Any time a car and bicycle collide, it can be a chaotic situation. After such an accident, you may be wondering, do cyclists cause accidents?
The answer is, yes, cyclists can be found at fault in some crashes. Other times, the motor vehicle driver may be found at fault.
If a police officer responds to the scene of the accident, they may try to determine whether the motor vehicle driver or the cyclist was behaving in a negligent manner just before the crash, leading to the accident. If either party violated traffic laws, this could be a clear indication of negligence.
Even if there was no determination of fault by a responding police officer, a personal injury lawyer may be able to investigate the cause of your bicycle accident and help you determine who was at fault.
Cyclists Do Cause Accidents—How They Could Be at Fault
It may not seem like a cyclist could cause an accident with a motor vehicle. After all, a car is significantly larger and heavier than a bicycle. Even if the bicyclist caused the crash, the cyclist may have suffered significant injuries, while the motor vehicle driver may have only had minor injuries, or no injuries at all.
However, when determining fault, it does not matter which party suffered a greater level of injuries in the crash. Typically, the legal system assigns fault based on which party behaved in a negligent manner and broke a duty of care.
Determining When the Cyclist Is at Fault
Understand that in the state of Indiana, a cyclist must obey all traffic laws, and both motorists and cyclists must share the road. State law treats a cyclist as another driver in most circumstances. Some of the ways a cyclist could violate state or local laws and create an accident with a car include:
- Ignoring traffic signs: where the cyclist does not obey stop signs or stop lights, pulling into traffic and causing the accident.
- Failing to yield: where the cyclist does not yield to the motor vehicle driver, even though traffic laws say the cyclist should yield.
- Riding against traffic: where the cyclist does not follow state law and does not ride in the same direction as traffic.
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How a Driver Can Be at Fault
The driver of a motor vehicle involved in a crash with a bicycle could also be at fault for the accident.
Some of the ways a driver could be at fault include:
- Distracted driving: where a driver was paying attention to a smartphone, a radio, or another item inside the car, rather than watching the road, resulting in a crash with a cyclist.
- DWI: where the driver was drinking or taking drugs, resulting in an inability to operate the car safely.
- Violating traffic laws: where a driver ignores state and local traffic laws, such as by speeding, running a stop sign, or failing to maintain a lane, causing him or her to collide with the bicycle.
- Unsafe equipment: where the driver’s car does not have things like properly functioning brakes, creating an unsafe situation where the driver cannot stop the car in time to avoid a crash.
In some cases, the representatives of the two parties or a judge in a court case may decide both the cyclist and the driver shared fault in the accident.
Often times in this type of case, each of the two parties will receive a percentage number, indicating the amount he or she was at fault.
Then, if the cyclist has received a monetary award for damages, the total amount could be reduced by the percentage at which the cyclist was found to be at fault.
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Get Help with Your Personal Injury Case
Determining fault in an accident between a cyclist and a driver is not always an easy process. Sometimes, both parties may have played a role in the accident. Other times, the eyewitness accounts may not quite match up, leaving law enforcement unable to determine exactly who was at fault.
If you suffered an injury while on your bicycle after an accident with a motor vehicle, and police officers did not clearly define the party at fault, you may want to consult a personal injury lawyer.
Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. represents the victims of bicycle accidents in personal injury cases. We may be able to investigate your case and produce evidence of the responsible party’s liability. This may include testimony in your defense from accident reconstruction experts, if necessary.
Contact us today at (317) 636-7777 for a free consultation. Our firm focuses exclusively on personal injury cases. We are able to take your case on a contingency-fee basis with no up-front costs required.