When an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist, many complexities come into play. Since laws in most states allow bicyclists to have as much right to the road as motor vehicles, different aspects must be examined to determine who was at fault for the accident. In most cases, the deciding factor is often “side of the road” rules, which require a cyclist to ride as far to the right on a road or use a bicycle lane if one is provided. However, since many laws come together in these cases, determining liability in these situations can be difficult at best. To learn more about the most common liability issues and which accidents are the most common between motorists and cyclists, here is additional information that factors heavily into these cases.
Common Types of Accidents
When an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist, it is usually one of three types, which are:
- Cyclist hitting open door of a parked vehicle
- Cyclist being sideswiped by passing vehicle
- Cyclist struck by motor vehicle that is making a right turn
When any of these accidents occur, the insurance company representing the motor vehicle driver will almost always attempt to place blame on the cyclist. However, since cyclists are allowed by law to ride in the middle of a traffic lane if they are moving at the same rate of speed as surrounding traffic, this point will often need to be brought up time and time again by a Newport Beach bicycle injury lawyer.
Side of Road” Laws
In most cases where cyclists are on the road, they are riding far on the right side or in a bike lane. However, there are times when they may leave these areas, such as:
- Avoiding debris or road hazards
- Making left turn
- Riding at same rate of speed as surrounding traffic
If lane is too narrow to safely share with passing vehicles
In many situations when a cyclist does leave the right side of the road or a bike lane, the most common accident is hitting a car door as it is being opened. While this may sound as if the cyclist is automatically at fault, that may not necessarily be the case. In these instances, a bicycle accident attorney in Newport Beach will focus on the fact that negligence and liability fall on the driver, since laws state a driver should know when it is reasonably safe to open their vehicle door.
Safe Distance While On the Road
Along with “side of road” laws, a bicycle accident lawyer in Newport Beach will also argue that a cyclist was not given the proper amount of safe space on the road, leading to them being sideswiped by nearby traffic. When these accidents occur, insurance companies will often argue the cyclist made a sudden lane change, was not riding as far to the right as required by law, or came to a sudden stop while in traffic. If this should happen, it is crucial a personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach remind the insurance adjuster that in most sideswiping accidents, the cyclist was not legally obligated to get out of the way of nearby traffic. This can be crucial, since evidence often shows nearby motorists simply lose patience and drive erratically around a bicyclist, resulting in an accident that can lead to serious injuries or death for the cyclist.
Right Turn Right-of-Way Accidents
When a cyclist is near a vehicle that is attempting to make a right turn, they are putting themselves at great risk. Unfortunately, this is when many of the most severe accidents occur that involve cyclists and motor vehicles. When examining the evidence in these cases, a bicycle accident attorney in Newport Beach will point out that the vehicle passed directly into the path of the cyclist. Since many motorists are not willing to give cyclists the same courtesy as they would other drivers, negligence and carelessness usually play a large role in these accidents. In fact, many motorists will ultimately have to admit they made no effort whatsoever to look for the cyclist prior to making the turn, which can play into the legal strategy of a bicycle accident lawyer in Newport Beach.
Suing for Damages
When a cyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, significant injuries occur. Whether it is broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, or all of the above, these injuries will lead to high medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and tremendous pain and suffering. To gain fair and equitable compensation, a personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach will be needed to handle the case. Rather than let a careless driver get away with their actions, schedule a consultation with a Newport Beach bicycle injury lawyer as quickly as possible.