as any other vehicle on the roadway. There are a few exceptions, though, which means if you are involved in a bicycle accident an investigation will likely be necessary to determine fault. Let our Joplin bicycle accident attorney help you through the process.
Some basic rules to understand about bicycling on the roadway
Bicyclists on the roadway are expected to keep as far right as possible. It is important to be cautious cars parked on the side of the road that may be opening doors. Bicyclists are allowed to ride on the shoulder of the highways unless there is a local ordinance prohibiting it. On a one-way road, bicyclists are allowed to travel on either the far left or far right side of the road. Cyclists are also expected to use arm signals, including extending your left arm out to signal a left turn and up for a right turn. When cycling at night, bicyclists should have a white light in the front and a red light or reflector in the rear.
Some basic rules for motorists sharing the road with bicyclists
Motorists are expected to respect bicyclists by giving them the same distance they would if it were a motor vehicle. In other words, share the road. When passing a bicyclist, motorists should allow at least three feet of space between the bike and the vehicle. If a motorist causes an accident with a bicyclist then you may need a Joplin bicycle accident attorney to explain your rights to recovery.
What to expect following a bicycle accident
Following a bicycle accident, it is important to examine how the accident occurred and what caused the injuries to the bicyclist. Making this determination often requires an investigation and assistance from an accident reconstruction expert. In some cases, the accident may not have been caused by another motorist, but by defects or other dangerous conditions on the roadway. Obtaining the opinion of an accident reconstruction expert in a bicycle accident can go a long way toward supporting your injury claim, so speak to a Joplin bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
What is involved in reconstructing the accident
Sometimes figuring out what happened in an accident can be more difficult than you might expect. But it is critical to do so in order to be able to prove how or why the accident occurred. Most accident reconstruction experts have expertise in physics and/or engineering in order to understand how forces act on objects. That includes the human bodies as well as the vehicles. After a bicycle accident, it is crucial to preserve the bike for a thorough inspection. Be sure not to dispose of your bicycle or get it repaired before the expert can examine it. If you do, the expert will likely lose valuable information that could strengthen your claims. Let our Joplin bicycle accident attorney help you to preserve your claims.
Some factors involved in a bicycle accident investigation
There are a few common factors that most accident reconstructionists will consider in making their determination of the cause of a bicycle accident. First, the expert often looks for issues with the bike itself, depending on the circumstances. They will inspect your bicycle to see if there were any issues with design, manufacture or assembly. This can include evidence that the people who assembled the bicycle may have lacked proper qualifications or failed to appropriately inspect their work. Poor assembly could include the failure to tighten necessary components, like wheels, handlebars or pedals.
Accident reconstructionists can also determine what actions a bicyclist may have needed to take just before the accident, such as evasive maneuvers. This is important either when the bicyclist cannot remember the moments before the accident or to simply corroborate the victim’s version of the events. Experts can also help to determine whether there was a design defect or lack of maintenance of the street or roadway that may have contributed to or caused the accident.
If you have questions regarding bicycle accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact an experienced Joplin bicycle accident attorney at the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.