There always seems to be ongoing battle being waged between motorists and bicyclists on the road. It seems silly when the simple fact is that both parties are entitled to use of the road and have a right to do so safely without the worry of an accident.
In fact, there are “side of the road” rules for bicyclists, which say they should ride on the far side of the road or in a bike lane if they are not moving as fast as auto traffic. There are also rules in place for motorists to heed in order to avoid accidents with bicyclists.
Unfortunately, bicyclists tend to get into accidents with vehicles all the time. The top three types of traffic accidents involving bicyclists are being struck by a motor vehicle turning right, being brushed by a passing car or truck and hitting the opening door of a parked car.
So when these accidents do happen, who is liable?
The best answer is that it will come down to each party’s accordance with the rules of the road. For starters, the side of the road rules dictate a bicyclist is allowed to leave the side of the road or bike lane for the following reasons:
- If the bicyclists keeps up with the speed of moving traffic
- To make a left turn
- To avoid a road hazard or debris
- If the lane is too narrow to share safely with passing vehicles
So if you open your car door without looking and take out a bicyclist, you will be held liable and negligent. This is because you should not open a car door unless it is reasonably safe to do so.
The same track of thinking goes for make a right turn.
When a motorist is making a right turn, they are crossing a bicyclist’s path whether or not that cyclist is in a traffic lane or in a bike lane. Because it is a basic rule of the road that a vehicle should not make a turn unless it is safe to do so, this type of accident would mean the motorists is liable.
When it comes to passing bicyclists on the road it is a motorist’s duty to wait until it is safe to pass. That means slowing down or even stopping before trying to make your way around a bicyclist. Failure to do so could mean you end up liable in a traffic accident involving a bicyclist.
Now, it also goes without saying that a bicyclist not minding the rules of the road can be held liable for an accident. If they ride recklessly and do not heed the side of the road rules they can also end up responsible.
At the end of the day, if you or a loved one were involved in a bicycle vs. car accident, you need to hire a lawyer from Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A., in New Jersey. These lawyers stand up for the rights of injured bicyclists and thoroughly investigate your accident to find the responsible party.
They will make sure you are in the best hands and build a strong case to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact them today for a free initial consultation by calling 866-523-3121.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.