Bicycling is a popular sport for many Virginians, yet there are many potential risks that come from sharing the road with motor vehicles. Virginia has strict bicycle laws for this very reason. To keep bicyclists safe, Virginia law enforces regulations and general guidelines regarding bicycling on public roadways. These laws define the rights and duties of both bicyclists and others with whom they share the road. According to Virginia Bicycle Law, a bicyclist in Virginia has the same rights, responsibilities and duties that are applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle.
There are also regulations for appropriate use of bicycle equipment. All bicyclists are required to have lights on the front of the bike, and red reflectors on the rear that will make them visible after dusk. Nationally, helmet laws vary by state. In Virginia, bicyclists are not required to wear helmets, however, in some localities it is mandatory for bicyclists under the age of 14 to wear a helmet.
Yet even with strict laws regulating bicycling in Virginia, accidents still occur. In 2011, there were 730 injuries to bicyclists on public roadways. This number is up from previous years. A total of 6 fatalities were reported in 2011, and even though this number was reduced by half from previous years, the total number of injuries and deaths reveal an ongoing problem.
Accidents happen even when bicyclists obey all regulations, traffic signs, signals and lights. Roadway hazards, weather conditions and distracted motorists or bicyclists are all contributors to the number of accidents and fatalities. Whether it is negligence on behalf of the cyclist or the driver, it’s not always easy to identify who is legally at fault or infracting the law.
Since both the driver and bicyclist are held accountable to act reasonably and within state regulations, it may be more difficult to receive compensation for damages from a biking accident. By working with an attorney that is experienced in bicycle accident litigation you can better understand and pursue your legal rights. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident, please contact Emroch & Kiduff, an experienced personal injury law firm.