Louisville Bicycle Accident Lawyers
David Bryant Law, PLLC
Whether it’s your favorite form of exercise or your preferred method of commuting to work, riding a bicycle is a fun and efficient way to travel and stay in shape. However, there are inherent dangers to cycling on the roads.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident then you probably have any number of questions and concerns about things like paying for medical bills and getting your life back on track. Contacting a bicycle accident lawyer, can help you get the compensation you deserve and hold the negligent parties responsible for the injuries you’ve sustained.
Under Kentucky law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as does a driver in a car. This means that a cyclist must follow the same rules of the road as an operator of a motor vehicle.
Cyclists are required to obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings and must ride in the right lane or in the bicycle lane when possible.
There are certain specific rules and regulations that apply to riders on the road and drivers’ interactions with them.
Bicycles must have the appropriate lights at the front and rear. Front lights must be visible for at least 500 feet ahead of the bike and must be capable of illuminating objects at least fifty feet ahead of the cyclist. On the rear of the bicycle, the cyclist may have either a red reflector or red light visible from at least 100 feet away or a red flashing light visible for at least 500 feet.
- Wherever there are bike lanes, the cyclist is required to use them.
- Bicyclists may ride on the shoulder.
- Cyclists are not required to wear a helmet.
- Bicycles must have a bell or horn.
- At least one hand must be in contact with the handlebars at all times
- Cyclists may ride two-at-a-time in a single lane on the highway.
- Drivers must provide 3 feet of space behind a cyclist.
Who is Responsible for My Medical Bills?
If you have been injured in a bicycle crash with an automobile, you may be having trouble paying the mounting cost of your medical bills. The cost of treatment after a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle can be very high. Speaking with a bicycle accident attorney may be the first step in getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
In many cases, the driver who hit you can be held negligent and liable for the accident. This can happen if it is determined that the driver was at fault for the accident. The driver may have been distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving aggressively or erratically.
In other words, a bicycle accident lawyer may be able to determine the fault of another driver in causing your accident. The at-fault party may be held responsible for the damages and you may be eligible for compensation.
In other cases, government agencies may be held responsible for the accident because of poor visibility on roadways or improper maintenance of the roads and/or traffic control devices. A bicycle accident attorney can determine whether you have a claim against those responsible for the roads if the conditions of the roadway played a part in your accident.
Finally, in cases where the bicycle itself was the cause of or played a part in your accident, you may be eligible to make a claim against the bicycle manufacturer for improper manufacture or design.
In each of these cases, talking to a bicycle accident lawyer about your case may help you get the compensation you deserve from each of the parties responsible so that your medical bills can be taken care of.
Cyclists Are At Risk of Severe Injury
Riding a bike can be a thrilling experience with a number of health benefits, but there are also a lot of risks taken when you put your feet to the pedals. Cyclists on the road do not have as much protection as motor vehicle drivers. Their entire bodies are exposed and the only protection they may have is a helmet covering their head.
Because of the lack of protection that a bicycle offers, cyclists who are in an accident may suffer from injuries to the brain, neck, or spinal cord. A bicyclist may also experience broken bones, cuts, and other injuries. Some of these injuries may heal with time while others may be with them forever.
While physical injury is bad enough, the financial consequences of an accident may complicate things further for a cyclist. Treating injuries such as brain damage or broken bones can be very costly and the financial pressure after an accident can be difficult to deal with alone.
The mass and force of a motor vehicle compared to the fragility and lack of safety features of a bicycle can make for a particularly bad combination. Crashes involving a vehicle and a bicycle are highly dangerous and can often result in severe injuries to the cyclist.
Causes of Bike Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 bicyclists were killed in fatal traffic crashes in 2018. The NHTSA also says that the majority of bicyclist deaths occurred in urban areas and most often between 6 PM and 9 PM.
Crashes involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle are very serious and the cyclist is most likely to be injured in one. In order to take every step possible to protect themselves on the road, it is important that cyclists are aware of common causes of bike accidents. There are several factors that can lead to a vehicle-bicycle crash, including driver negligence, rider negligence, and environmental factors.
Distracted drivers pose a serious threat to cyclists on the road. A cyclist may be paying full attention to their responsibility to ride safely and still be involved in an accident caused through the negligence of an inattentive driver.
A distracted driver may have their hands off the steering wheel for a variety of reasons such as texting while driving, adjusting their radio, eating, or grooming,. Regardless of the reason, all vehicle operators on the road have a responsibility to ride or drive safely for the sake of others, their passengers, and themselves.
Aggressive drivers may be unwilling to share the road with cyclists and they may not know or care that bicycles are treated as vehicles and have the same rights to the road as motor vehicles. They may not yield to cyclists or may not give cyclists the space they need to travel safely.
