Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Flynn Law Firm: Because Results Matter.
There is a 7:1 size differential between cars and bicycles. So, when a car collides with a bicycle, the injuries can be devastating. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you assert a claim or file a lawsuit over your injuries.
A major problem with bicycle accidents is that bicyclists have little physical protection when it comes to riding. What does this mean for bicyclists, pedestrians, or drivers? When cars do not obey the rules of the road, wrongful death or traumatic injuries can result.
If you are riding a bicycle and hit by a car, truck, or commercial vehicle, you or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation. If a driver fails to pay attention and hits a cyclist, the driver is at fault – period. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death is caused, somewhat regularly, by negligent, inattentive motorists. Trucking accidents often involve bicycles.
For a free legal consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer, call 503-303-0600
What are the most common motor vehicle offenses when it comes to bike accidents?
Unfortunately, bike accidents are often caused by:
- Alcohol or drug intoxication while driving.
- Reckless driving, whether speeding or ignoring traffic signals and signs
- Failure to stop at a traffic light or stop signal—in Portland, most bicycle accidents occur at intersections.
- Distracted by technology while driving.
- Failure to stop before turning right at a red light.
- Failure to yield the right of way or yield in an intersection.
Flynn Law Firm will take a detail oriented approach to your claim. If you are hit by a car, you should be entitled to financial compensation as a result of your injuries. While an insurance company may try to offer you a small settlement for a bicycle accident, a good bike accident lawyer will help you deal with insurance companies, help you get the medical treatment you need, and understand all of your options in a case.
Many cities have “bike boxes” and other street markings which are meant to help keep cyclists safe. These are designed to prevent collisions between cyclists using bike lanes and motorists making right turns. Here’s how they work:
- A bike box is a green pavement marking installed at intersections to reduce conflicts between people bicycling and driving. It is a green box on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside. It includes green bicycle lanes approaching and leading from the box.
- When the light is red, bicyclists should stop inside the green box. (Motorists must stop at the white line behind the box.)
Bicyclists can turn right on a red light at bike box intersections; drivers cannot.
- Bicyclists have the right of way on a green light.
The main goal is to prevent collisions between people in cars turning right and people on bikes going straight by increasing visibility and awareness. At a red light, people biking are more visible to people driving by being in front of them. At a green light, the green bike lane through the intersection reminds motorists and cyclists to watch for each other.
The bike box design also allows people bicycling to clear the intersection quickly by moving forward as a group. This may reduce the amount of time a person driving will need to wait to turn right, compared with a standard intersection where people on bikes wait (and move forward on the green) single-file in the bike lane.
If you are a cyclist hit by a car or commercial vehicle in a “bike box” or other area marked as a designated cyclist area, the motorist is likely at fault, and you should retain a lawyer as soon as possible.
Other Bicycle Safety Improvements.
Again, the majority of crashes occur at intersections. Traffic engineers have long focused on intersection safety in a number of ways. Many of the bicycle boulevard crossings of collector streets have some type of safety mechanism. Other improvements, including curb extensions (which minimize the crossing distance, allow cyclists to take advantage of smaller gaps in traffic, and make cyclists more visible to motorists), to median refuges (which allow cyclists to cross one direction of traffic at a time), to innovations such as a center-left-turn lane for bicycles only (which also allows cyclists to cross one direction of traffic at a time at an off-set intersection. Cities have also designed bicycle-only or bicycle-specific traffic signals that have targeted especially difficult intersections.
Common Injuries in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
If you are cycling, there are some situations you should try to avoid to prevent a bike accident. There are some situations that are very risky and are much more likely to lead to injuries. Here are the leading causes of crashes
Areas where cars are parked along the street are always dangers for cyclists. There is a real, serious threat of being hit by a car door while its opened—motorists are simply not paying attention when exiting cars. To avoid being hit by a car door, ride at least four feet from the lane of parked vehicles. That way, an opening car door cannot reach you. When cycling through these areas, watch for vehicles that are stopped in the turn lane with their emergency flashers on. These vehicles are very likely they are dropping off or picking up passengers. Always watch for rideshare (Uber/Lyft) drivers dropping off or picking up passengers—these passengers almost never look to see if a cyclist is approaching.
The Right Hook
Cars turning right at an intersection often run over cyclists in a bike lane—during the turning sequence, drivers are looking left, not right, and will strike a cyclist during a right turn. Drivers should, of course, look to the right for both pedestrian and bicycle traffic prior to a right turn to ensure its safe to turn, but often don’t. Because bicycles are a much smaller size, they can easily get in a vehicle’s blind spot if the driver is inattentive. When a vehicle makes a right turn, they could easily turn into you or run over you. You often do not have time to react if the vehicle starts making a right turn.
Potholes and Road Debris
Potholes and road hazards litter city streets. These are dangers that you need to watch for and try to avoid. As you ride through an area, strategically glance down so you can be prepared; unfortunately, even the most prepared cyclist cannot avoid potholes or other hazards. In some instances, cities can face liability for potholes which cause injury, particularly if a municipality has been placed on notice of a dangerous pothole and refuses to repair it.
