How are Cyclists Responsible for Road Accidents?

Riding your bike as a means of transportation has grown increasingly popular over the years. It can be especially beneficial in cities with limited parking and congested traffic, such as in New York City. With the increased popularity of cycling as a way to get around, cyclists and drivers alike must understand the cycling rules of the road.

In New York City, the death toll for cyclists has fluctuated over the last three years. As of October 2019, we’ve seen a significant spike totaling at 26 cyclist deaths. As a stark comparison to 2018’s death toll of 10, it’s essential to understand the reasoning behind cyclists’ fatalities on the road, who is liable for these collisions, and how they can be avoided. Here we go into the details to answer those questions.

  • Contact The Barnes Firm

    Fields marked with an * are required

What are Common Situations for Bike Accidents?

Many bike accidents don’t involve a vehicle at all. Most accidents happen because the cyclist loses control or crashes their bike after riding too fast. Contrary to popular belief, only a small portion of bike accidents involve another vehicle. The ones that do, however, are usually at an intersection.

Intersections are dangerous for cyclists for a number of reasons. Too often, drivers make bad judgment calls and underestimate how fast cyclists are going. It’s also easy for drivers to not see cyclists on the road because they easily blend in with the environment, or they’re blocked by larger vehicles and other obstructions. The following are some of the most common types of accidents between drivers and cyclists:

  • Stop signs – When either a driver or cyclist ignores the signal to stop and they crash, the negligent party is liable.
  • Failing to yield – When cyclists don’t yield to cars with the right of way, the cyclist is usually held liable for the crash.
  • Left turns – When motorists crash into cyclists while turning left at an intersection, the driver is usually held liable.
  • Right turns – Like left turns, the driver is usually held liable for not seeing a cyclist during these intersection crashes.

Traffic laws apply to cyclists on the road just as much as they do for motorists. Cyclists who keep this in mind and ride with caution at busy intersections are much more likely to avoid a collision.

Car stopped in the crosswalk next to a downed bicycle after a bike accident

Who’s Liable for Bike-and-Car Collisions?

In most cases, motor vehicle drivers are held liable for accidents involving a bike-and-car collision because of the limited protection given to cyclists on the road.  However, when cyclists ignore the rules of the road and ride negligently, blame can be shifted, and they’ll be the party considered at fault. The following are some of the behaviors that can hold cyclists responsible for collisions with cars:

  • Rolling through and not stopping for stop signs
  • Ignoring the designated bike lane
  • Riding in the opposite direction of traffic
  • Riding on the wrong side of the street
  • Turning sharply without a signal
  • Not yielding to traffic

Safe cycling means taking the necessary precautions to avoid accidents entirely. Cyclists must understand that when they violate and ignore right-of-way rules of the road, they can be held responsible for an accident. Although the courts tend to favor cyclists over motorists in cases involving a crash, they won’t overlook reckless cycling behavior. If a cyclist is held liable for an accident, he or she is responsible for the other party’s medical treatment and property damage. It also becomes much more difficult for a cyclist to recover compensation for their own medical expenses, injuries, or lost wages if held liable for causing an accident.

How Can Cyclists Avoid Road Accidents in New York?

Cyclists can avoid collisions with cars by riding responsibly and abiding by the same rules that motorists must follow on the road. Dressing in bright colors and utilizing reflectors is extremely helpful, so other drivers and cyclists on the road are aware of their surroundings. Cyclists should also take the bike paths over the street at any opportunity. Making these minor adjustments can make a major difference in avoiding bike-and-car collisions on the road.

cyclist riding in a bicycle lane
cyclist riding in a bicycle lane

How Can Cyclists Avoid Road Accidents in New York?

Cyclists can avoid collisions with cars by riding responsibly and abiding by the same rules that motorists must follow on the road. Dressing in bright colors and utilizing reflectors is extremely helpful, so other drivers and cyclists on the road are aware of their surroundings. Cyclists should also take the bike paths over the street at any opportunity. Making these minor adjustments can make a major difference in avoiding bike-and-car collisions on the road.

Trusted New York Cyclist Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a bike-and-car collision, having an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success will boost your case tremendously. Liability laws in New York are complex. At The Barnes Firm, we put decades of personal injury law experience into practice, and we use our expertise to create the best possible outcome for your case. We’ve helped hundreds of bicycle-related crash victims in New York and will aggressively fight for your rights and help get the most out of your award. Call us today or schedule online for your free case evaluation.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000