Aggressive drivers may also be disobeying the rules of the road in general. They may be speeding or driving recklessly. Dealing with an aggressive driver when you are in a motor vehicle is dangerous enough, but it is imperative that the far less protected cyclist remains aware of erratic drivers at all times to stay safe.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not safe on the road. Their reaction times and ability to pay attention on the road may be severely impaired. The NHTSA cites alcohol as having been involved in 37% of fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
Driver Didn’t See the Bicyclist
Many different types of accidents can occur when a driver simply does not see a cyclist on the road. A driver may not notice a cyclist in their blind spots or may have trouble correctly gauging speed and distance. A few different types of accidents may occur in cases like these.
- Side-Swipe: A driver may not see a cyclist in a blind spot and may hit the cyclist in the side.
- Turns at Intersections: Drivers may check both ways for other cars when turning at intersections, but neglect to check for someone on a bicycle.
- Rear-End: Drivers incorrectly gauging their own speed and distance relative to a cyclist or who do not notice a cyclist ahead of them until it is too late may be unable to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision.
- Time of Day: Low visibility on the road, particularly at night, may impact a driver’s ability to see cyclists on the road. Sunrise and sunset may also cause glare that affects driver vision and could lead to a crash.
- Dooring: Drivers in parked vehicles on the side of a street may not check to see if there are any approaching bicycles. They may open their traffic-facing door and strike a cyclist.
An inattentive rider may also be the cause of an accident. A cyclist has just as much responsibility as a motor vehicle operator to follow the rules of the road, be aware of their surroundings, and take the appropriate precautions and safety measures.
Riding at Night
Low visibility at night has a high impact on rider safety and the majority of fatal bicycle crashes occur in the evening. Drivers may not be able to see bike riders on the road at night.
Kentucky law requires bicycles ridden at night to have front and rear lights or front lights and a rear reflector to help drivers see riders when it is dark outside.
Tips for Cyclists and Drivers
While you cannot protect yourself from distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, or drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are certain steps you can take as a cyclist to make your exercise or commute safer. There are also certain steps drivers can take to make the road a safer place for cyclists.
Being cautious on the road, courteous on the highway, and understanding the law can all be helpful for a bike rider.
Have a General Understanding of Cycling Laws
Bicycles are considered vehicles in Kentucky and have all of the same responsibilities as other drivers. You must obey all traffic laws and rules of the road as well as some additional rules such as using the bike lane when possible and having the right lights and reflectors for riding at night.
Drivers should be aware that cyclists should be treated the same as any other driver on the road. They follow the same traffic laws as cars and trucks and should be afforded the same respect as any other driver.
Be Cautious in Public Spaces
Drivers should be aware of and on the lookout for cyclists on the road. While they are smaller and less noticeable from the driver’s point of view in a motor vehicle, cars pose a great danger to a cyclist.
Check your blind spot for cyclists just as you would for other cars and, when you turn at intersections, make sure that you look for cyclists as well.
Be Courteous on the Highway
Drivers should not become frustrated or aggressive when a slower-moving cyclist is ahead of them. Remember that you should treat cyclists just as you would any other vehicle and that driving closer to them won’t make them go any faster or force them to switch lanes. Driving like this only makes things less safe. Instead, wait until it is safe to pass the cyclist with the appropriate amount of room.
Bicycle Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What if I Was Not Wearing A Helmet and I Got Hit By A Car?
Kentucky does not have a mandatory bicycle helmet law. In cases where a cyclist is injured in an accident and was not wearing a helmet, they may still be eligible for compensation for their injuries depending on the determination of negligence.
Can I Ride My Bike on the Street?
Bicycles may be ridden on the street. When they are, they are considered vehicles under Kentucky law with all of the same rules and responsibilities as any other vehicle.
When there is a bike lane on the right side of the road, a cyclist should use it. Bike lanes are reserved solely for cyclists.
What If I Get Hit By Someone with No Insurance While Riding My Bike?
In some cases where a cyclist is injured by an uninsured driver, the cyclist may be able to recoup the cost of their medical bills through their auto insurance’s uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
Should I Hire an Accident and Injury Attorney?
If you’ve sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, you should definitely contact a bicycle accident attorney. Dealing with insurance companies and adjusters on your own is difficult and you may end up receiving less compensation than you are eligible for. Insurance companies will seek to minimize the amount of money they will pay out for the damages.
A bicycle accident attorney will be able to determine who is at fault in your accident, whether it is solely the driver who hit you or if any government agencies tasked with road maintenance should also be held responsible. The attorney will also be able to negotiate on your behalf with insurance agencies to get you the compensation you deserve. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will also be able to take your claims to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
At David Bryant Law, we have the experience with personal injury and bicycle accident cases that is necessary to get you back on your feet after a bicycle accident. A consultation and evaluation of your case is entirely free.
Call us at (502) 540-1221 or reach out to us online to have your questions answered.
David Bryant Law, PLLC
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A Local Kentucky Law Firm Helping Victims of Personal Injury