Cycling has become a very popular as both a recreation sport and a cheap, reliable means of transportation. Unfortunately, this rise in popularity has also meant a rise in bicycle accidents. The causes of these accidents are many, but your bicycle accident attorney can help you with recovering the compensation you deserve if you are injured.
Why are bicycle accidents on the rise?
There are many different factors that, in combination, result in an increase of bicycle accidents. The number of cyclists on the road is one factor. As more and more people turn to biking as a method of commuting, there are significantly more bicycles on the road. Not to mention the increase of recreational cyclists. Add to that, the substantial number of distracted drivers, lack of bike lanes, and lack of respect and recognition for cyclists on the roadway, and you have a formula for danger.
Bicycle accident attorney understands Missouri laws regarding bicycles
Under Missouri law, bicyclists are considered the same as other vehicles when on the roadway. For bicyclists, this means they must obey all of the rules of the road. One major misconception cyclists have is that they can travel down the road in the opposite direction as traffic, as pedestrians do. A major misconception that motorists have is that cyclists are required to ride on the sidewalk.
In fact, in Missouri bicycles aren’t supposed to be ridden on the sidewalk within business districts. When riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in a residential area, any pedestrians have the right-of-way. When passing a pedestrian, the cyclist must give an audible signal before doing so. Cyclists are allowed to ride on the shoulder, but they are not required to.
Missouri laws spell out driver responsibilities regarding cyclists
Under Missouri law, a driver overtaking a bicycle must maintain a safe distance. The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway is required to leave a safe distance when passing the bicycle. The motor vehicle must also maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
Understanding Bicycle Accident Investigations
Following a bicycle accident where the cyclist is injured, it is important to investigate how the accident occurred and how the bicyclist was injured. Often, accident reconstruction experts are useful to determine what caused the collision. In some cases, there may have been a defect in the bicycle or its components. Sometimes, the roadway may have been dangerous or defective. Regardless of the circumstances, obtaining the opinion of an accident reconstruction expert in a bicycle accident can be extremely helpful to your injury claim.
The Process of Reconstructing the Accident
It is very common for a bicycle accident attorney to take steps to determine what happened in the accident. This determination is important especially when litigation is likely. Most accident reconstruction experts have a background in physics and/or engineering, which is necessary to understand how forces act on objects such as humans and vehicles. After a bicycle accident, it is critical to preserve the bike for a thorough inspection before it gets repaired or destroyed. Without the bicycle, an expert may not have access to valuable details and information that can help strengthen your case.
Issues that reconstruction experts often consider in bicycle accident cases
An accident reconstruction expert will look for, among other things, potential issues in design, manufacture or assembly of the bicycle. They may look for evidence that the bicycle was assembled by someone who lacked the qualifications or failed to properly check his or her work. An example of poor assembly includes failure to tighten components such as pedals, wheels, and handlebars. These failures can cause serious bicycle accidents and result in major injuries.
Accident reconstruction experts can often determine the actions taken by a bicyclist just before the collisions, including whether they were forced to take evasive action.
Reconstructionists who have expertise in roadway engineering and street planning can determine whether the design or lack of maintenance of a street or bike path contributed, or even caused, the bicycle accident.
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 at 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.
If you have questions regarding bicycle 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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