Virginia’s beautiful scenery makes bicycling a great hobby for people who spend time in the state. More and more, people are even commuting to school or work on their bikes. Unfortunately, careless drivers put all cyclists at risk of serious injuries. According to Department of Motor Vehicle statistics, 2014 saw 745 collisions in Virginia.
The following discusses common forms of driver negligence that can lead to crashes.
The Driver Neglects to Look in the Mirror When Backing Up
Riding a bike past a driveway or parking lot is a dangerous experience. Many drivers will pull out of their parking spaces or driveways without looking over their shoulders or in their rearview mirrors. This failure prevents them from seeing the bicyclists crossing their paths. Instead they back into the cyclists. A driver who does not look first is probably negligent and can bear liability for the crash.
The Driver Refuses to Yield
Bicyclists must follow the same rules as passenger vehicles—and they also have the same rights. Sometimes, drivers do not think they need to yield to a bicyclist, and they pull directly in front of the cyclist or drive right into one.
Sometimes, drivers fail to yield simply because they are looking for cars and not bicyclists. This failure to notice a cyclist, however, can also qualify as negligence, making the driver legally liable for the collision.
The Driver Opens the Door as a Bicyclist Approaches
A driver who parks a car parallel to the road should look to make sure no bicyclists are coming. If one is, then the driver should wait for the cyclist to pass before opening the door.
Unfortunately, inattentive drivers usually glance into their mirrors and check for cars—if they even do that. Rather than wait for a cyclist to pass, they open the door to exit the vehicle. A cyclist, fast approaching, often cannot swerve to avoid a collision, but instead rides straight into the open door.
After striking the door, the cyclist might vault over the top and land on the ground, suffering abrasions, cuts, broken bones, and a head injury. A cyclist who can swerve to avoid the door might end up colliding with cars in the lane—and this accident is also the fault of the driver who opened the door without looking.
The Driver Gets Behind the Wheel While Intoxicated
Impaired drivers are even less aware of bicyclists, so they can easily drive right into them or collide while making a turn. Drunk driving is a serious problem in Virginia, and bicyclists can suffer the full brunt of any collision.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you suffered a collision while riding a bicycle, contact a bicycle accident lawyer now. Virginia law might entitle you to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. To speak with a lawyer at Emroch & Kilduff, please call (804) 358-1568 or send us an online message.