Home Legal Are Bicyclists Ever Liable for Traffic Accidents?

Are Bicyclists Ever Liable for Traffic Accidents?

4 min read
0

Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in many parts of the world, and with the increasing popularity of cycling, the number of cycling accidents has also increased. Many people wonder if bicyclists are ever liable for traffic accidents, and the answer is yes, they can be. In this article, we will explore the various scenarios in which a bicyclist can be held liable for a traffic accident.

Bicyclist Negligence

One of the most common scenarios in which a bicyclist can be held liable for a traffic accident is when they are negligent. Bicyclists have a duty to obey traffic laws, just like motorists, says NHTSA. If a bicyclist fails to obey traffic laws and causes an accident, they can be held liable for the damages that result.

Some common examples of bicyclist negligence include running red lights or stop signs, riding on the wrong side of the road, failing to signal turns or lane changes, and riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Bicyclists who engage in these types of behaviors put themselves and others at risk of serious injury or death.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that applies in some states and jurisdictions (source). Under contributory negligence, if both the bicyclist and the motorist were negligent in causing an accident, the bicyclist may not be able to recover any damages. In other words, if the bicyclist’s negligence contributed to the accident in any way, they may be barred from recovering any compensation.

For example, if a bicyclist runs a red light and collides with a car that was speeding, both the bicyclist and the motorist may be found to have contributed to the accident. In this case, the bicyclist may not be able to recover any damages, even if the motorist was mostly at fault for the accident.

Bicyclist Equipment

Another scenario in which a bicyclist can be held liable for a traffic accident is if they fail to properly maintain their equipment. Bicyclists have a duty to make sure that their bikes are in good working order and are equipped with proper safety equipment.

For example, if a bicyclist’s brakes fail and they collide with a car, the bicyclist may be held liable for the accident if it is determined that the brakes were not properly maintained. Similarly, if a bicyclist is riding at night and fails to have proper lights and reflectors on their bike, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that applies in many states and jurisdictions. Under comparative negligence, the damages that a bicyclist can recover are reduced by the percentage of fault that they are found to have in causing the accident.

For example, if a bicyclist is found to be 25% at fault for an accident and the damages are $100,000, the bicyclist would only be able to recover $75,000. This is because their damages are reduced by the percentage of fault that they are found to have in causing the accident.

Bicyclist-Pedestrian Accidents

Bicyclists can also be held liable for accidents involving pedestrians. Bicyclists have a duty to exercise reasonable care when riding near pedestrians and to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when necessary.

For example, if a bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk and collides with a pedestrian, the bicyclist may be held liable for any injuries that result. Similarly, if a bicyclist is riding on a shared-use path and collides with a pedestrian, the bicyclist may be held liable if it is determined that they were riding recklessly or failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

Comparative Fault

Comparative fault also applies in cases involving bicyclist-pedestrian accidents. If the pedestrian is found to be partially at fault for the accident, the damages that they can recover may be reduced.

For example, if a pedestrian steps out into a bike lane without looking and is hit by a bicyclist who is riding legally in the bike lane, the pedestrian may be found to be partially at fault for the accident. In this case, the damages that the pedestrian can recover may be reduced by the percentage of fault that they are found to have in causing the accident.

Contact an Attorney

Bicyclists can be held liable for traffic accidents under various scenarios. Bicyclist negligence, failure to maintain equipment, and accidents involving pedestrians are some common examples. In some states and jurisdictions, legal doctrines such as contributory negligence and comparative negligence may also apply, which can affect the damages that a bicyclist can recover.

It is important for bicyclists to exercise reasonable care when riding and to obey traffic laws to avoid causing accidents. Bicyclists should also make sure that their equipment is in good working order and that they have proper safety equipment. Contact a McCoy & Hiestand (check out website) bicycle accident attorney to reduce the risk of being held liable for damages.

Last Updated: April 24, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Dossier Perfumes: Redefining Luxury with Transparency and Inclusivity

In an industry often clouded by exclusivity and inflated price tags, Dossier Perfumes emer…