Car accidents that involve bicycles can be devastating. The cyclist can suffer extensive injuries, and usually, the driver of the automobile shares most of the blame. The driver’s involvement is often easy to prove, with plenty of witnesses attesting to who was at fault and how the accident occurred.

However, if you are the victim of a car and bicycle accident, there can be other parties who are also indirectly responsible. Here’s what you need to know about bike accident liability and how you can receive proper compensation for your injuries.

Cyclists Can Share Responsibility

When cyclists are on the road, they share the rules of the road. They must adhere to proper right of way and stay in the correct lane when crossing or turning at intersections. Accidents at intersections are the most common type of accident because it’s where cars and cyclists make the most mistakes.

If you and the car both made mistakes that resulted in the collision, the court will divide fault between you. You can still get partial compensation for your injuries, and with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can lower your own liability as much as possible. Common reasons why cyclists end up sharing some liability include:

  • Riding on the wrong side of the road. Bikes are required to go with same-direction traffic. If you had the right of way but were riding on the wrong side of the road when struck, the driver has a defense of not properly seeing you, as you were coming from an unexpected direction.
  • Misjudging the speed of oncoming cars. You might try to cross an intersection when oncoming traffic has the right of way, but you did not accurately judge how long it would take you to clear the intersection.
  • Riding at night without lights or reflectors to increase visibility. You might follow all the rules of the road, but if cars can’t see you, they can’t respond with the appropriate level of caution.
Fortunately, even if you have some liability, you can still get compensation from the driver, especially if your injuries are severe. Cyclist injuries are usually serious in comparison to the driver, and this factor is taken into account when determining your compensation. Other parties can also share liability.

Cities and Towns Contribute Fault

Sometimes, despite best efforts on the part of both the driver and the cyclist, accidents occur because of circumstances outside of either person’s control. Road hazards can cause a bike to veer out of control into the path of an oncoming car. If the community is directly responsible for the road hazard, your suit can include the city or town in the list of defendants.

For example, it is the city’s job to properly maintain roads. If the road you are riding on has a large pothole that upends your bike or causes you to stop so suddenly the car behind you cannot stop in time, fault for the accident may lie at least in part with the city.

Adverse road conditions and thoughtlessly placed hazards are also the responsibility of the city. Items placed or stored in bike lanes (like temporary road signs), missing or dangerous grates from storm drains, and insufficient warning signs for uneven pavement are all hazards that can contribute to injury-causing accidents.

Drivers Take Full Responsibility

Of course, there are plenty of cases when the driver is fully at fault for your accident. The three most common scenarios where the driver is the main and only liable party are:

  1. Attempting a left-hand turn into an on-coming cyclist. The cyclist, when heading straight through an intersection, has the right away. Usually, the driver misjudges how long it will take the cyclist to cross or the driver does not properly look to see if all cars and bikes have cleared the intersection before making the turn.
  2. Starting a right-hand turn when a cyclist is in the bike lane or on shoulder of the road. The car passes the cyclist, and then turns across the path of the cyclist. This is why a driver must always head check before turning right.
  3. Distracted driving. A driver may collide with a cyclist because the driver is texting, applying make-up, or using the GPS. Cyclists are smaller and often harder to notice with an occasional flick of the eye to the road when the driver’s attentions are divided.
You can do your best to prove liability in these cases by reaching out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Injuries sometimes take time to appear, and if you wait too long to seek representation, it can be more difficult to prove your injuries were caused by your accident. Also, when you act quickly, you reduce the risk of exceeding the statute of limitations.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a cycling accident with another vehicle, contact the D Chadwick Calvert Law Office for more information about seeking compensation.