Bicycles are small and lightweight forms of transportation compared to the vehicles they share the roadways with that are hundreds of times their size and weight. While motor vehicles have safety devices such as airbags and seat belts, bicyclists have no such protection. That means that any contact between a bicycle and another vehicle has the potential to result in serious injury for the bicycle rider.
As such, it is essential for anyone involved in a bicycle accident to consult an experienced Bardstown bicycle accident lawyer to learn about their rights, responsibilities and the potential for remedies. An experienced injury attorney can then help guide the injured party through the claims process and ensure they know what to expect each step of the way.
Causes of Bike Accidents
Most serious bicycle accidents involve a conflict with one or more motor vehicles. Drivers of cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles often do not follow the rules of the road when it comes to yielding the proper right of way to bicyclists or allotting adequate space for bicycles in traffic. Some of the practices that can lead to accidents with bicycles are motorists:
- Pulling into a road or driveway without checking for bicycles
- Running a stop sign or stoplight
- Driving too closely to a bicyclist
- Turning in front of a bicycle
An experienced Bardstown bicycle accident attorney can assist in recovering damages for any possible cause of a bicycle accident.
Kentucky Bicycle Laws
Under state law, bicycles are defined as vehicles with the same right to use the roadways as other motor vehicles such as cars. However, bicyclists are granted the right to ride in some ways that are not permitted other vehicles. Specifically, bicycles may:
- Travel on the shoulder of the highway
- Ride two abreast in a single lane
- Forego the use of bike lanes if they are blocked or unsafe
Bicyclists over the age of 16 are not required to wear helmets. In addition, although bikes are generally supposed to operate in the far-right section of a lane, they may move to the center or left of the lane if executing a turn or if hazards, road width or other safety concerns make it unwise to stay in the far right of the lane.
Motorists are required to take certain precautions when driving around bicycles. If broken by these motorists, a Bardstown bicycle accident attorney can help an individual efficiently prosecute the case. These precautions include:
- Before passing a bicyclist, the driver of a motorized vehicle must check the lane to see if debris on the pavement might cause the bike rider to move to the middle of the lane
- A motorist should pass a bicyclist only if it can be done safely
- A motorist must allow at least three feet of clearance between the motor vehicle’s outside rear view mirrors and the bicyclist
- If turning right after passing a bicyclist, a motorist should allow space so that the bicyclist is not cut off while the motor vehicles makes the turn
- The driver of a motor vehicle should check behind for bicyclists before opening vehicle doors
- Motorists should avoid using high beams at night in proximity to bicyclists to not temporarily blind them
Contacting a Lawyer
Because the laws pertaining to motorists’ responsibilities with respect to bicyclists are so specialized, it is crucial for anyone involved in a bicycle accident to consult with a Bardstown bicycle accident attorney with knowledge of the applicable regulations and laws and how they affect the circumstances of a case.
Prompt action could help recover damages including payment for medical expenses, damage to the bicycle, compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.