Who Has the Right of Way in an Accident Between a Bicycle and a Car?

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A closeup of a bicycle laying in front of a car after being struck in an accident.

Bicycles are regarded by law as “vehicles,” much like cars and trucks. Therefore, the ability to ride on roadways comes with the responsibility to comply with traffic laws. Bicyclists should never ride carelessly or disregard traffic restrictions, but vehicle drivers should always yield to them. Although many people may believe that the bicyclist always has the right of way, this is not always the case. Determining fault in an accident involving a car and a bicycle can be tricky and may depend on multiple factors.

Who’s at Fault in a Bike and Car Accident?

In a collision between an automobile and a bicycle, it is not entirely obvious who had the right of way. Bicycles and vehicles frequently collide because the driver of the car fails to yield, which leads to the accident. However, the cyclists’ negligence may have caused or contributed to the accident. Contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,” for a free case evaluation if you or someone you care about was hurt while bicycling or if you were a motorist involved in a bicycle and car accident. There is no cost or obligation for your initial consultation. We’ll be delighted to respond to your inquiries and provide your options for seeking compensation. If we accept your case, there will be no fee unless we prevail.

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents

Road accident rates can be decreased by both motorists and cyclists working together. Everyone needs to be aware of the laws and regulations governing bicycles, pedestrians, and their interactions with other vehicles before anything else. You should always yield to cyclists, even if you believe a rider is violating a cycling law. If there is a designated bike lane, riders should use it. They should stay to the right if they decide to bike on a road if it isn’t.

Bicyclists are permitted to ride on the sidewalk but must give way to pedestrians. Bicyclists utilizing a crosswalk should adhere to all traffic regulations, like pedestrians. Bikers should wait until they can safely cross without blocking the path of pedestrians when pedestrians are also in the crosswalk and should yield to them.

Drivers of vehicles must always yield to pedestrians using the crossing. Even when you have the light, go cautiously through crosswalks if there are adjacent cyclists or pedestrians. The driver of the car must yield to the cyclist if they are both at a four-way stop.

Everyone can ride a bicycle safely by first learning the traffic laws. But not every bike-car collision is the result of a rule violation. Sometimes, weather or road conditions, poor visibility, faulty safety equipment, or a momentary mistake cause or worsen collisions. Here are some actions you can take to keep yourself safe while biking:

  • Especially if you ride at night, make every effort to be seen. Purchase reflective apparel or decorate your bike, helmet, shoes, and clothing with reflective tape or patches.
  • North Carolina law requires cyclists to wear a white front headlight visible from 300 feet away, a rear red reflector, and either a light or reflective clothing visible from 300 feet away when riding at night.
  • Ensure your bike is operating well and inspect it thoroughly before riding. Before using it again, correct everything that isn’t working. Problems with tires, chains, brakes, and other parts can cause collisions.
  • Never go without a helmet. For riders under the age of 16, it is mandated by law, but you should be concerned about preventing head injuries at all times. Concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and other brain traumas are less likely when a helmet is worn. Serious injuries of this nature might result in incapacity or permanent impairment.
  • Wear sneakers, or at the very least, pick a pair of footwear that is difficult to remove. To prevent your foot from slipping off the pedal at the wrong time, you should avoid wearing flip-flops, slip-on shoes, and bare feet while operating a vehicle.
  • Don’t text and ride like you wouldn’t text and drive. Additionally, keep your headphones off so you can hear incoming vehicles.
  • If feasible, only cross at junctions (some rural areas may have long stretches of road without any intersections).
  • Avoid making risky maneuvers that can surprise other drivers, such as entering a road from between two parked cars.
  • “Passing on your right!” If there are any pedestrians in your path, move slowly and announce your intentions out loud to alert them.
  • Observe all traffic regulations, and drive more slowly on days with poor visibility, such as gloomy or foggy ones. Keep in mind that if it is harder for you to see, it will also be more difficult for drivers to see you. You might think about turning on your headlights and taillights in these circumstances.

What to Do If You Are in An Accident

If you are in a bicycle accident with a car, call 911 right away to report it. If you subsequently discover that you have injuries or that your bike has more damage than you initially believed, this will help safeguard your legal rights. Even if you feel well, it’s a good idea to be checked by a healthcare professional because not all injuries immediately result in pain and symptoms.

However, a cyclist struck by a car may suffer serious injuries, and some cyclists incur medical bills and missed wages totaling more than $10,000. If this occurs to you, you might be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance if they have liability coverage. You can acquire proof to back up your claims and discuss your legal options with the aid of a bicycle lawyer.

Call Tatum & Atkinson, the Heavy Hitters if You Were in an Accident

After a bicycle accident, you can be dealing with hefty medical expenses, lost time at work, and discomfort from your injuries, whether physical or mental. Although it’s easy to feel angry, anxious, or powerless, you have more options than you realize. Speak with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for compensation. Get in touch with Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ today by calling (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online.