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Any cyclist knows that sharing the roadway with motor vehicles can be dangerous. Despite taking every precaution, such as wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and wearing appropriate attire, accidents happen. If a driver caused your injuries and is at fault, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and loss of past and future earnings. Below, we will discuss some common causes of accidents involving cyclists and the negligent acts of others that may contribute to these accidents.
There are many causes of bicycle accidents. Some accidents and injuries are due to rider error, while others are caused by motorists, objects in the roadway, and distractions. One of the most dangerous types of accidents that cause the most serious injuries involve motor vehicles.
Bicycle Accidents Caused by Motor Vehicles and Distracted Drivers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that thirty percent of all bicycle accidents occur with a motor vehicle. One of the main reasons for motor vehicle accidents is due to distracted drivers.
At any given time, if you pay attention to drivers as they pass by, you will see them talking on cell phones, eating, or playing with the radio. One of the most dangerous activities displayed by motorists is texting while driving. Studies have shown that one text will take a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds. Taking your eyes off the road for any length of time can cause major injuries and fatalities, but five seconds is an especially extreme amount of time when it comes to an unprotected cyclist. Close your eyes, count to five slowly: Doing so demonstrates just how long five seconds really is. One text could mean the difference between life or death for a cyclist. Injuries caused by distractions are injuries that should never happen, as all drivers are required to pay careful attention to the roadway. As a result, if a distracted driver causes an accident with a cyclist, the driver will be legally at fault and the cyclist may be eligible for financial compensation. While distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, it is not the only cause of collisions with cyclists.
Injuries to Cyclist due to Motorists Speeding and Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
Motorists can be at fault in other ways. For example, in most residential neighborhoods in New Jersey, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Motorists often disobey the posted speed limit and, in doing so, they demonstrate a lack of regard for the well-being of others. A driver has a responsibility to obey all traffic laws for his own safety, as well as for the safety of others on the roadway. Going over the speed limit can be considered reckless and careless in both civil and criminal court. If the motorist is taken to civil court, he or she would be at fault for something called operator liability. Similarly, drunk driving is yet another way in which drivers display reckless and careless behavior that may cause accidents and injury to cyclists.
Drunk Drivers Responsible For Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries
Those that drive impaired or drink and drive are deemed to be operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner. Anyone who drives impaired and causes injury to another will be liable for the injuries caused to another person because the court recognizes that, but for the drunk driving, there would be no injury. For example, if you are riding your bicycle in the bike lane and a drunk driver swerves into your lane and hurts you, they are responsible. Evidence that the driver was impaired will serve as proof in a civil claim that the driver is at fault for your injuries and financial losses.
In the drunk driving example, it is easy to see how the driver would be responsible, but not all accidents involving cyclists are as egregious. Sometimes, they can be caused by simple mistakes made by drivers. Often, drivers are hurrying from place to place and do not want to be slowed down by a bicyclist. Sometimes, an accident is caused by something as simple as not giving a cyclist enough space or room to travel. Regardless, a driver is responsible if he or she fails to drive with reasonable care, thereby causing an accident.
Causes of Bike Accidents Not Involving Motor Vehicles
While motor vehicle accidents account for serious injuries to cyclists, they are not the only cause of accidents or injuries to cyclists. There can be any number of reasons for cyclist accidents. For example, another cause of cyclist accidents is poor roadway conditions. Potholes, loose or uneven pavement or objects in the roadway can cause cyclists to lose balance and fall. Missing road signs or faulty signals can be to blame as well. In other cases, the accident may have been caused by a faulty bicycle or part, meaning the manufacturer caused the bike to malfunction.
Whatever the reason for the injury, if you believe someone else is at fault, you should seek legal assistance. Speaking with our experienced attorneys will help you determine the potential legal responsibility of another party and whether you may be entitled to a recovery. While financial compensation cannot make up for the injuries suffered by you or a loved one, it can make a difference in your medical recovery and financial stability.
Contact Our Mercer County Injury Attorneys Today if Injured in a Bicycle Accident
There are many ways a bicycle accident can occur, and basically all of them can be devastating. If you or a loved one have suffered injury in a bike-related accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson and discuss the particular details of your accident.