What Happens If You Hit a Cyclist with Your Car?
Hit a Cyclist, or Injured in a Bicycle Accident? We Can Help.
Car accidents involving an injured cyclist can be the worst experience anyone can have. If you’re asking yourself “What happens if you hit a cyclist with your car?” an experienced bicycle accident and car accident lawyer can help.
You may feel guilty, upset, and anxious about what happens afterward. Can the cyclist sue you for the accident? What will happen to your insurance rates? What happens next?
These are all valid concerns to have before, during, and after your time on the accident scene. Even if you were injured in the bicycle accident as well, you may be stressing over what can happen. That’s why it’s important to know what your next steps should be to protect yourself and your claim.
For over 60 years, Munley Law has been helping bicycle accident and car accident victims alike with their personal injury claims. With office locations throughout Pennsylvania and decades of experience, we will give you the peace of mind you’re looking for to recover from your accident with a free legal consultation.
Common Bicycle Accident Types in Pennsylvania
When it comes to bicycle accidents vs. car accidents, there are usually two common things share in an accident scene: sharing the road and making a turn. In the first type of accident, the driver is either having trouble sharing the roadway with the bicyclist or is trying to pass. In this situation, the driver fails to leave enough room between themselves and the bike. Thus, causing the bicycle accident.
In the second scenario, the driver is trying to make a turn while the bicyclist is attempting to stay straight. Instead of stopping as the car is turning or the car waiting for the bike to pass by, a bike crash occurs and results in an injured cyclist, with bodily injury such as:
- Head injuries, such as a concussion
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
When a car accident like this occurs, it may seem easy to assign fault since the car is the one who hit the bicyclist. But in reality, it all depends on if the cyclist was following the law.
What are the Bike Accident Laws in Pennsylvania?
If you hit a cyclist with your car in Pennsylvania, that person may try to file a lawsuit against your insurance company for their injuries and property damage. But what the cyclist may not be aware of is the insurance company may find them at fault for the accident if they violated the law.
According to Pennsylvania law, bike riders must follow the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles. This includes traffic laws like stopping at stop signs or traffic lights, making hand signals when turning, and yielding to pedestrians.
In addition, bicyclists also must follow specific laws such as:
- Wearing a helmet if you’re 12 or under
- Equipping your bike with a front lamp, rear reflectors, and side reflectors if riding at night
- Having working brakes that can stop the bike within 15 feet from a speed of 15 mph on level pavement
- Only ride side by side with another cyclist in a bicycle-only path
- Stay off the freeway unless you have permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Motor vehicle drivers also need to follow the rules of the road when it comes to bicyclists. Drivers must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking a bicycle. You also have to be aware when opening your car door to make sure there are no bicyclists coming. This will go a long way to avoid a bicycle crash.
Negligent Drivers and Bicycle Accidents
As with any auto accident, the plaintiff will need to prove the following occurred to have a successful claim:
- The driver as well as the bicyclist had a duty to exercise reasonable caution while operating a vehicle.
- Since the other party was negligent in their duty, they did not exercise reasonable care. For example, the driver was texting and driving, not realizing there was a bicyclist in their path.
- Because of the driver’s negligence, an accident occurred.
- And because of the carelessness and negligence of the driver, he or she hit a cyclist, who was injured as a result.
It’s important to remember that in these types of accidents, the fault determined by your insurance company or law enforcement officers could lie on the bicyclist. When both parties share part of the blame for the accident, it would fall under the modified comparative fault rule.
For example, you’re driving in the middle of a rainy night. You’re starting to feel tired behind the wheel. The roadway is dark and is devoid of traffic. You feel your eyes start to close. Suddenly your high beams reveal a bicyclist wearing dark clothing with no reflectors on their bike riding in front of your car. You try to break but you’re too late and hit a cyclist.
Using Pennsylvania’s modified comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s damages would be reduced by a percentage of fault. So the driver falling asleep behind the wheel may only have to pay 80% of the damages instead of the full 100% because the bicyclist did not have the proper safety gear on the bike.
If the bicyclist in this case was found more than 50% at fault of the accident, then they would be prohibited from recovering any damages.
Make sure you receive a comprehensive accident report with all the details. This will be an important document to review in your free consultation with a personal injury attorney.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
The best advice to prevent hitting a cyclist with your car, is to stay safe on the roads. Keep these safety tips in mind:
- Bicyclists should always drive in the same direction as traffic.
- Aways obey the street signs, signals, and road markings.
- Always assume that the other people on the road don’t see you.
- Keep an eye out for any hazards on the road, such as potholes.
- Keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.
How Munley Law Can Help Bicyclists and Drivers After an Accident
If you’re wondering what happens if you hit a cyclist with your car, it’s a complicated answer. One best helped by an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you wade through complexities with your insurance company, car insurance coverage, police report, accident report, accident scene details, and more.
The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have spent decades representing victims of serious bicycle crashes. We fight for vulnerable car accident victims and their families and make sure that you get the compensation you deserve following a horrific accident. We will sit down with you, explain your legal options, and help you over this difficult time in your life. Munley Law has the top experienced lawyers in Philadelphia, Scranton, and surrounding areas to start your car accident claim.
In order to give everyone equal access to the justice they deserve, we never charge a fee unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.
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