Richmond Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Bicycle Accident lawyer in Richmond Virginia

Bicycling is a low-impact form of exercise that lends itself to all ages. Great for cardiac health, cycling is gentle on the joints, strengthens muscles and burns 650 calories an hour. Cyclists often find this pastime turning into a passion when they begin to experience improved balance and coordination, a trimmer waistline and a renewed lease on life.

Despite all of the advantages, cycling can sometimes be a dangerous pastime, even in a bike-friendly city like Richmond. Virginia has strict rules for both motorists and cyclists and is one of 32 states with safe passing laws in place. This mandate is designed to ensure motor vehicles allow sufficient space when passing a bicycle to prevent a sideswiping accident.

Accidents Shouldn’t Happen—But When They Do…

Even the most experienced and conscientious cyclist is vulnerable when pedal-pushing on the streets of Richmond, and especially when navigating some of our dangerous intersections. There are important steps anyone should take immediately following a bicycle accident.

First and foremost, everyone involved in an accident should have a medical evaluation. Not every injury will be obvious at first glance. The unexpected nature of a bicycle accident can send pain-masking adrenaline coursing through the body.

Safety first is always the best rule to follow. Move to a secure location, and when safe to do so:

  • Contact law enforcement and file an accident report
  • Gather insurance information for all motor vehicles involved in the incident
  • Collect contact information for any witnesses
  • If possible, take pictures of the area, the position of all vehicles at the time of impact, the damage to the bike, traffic signs, road debris, skid marks

It is also a good idea to preserve any potential evidence. Leave the bicycle in its post-accident condition, and bag the clothing and shoes worn at the time of the collision.

A Lack of Protection Results in Serious Injuries

With no real protection, bicycle accident injuries often result in serious physical injury and catastrophic financial hardship. Some of the injuries our bike accident clients have suffered include:

  • Head trauma
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neurological damage
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Fractures
  • Sprains, strains, and lacerations
  • Wrongful death
  • Dislocations

Contributing Factors

According to 2018 data provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 593 bike riders in the Commonwealth were injured on our roadways last year. There are various contributing factors to consider when determining the cause of a bicycle accident.

Collisions With Motor Vehicles Can Happen When:

  • Drivers fail to check blind spots
  • Drivers are distracted
  • A car turns right in front of a bicyclist (right-hook accident)
  • A left turning car does not yield to a cyclist (left-hook accident)
  • A car door is opened directly in front of a cyclist (dooring)
  • A motor vehicle driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Car drivers fail to obey traffic signs and signals
  • Drivers pull out from driveways, parking lots, or side streets without looking

Bicycle Defects

Not all cycling accidents are the result of negligence or misjudgment. Manufacturing defects or worn out parts can be at the root of a cycling accident. Some examples include:

  • Defective brakes
  • Bad tires
  • Problems with design or materials
  • Faulty chains

Aging Infrastructure, Environmental Conditions, and Road Defects

It is possible for any of the following conditions to play a part in a bicycle accident:

  • Poor visibility due to heavy rain, fog, or overgrown vegetation
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Broken traffic signals or missing signs
  • Potholes
  • Uneven pavement
  • Debris in the road
  • Broken guardrails

Minimize the Risks

Be proactive, and protect yourself by practicing some basic safety measures. Whether you are a daily bicycle commuter, an exercise enthusiast, or just out for a leisurely ride it is wise to:

  • Be visible, choose bright and reflective clothing
  • Stay focused and aware of your surroundings
  • Keep your bike in excellent condition

Insurance claim adjusters will attempt to minimize their financial liability in a bicycle accident claim in several ways. They will contact the victim, sometimes even at the scene of the incident, and attempt to solicit a statement. Anything a victim says may negatively impact a potential case. It is also possible that they will offer a quick financial settlement. Do not allow an insurance company to summarily decide the value of your loss. The legal staff at Emroch & Kilduff understands how to thoroughly investigate every aspect of a bicycle injury accident, to make sure any settlement compensates our client for immediate and long-term needs. We will fight aggressively for fair and just compensation.

Richmond Cyclists Have Responsibilities and Rights

Bicyclists have rights and responsibilities, just like any other user of Virginia’s roads. “Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles and shall have the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle unless a provision clearly indicates otherwise.” (Virginia Department of Transportation)

A Cyclist in Virginia has a responsibility to:

  • Pass safely
  • Use caution when turning
  • Use correct hand signals when turning
  • Observe speed limits and traffic signals
  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Use lights and reflectors at night

A bicyclist in Richmond has a right:

  • To ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road
  • To use the full lane if the road is too narrow to share
  • To pass on either the right or the left
  • To ride two abreast as long as it does not hinder the flow of traffic
  • To expect a motor vehicle to afford a three-foot clearance before they pass

The personal injury attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff believe that cyclists who are injured, through no fault of their own, are entitled to fair compensation. Holding those with legal liability financially accountable often requires proving they acted with negligence. In Virginia, this can be a complicated process, because of rules that limit compensation when the injured person is found to be partially at fault. Our team of award-winning litigators will fight tirelessly for victims and their family members to ensure the best possible financial recovery. Contact our Richmond office at (804) 358-1568.

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