Biking is a great way of getting around. Not only is it good exercise, it’s also good for the environment. The popularity of biking as a primary mode of transportation has been growing across the U.S. in recent years. In Los Angeles, upgrades to the city’s bike infrastructure as well as its bikeshare program have made it an increasingly bike-friendly city.
However, incidents of bicycle crashes are also high, and crashes on a bicycle more often result in serious injury or death than accidents in a car. In 2019, there were 1,953 reported collisions between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, 18 of which were fatal.
If you get hit by a car while riding your bicycle, what’s your recourse?
The answer depends on whose fault the accident was:
The driver was at fault.
If the driver’s recklessness caused the accident, the cyclist should be able to recover damages for their injuries. Examples of driver recklessness include:
- Running a red light
- Driving in the bike lane
To demonstrate driver negligence, the cyclist often needs to use eyewitness accounts and other evidence to prove their case. In such instances, it is the cyclist’s responsibility to prove their injuries are the driver’s fault.
However, in some cases, parallel traffic violations can create a situation known as “negligence per se”. For example, if a driver was caught speeding at the time the accident with the cyclist took place, this evidence of speeding serves as evidence of negligence. In this case, it is the driver’s responsibility to prove they didn’t cause the cyclist’s injuries.
The cyclist was at fault.
If the cyclist’s recklessness caused or contributed to the accident, it may not be possible for them to recover damages for their injuries. Examples of cyclist recklessness include:
- Riding against traffic on a one-way street
- Running a red light
- Turning into traffic without warning
In addition, if the cyclist’s negligence caused someone else’s injuries, they may be held responsible for those injuries as well.
It’s important to understand your rights in the event of a bicycle collision. If you’ve been involved in such an accident, a personal injury lawyer who focuses on bicycle injuries can be an enormously valuable resource in helping you move forward.