Big Trucks and Buses
Trucks, busses, and commercial vehicles are a major threat to cyclist safety. Stay alert and watch for big trucks and buses. Larger vehicles have horrible blind spots, so they are not going to see you as quickly as a regular passenger vehicle would. Bus drivers and tractor-trailer drivers are all under financial pressure to arrive to a certain destination, which often leads to driver inattentiveness and accidents. Big trucks and buses frequently collied with cyclists during the right-turn sequence. When these vehicles carelessly hit a cyclist, the cyclist can sometimes end up underneath the vehicle. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you determine all the at-fault parties if a tractor trailer is involved.
Paying medical bills after a bike accident
PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, is automobile insurance coverage that pays medical expenses for individuals injured in an auto accident, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is also known as no-fault Personal Injury Protection. PIP is available to cyclists.
PIP applies to, and covers, cyclists hit by a car. Even if pedestrians and cyclists don’t carry PIP coverage themselves, the driver’s PIP insurance could pay medical bills resulting from the accident. PIP thus provides a form of “insurance” for victims of bike crashes who don’t have their own heath insurance. Where PIP is mandatory, medical bills are generally charged first to the PIP insurance carrier, and when that coverage is exhausted, to an individual’s healthcare plan.
With PIP, injured patients may be allowed to seek medical care from the practitioner of their choice, including physical therapists, while under the direction of a medical doctor, who must oversee the treatment plan if PIP is to pay for the care.
Unfortunately, when a bicycle is in a collision with a car, the bicyclist often suffers serious injuries. Even at relatively slow speeds, a bicycle rider could be severely hurt or killed. The most common injuries in bicycle accidents include head trauma, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries.
Hundreds of bicyclists are killed and seriously injured every year–cycling wrecks are a major risk to public health. Of the serious injuries that occur to bicycle riders, head injuries are likely the most severe. Even when a rider is wearing a helmet, a traumatic brain injury can happen if the head hits the pavement or the vehicle with a hard impact.
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
For some, cycling is a part of the daily commute. Unfortunately, there are countless cyclists injured in crashes every year. If you are cycling you need to take steps to stay safe.
- Your first step in staying safe when cycling is making sure you are visible. Visibility is essential. Bright vests, with neon yellow, lime green, hot pink, and orange will help you remain visible to those on the road, particularly at night. You can wear a bright jersey, safety vest, or shirt to stand out. Wearing a brightly colored helmet can also help you stand out.
When you are riding your bike after dusk or before dawn, you need to make sure you have the proper lighting so you will be seen. The law mandates that bicycles have a white light in front, and a red reflector or light to the rear during “limited visibility conditions.” Limited visibility conditions include anytime from sunset to sunrise or any other time that “due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions” you are not able to discern other persons and vehicles at a distance of 1,000 feet. The law requires the use of lights if the weather makes it difficult to see.
That means having a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as reflective devices on your clothing, shoes, and bike. The front light should be visible for 500 feet; the rear light should be visible for 600 feet. Helmet mounted lights are compliant and generally advisable. Make sure your bike has enough reflectors on the fenders and the foot pedals. You should have adequate reflectors on your clothing and helmet, as well. Reflective tape on your chest, back, and legs could be very beneficial. It is wise to carry extra reflective tape along because you might need it. Take extra batteries along for your headlight and taillight.
- Ensure you have operational brakes. Legally, a bicycle should be equipped with a brake that enables the operator of the bicycle to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement. From a practical perspective, you need to ensure that your brakes are comfortably operational before you ride.
- Be aware of the traffic laws and adhere to them. When you are riding, ride far enough over in the lane so cars are able to pass you at a distance; avoiding a sideswipe. If you are completely against the curb, you are much more likely to come across debris. Drivers are also much more likely to get too close and come into contact with you. It is easy for a cyclist to be sideswiped by a vehicle or struck by a mirror because the driver fails to properly judge the distance. Of course, if you are riding in a cycling lane, be careful how you position yourself in the lane and do not ride the line.
- Use extra care at intersections—where you are most likely to be hit by a car or be involved in a truck accident.
- Always assume that drivers do not see you. Stay alert and assume drivers are not going to notice you approaching. Always be ready to take defensive action if it is necessary so you can avoid the crash.
Bicycles on Public Transportation
For decades, busses operating in large cities have been equipped with bicycle racks. Only collapsible bikes are generally allowed inside buses. Only standard-size bicycles are allowed on the front-mounted racks of buses, and children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
In response to demand from individual businesses and commercial districts, cities have implemented bicycle parking programs to include on-street bicycle parking as an option to serve areas where demand for bicycle parking is especially high. These on-street “bicycle corrals” occupy one to two car parking spaces and can accommodate approximately 12 bicycles for every car stall. They are enormously popular. These installations have proven popular with business owners as they improve the pedestrian environment by removing the often hodge-podge bike parking patterns that result from too few racks and high demand for bicycle parking.
Many cities now have bicycle-only signals operating at locations where bicycle movements were difficult and uncomfortable. The bicycle scramble signal stops all automotive movements at a three-way intersection and allows cyclists to make a direct path-to-roadway connection diagonally through an intersection. Certain signals stop arterial traffic and allow bicycle boulevard traffic to cross safely.
FLYNN LAW FIRM: BECAUSE RESULTS MATTER
Call Flynn Law Firm for your Bicycle Accident.
If you don’t want to settle with your bicycle case, don’t settle for a lawyer who intends to give you anything less than great results. Your initial consultation should always be free, and, with the right lawyer, you should always get the most out of your case possible. Text or call 503-303-0600 for your no-cost consultation as soon as possible after your bicycle accident.