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Can a Bicyclist Be Liable for a Traffic Accident?

Can a Bicyclist Be Liable for a Traffic Accident?

When most people imagine bicycle accidents, they immediately think about motorists and how they’re responsible for crashing into bicycles. But are drivers of motor vehicles responsible for bicycle accidents 100% of the time? Is it wrong to assume that drivers are always on the hook for bicycle accidents?

The relationship between bicyclists and drivers can be described as complicated. Drivers can get annoyed with bicyclists, especially when they’re riding in front of a car and going a lot slower. Meanwhile, bicyclists can feel like they’re life is being threatened by motorists each time they hit the road. After all, motorists can be impatient and careless when it comes to bicyclists.

Following the Same Rules of the Road

There are a lot of people who support bicycle riding, whether it’s in the city, the suburbs, or the mountains. Not only is it a healthy form of exercise, but it’s a great alternative form of transportation that saves fuel, reduces emissions, and helps protect the environment.

Bicyclists, however, have duties. They are required to follow the same traffic laws as motorists. This means they have to signal when they turn, they have to stop at stop signs and they must come to a stop at red lights. They must yield to pedestrians and at night, they’re supposed to use their lights. But like drivers, bicyclists are only human so they too can make mistakes.

The question is, “If a bicyclist makes a mistake and breaks a traffic law and causes a traffic accident, can they be held liable for the accident?” In a word, “yes” and this is something that people don’t think about much. Usually, our minds automatically go to motorists and we assume they always pick up the tab in a bicycle accident, but this is not always the case.

When a Bicyclist is At-Fault

Suppose a bicyclist was late to work, so he ran through a stop sign and was struck by a car that had the right of way. In this case, the bicyclist was clearly at-fault for the accident. Or, in another scenario, a bicyclist runs through a red light and causes a collision. In both examples, the bicyclist clearly violated a traffic law and caused an accident.

Next: After a Car Accident

Essentially, if a bicyclist breaks a traffic law and causes a collision, they can be held liable for any damages suffered by the motorists and passengers involved in the crash. If you have questions about legal liability in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today.


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