Who is at Fault in a Car Versus Cyclist Accident?

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For cyclists and motorists alike, no one wants a collision or accident that can harm someone. Bicycling is a popular way to commute for many people. In larger metropolitan areas, the infrastructure tends to support cycling as a method of commuting more than towns and cities that aren’t equipped with bike lanes or other safety measures for cyclists. In accidents between cyclists and cars, fault is often very difficult to determine.

It’s important to remember bicycles are considered vehicles and should follow rules of the road, including stopping at intersections during a red light, stop signs, and other driving actions. If a car and a cyclist do collide, the fault of the accident largely depends on the circumstances of the collision. For example, the driver is likely at fault if they perform a hit-and-run action, meaning they leave the cyclist vulnerable. It’s difficult for a motorist to defend their case that they’re not at fault if they leave the scene of an accident.

Cyclists should not block crosswalks or speed down sidewalks. Common types of cyclist and car accidents can include: the bicycle being hit by an opening car door; the car making a left or right-hand turn and colliding with a cyclist as they push through an intersection; or, a car hitting a cyclist as the car exits a parking lot.

The cyclist can be at fault if they don’t follow some key procedures; for example, failure to use the required lighting at night, or riding the wrong way on a one-way street. If an accident occurs during actions like these, the cyclist is likely to be at fault. Still, it’s important to consult with an attorney or personal injury professional prior to accepting fault or blame for a crash. Witness reports and detailed recollection of the actions of the motorist and the cyclist can shed light on the root cause of the incident.

If injuries are serious, it’s most important to seek treatment for the affected party prior to determining fault. For cyclists, safety and awareness of the road is a critical piece of arriving at your destination safely. For motorists, being particularly mindful at intersections, in parking lots, and providing a cyclist with the recommended three feet of space can make all the difference in preventing a collision.

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