Cyclist riding in the bike lane

Who is at Fault if a Bicycle Hits a Car?

If a Bicycle Hits a Car, Who is at Fault?

Bicycle accidents have increased by 37% in the last ten years, according to Advocacy Advanced. At Metzger Wickersham, we have personally seen this increase in Pennsylvania over the recent pandemic and last several years.

When a bicycle accident happens, it is important to determine if the biker or the driver were following the rules of the road and if either were negligent. A personal injury attorney can provide assistance to car or bike accident victims in determining who was to blame for the collision and who is liable for damages.

Are Bicycle Riders Failing at Sharing the Road?

Many motorists share common complaints about cyclists on the road:

  • Bicycle riders are overly demanding about where bicycle lanes should go, resulting in bike lanes displacing some parking spaces and making it more difficult to park in popular areas.
  • Bicycle riders disobey the laws and ride on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians.
  • Bicycle riders ride at night without lights on so they are difficult for pedestrians and drivers to see.
  • Bicycle riders ride their bikes in the wrong direction in a bicycle lane.
  • Bicycle riders move to the front of a line of cars waiting at a light and then holding up traffic by driving slowly along when the light changes as motorists are left waiting for a chance to pass.
  • Bicycle riders ride during high-traffic areas during rush hour and get in the way of motorcycle riders.
  • Bicycle riders fail to obey the rules of the road even when they demand that they be given the same respect and held to the same rules as other drivers.

These are complaints that have been voiced by many motorists who have had experience with bicycle riders in urban areas. While some of the complaints may be legitimate, the reality is that biking is becoming a more popular way to commute and some drivers are simply unhappy that bike riders are disrupting long-standing traffic patterns.

When is a Cyclist at Fault For an Accident?

Bicycle riders and drivers both need to be respectful of each other and need to follow all safety rules. Liability is frequently allocated to the driver because of how vulnerable cyclists are on the road, but that doesn't mean the driver will always be found to be at fault.

Events where the cyclist may be at fault include:

  • Riding against traffic
  • Riding recklessly
  • Deliberately disobeying traffic rules
  • Running a red traffic light
  • Not using the required lighting after dark

Have more questions? We'll be happy to answer. Contact us today if you have recently been injured in a bike/car accident and need help determining who may be at fault.

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