Bike lanes are an essential part of any city’s infrastructure, providing a space for cyclists to ride safely and comfortably. These lanes offer a level of protection for bike riders from motor vehicles, making it easier for them to navigate the city.
However, not all drivers understand how to drive around or interact with bike lanes, which can lead to confusion, risky situations, and, ultimately, collisions. Read on to explore the relationship between bike lanes, personal injury liability, and how a bike accident attorney at Great West Injury Law can help you navigate these tricky situations.
Bike Accident Liability and Bike Lanes
According to a study by the Transportation Research Board, the presence of bike lanes and bike-safety infrastructure correlates with a lower risk of accidents for cyclists. Even so, accidents can happen anywhere, and if a cyclist suffers damages in an accident with a car, truck, or even another cyclist, the question of liability will inevitably arise. Like any personal injury case, determining liability depends on the unique circumstances of the accident.
Impact of Bike Lanes on Insurance Claims
The availability of bike lanes can indeed play a role in determining liability. If a bike accident occurs within a designated bike lane, there are generally more legal protections in place for the cyclist. These protections can make it easier for the cyclist to prove the other road user was at fault in the event of an accident and may increase the chances of a successful insurance claim.
For example, if a bike lane is present and the cyclist is riding within it, and another vehicle or cyclist fails to follow proper traffic laws or bike lane etiquette, the liability for the accident is likely to fall on the negligent driver of the other vehicle or the other cyclist.
Conversely, if a bike accident occurs outside of a designated bike lane, there may be more challenges involved in proving they were at fault. This is particularly true if there is no clear delineation between bike and car traffic or if the bike accident occurs in a shared lane.
Additionally, if a bike lane is present and available but isn’t being used by the cyclist at the time of a crash, that cyclist might end up shouldering some of the fault for the accident; a court could view intentionally avoiding an available bike lane as a reckless choice.
Thus, the presence or absence of bike lanes can have a significant impact on the outcome of a bike accident case. Cyclists should take note of the location of bike lanes and be mindful of their surroundings when riding in areas without designated bike lanes. If a cyclist is involved in a bike accident, they should thoroughly document the location of the accident and note whether it occurred within a bike lane or outside of one, and how the negligent parties acted in relation to the bike lane.
Additionally, it’s essential to seek legal advice from a bike accident lawyer with experience handling bike accident cases, like those at Great West Injury Law. A skilled lawyer can help assess the specific details of a case and determine the best course of action for pursuing compensation.
How Cyclists Can Protect Themselves
While the availability of bike lanes plays a critical role in bike accident liability, there are steps that cyclists can take to protect themselves. These include:
- Following traffic laws and staying alert while riding: This means stopping at stop signs and red lights, using hand signals for turns, and keeping an eye out for cars, pedestrians, and other hazards on the road.
- Wearing a helmet and other protective gear: Helmets are essential for preventing head injuries in the event of an accident, but other protective gear like gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads can also help reduce the risk of injury.
- Using lights and reflective clothing to make themselves more visible to drivers: This should include front and rear lights on the bike itself, as well as reflective clothing and accessories.
- Advocating for better bike infrastructure in their communities: Cyclists can work with local advocacy groups or attend city council meetings to push for better bike lanes, signage, and other infrastructure that will make it safer and easier to bike in their communities. Additionally, reporting any issues with existing bike lanes can help ensure that they remain safe for cyclists.
By following these steps, cyclists can help protect themselves and reduce the risk of being involved in a bike accident. In the event of an accident, contact a personal injury attorney who can help determine liability and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Great West Injury Law, Your Bike Accident Experts
Bike lane infrastructure plays a crucial role in promoting cyclist safety and reducing bike accidents, so it’s worth noting that the presence and availability of bike lanes can also impact liability in the event of an accident. As more cities invest in bike infrastructure, it’s key to advocate for safer bike lanes and better protection for cyclists.
And if the worst case scenario happens to you while biking, reach out to Great West Injury Law for a free consultation on your case.