What Are Your Legal Options if You Hit a Bike Rider While Driving?
Brian White | December 7, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Having a collision with a bicyclist is a terrifying experience for you as a driver. It can be incredibly dangerous, even deadly, for the cyclist. In these types of accidents, it is crucial that you respond quickly. Your first priority should always be the personal safety of everyone involved in the crash.
If you have hit a bicyclist with your car, the first thing that you should do is check on the rider and find out if they are injured. Call emergency services immediately and request any necessary medical care to the scene.
If possible, ensure that everyone is able to move safely off the roadway. Of course, you should also seek medical attention for any injuries that you have sustained.
Speaking with Law Enforcement Following the Accident
Once you have attended to the safety of everyone involved and contacted the proper authorities, stay on the scene until the police arrive. Some drivers are tempted to leave the scene in an attempt to avoid the consequences of their accident. This is a terrible idea and can result in massive fines and criminal charges for a hit and run. You are always best served by following the law.
When the police arrive, provide them with as much information as possible. But do not say anything that implies that you are legally at fault for the accident. This is important even if you believe that you caused the collision. You should speak with a qualified attorney before speculating about who bears legal responsibility.
Also, collect the name and identification number of the investigating police officer, as well as any reference number associated with the collision. This information will be necessary when speaking with the insurance provider.
Possible Bicycle Injuries
In the aftermath of a collision between a car and a bicyclist, the cyclist is at a higher risk for injuries because bicycles do not provide the same level of structural protection as motor vehicles. For instance, the bicyclist may suffer broken bones, a brain injury, or nerve damage.
This is especially true if the rider is not wearing a helmet. Although the possibility of injuries can be frightening, it is your responsibility to help any injured parties immediately after a collision. Whether or not you believe that the other party may seek damages against you, it is important to speak with a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Determining Who Is At Fault for the Collision
You might assume that in accidents involving a car and a bicycle, the driver of the automobile is always at fault. But these cases are not always that clear cut.
There are a range of possible examples in which the bicyclist could be legally responsible for the accident, including:
- The bicyclist veered carelessly or recklessly into the flow of traffic
- The rider did not abide by the rules of the road
- The bicyclist was distracted by a cell phone or other electronic device
- The rider failed to yield the right of way
- The bicycle is not equipped with proper lighting
- The rider is not wearing appropriate safety gear (including a helmet)
In cases like these, the bicyclist may be at least partially responsible for the accident. If the rider shares blame, that can limit how much money you’ll ultimately have to pay in damages.Never say anything to the police or an insurance provider to imply that you are at-fault for the collision.
It is vital to speak with an auto accident lawyer immediately following the crash. They can review the facts of your case and help you to determine who is legally liable for the damages in the accident.
Collect Documentation of the Car Accident
After you have contacted the police and any necessary medical services, you should collect documentation of the crash. This will ensure that you have a record of any vehicular property damage and any relevant environmental factors at the scene of the accident.
Take photos or videos of any damage to your car. Collect contact information from anyone else involved in the collision, as well as any witnesses who can corroborate your version of events. Evidence of the crash can help determine who is at fault and will help your attorney effectively fight for your interests.
Common Types of Collisions Between Bicyclists and Drivers
Although every accident is unique, there are certain common situations in which cyclists are struck by motor vehicles.
Some of the common circumstances include:
- Right Cross – A “right cross” accident happens when a car exits a driveway, alley, side street, or parking garage on the bicyclist’s right-hand side. In these cases, the cyclist has already passed the spot where the car is exiting. The car then pulls out too quickly and strikes the bicyclist.
Alternatively, the car may pull out into the street or bike lane and block the cyclist’s bath, causing a collision.
- When Bicycles and Cars are Traveling Parallel – Another common type of accident occurs when a bicycle and car are traveling parallel to each other. If the motorist fails to see the rider, they may turn into the immediate path of the cyclist.
For this reason, it is incredibly important to be aware of your surroundings while driving. Check for the presence of cyclists in nearby bike lanes and on sidewalks before turning or changing lanes.
Bicycles are subject to the same traffic laws as other types of vehicles. However, most drivers are less aware of cyclists than they should be. This is especially dangerous because bicycle riders face a higher likelihood of injury as the result of a collision.
Speak with a Trusted Car Accident Attorney
If you have hit a bike rider with your car, it is essential that you consult with an experienced auto accident attorney. Whether or not the collision is your fault, having a legal advocate fight for your rights is crucial. It is not a foregone conclusion that you are responsible for a collision with a bicycle.
If the accident was the result of the bike rider’s negligence, you should not be held responsible. A qualified lawyer can help secure the best outcome for you.