We hear the slogan “Share the Road.” But many car and truck drivers don’t heed that call. Recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that each year bicyclists represent:
- Two percent of all traffic fatalities
- Two percent of all accident injuries
- More than 1,100 deaths
- More than 52,000 injuries
Americans increasingly use bicycles for exercise, commuting to work or school, or recreation. Drivers and bicyclists, in turn, should look out for increasing dangers.
Common Causes of Collisions Between Cars and Bicycles
A bicyclist can sustain injuries in many different scenarios, but these seem the most common:
- The biker hit an opening car door (driver- or passenger-side) while riding by
- The driver turned right as the bicyclist rode forward
- The motorist turned left at an unmarked or uncontrolled intersection, and into an oncoming cyclist
- The cyclist crashed because of road hazards such as poor drainage, design, maintenance, debris, potholes, lighting, etc. (which may not prove hazardous to motor vehicles, but present serious dangers to bicyclists)
- The motorist or biker failed to stop at a stoplight or stop sign
- The car or bicycle passed on the right
- The bicyclist or driver didn’t pay attention or was distracted
- A driver intentionally disregarded a biker’s right-of-way or path-of-travel
- Drugs or alcohol impaired a driver
Bicycles Are Vehicles
Bikes are vehicles and cyclists must obey the rules of the road. Likewise, bikers have the same right to use roadways as any driver. They are entitled to the same respect, safety, and protection as any car driver, and carry the same responsibilities. Virginia law is clear about this — a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a vehicle driver.
A bicyclist who caused an accident or was partially at fault may limit the ability to recover damages against the car driver. Therefore, bicyclists must know and follow motor vehicle laws, rules, regulations, and other safety requirements and suggestions. The Virginia Department of Transportation has an excellent webpage devoted to bicycle laws and safety tips.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
When vehicles cause bike accidents (whether on the street, sidewalk, bike lane, or parking lot), Virginia law may entitle bicyclists to recover damages for their injuries. Of course, every bicycle accident case differs. If the driver is negligent, a bicyclist may recover compensation for physical injuries, financial losses, and emotional pain. Compensation may include:
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Medical bills (doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation, homecare, assistance, medical appliances, medication, and equipment)
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
An experienced attorney can help determine your case’s merits and calculate your damages.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Call an Experienced Richmond, Virginia, Personal Injury Attorney Today for Help
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident that a driver’s negligence caused, talk to an attorney as soon as you can. At Emroch & Kilduff, we work hard to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve and are not afraid to take on large insurance companies in court, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Richmond, call us today at (804) 358-1568 or send us an email through our online contact form.