Are Negligent Bike Accidents Still Accidents?

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If a collision occurs between a vehicle and bicycle, it is often the outcome of some form of negligent behavior. Negligence pertains to consciously failing to meet a standard duty of care and knowing the damage actions may cause.

Which begs the question, are bike accidents really accidents when it carelessness?

Before answering, consider the results of the fatal accident studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality (NHTSA) and Fatality Analysis Report System (FARS).

From 2016 to 2019, NHTSA and FARS saw a decrease in most major traffic safety categories, including a 3% decline in both motor vehicle crashes and pedalcyclist accidents. (i.e., Cyclists, motorcyclists, etc.) The uptick is most likely due to more cities adding safety features like bike lanes and protective medians. As such, it’s harder than ever for motorists to claim that the negligence falls on the cyclist.

Let’s look at what would be considered negligence on the part of the cyclist.

Top Causes of Negligent Bike Accidents

Although motorists and bicyclists know they need to be cautious to safeguard roads and those on it, “bike accidents” still happen. Some so severe they cause permanent injuries, health issues, or death.

Here are some examples of bike accidents involving negligent cyclist behavior:

  • Distractions
  • Failure to yield
  • Riding at night
  • Impairment
  • Intersections
  • Not paying attention to surroundings
  • Lane merging
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Not wearing a helmet
  • Hit-and-runs
  • Speeding
  • Lack of space
  • Driveways
  • Parking lots
  • Sidewalks
  • Not knowing road safety guidelines
  • Crosswalks
  • Location (State, City, Urban, Rural)

Most of what is on the list cyclists can control, but if they ignore them, their actions become negligent. If a cyclist, driver, or both disregard the road rules, it increases the odds of an accident. Road recklessness is like rolling the dice on the safety, well-being, and lifespan of others who share the same pavement as you.

The amount of trauma from a bike accident can range from minor scratches, severe head wounds, to fatal injuries.

If the motorist or cyclist’s negligence caused the accident, the law would hold them responsible for damages and injuries. Determining the liable party of the collision depends on what the evidence shows. The plaintiff (injured party) must prove who is at fault (defendant) and why.

However, identifying the at-fault individual(s) is not always easy to do. If you have been in an accident, here are some immediate next steps you can take.

What to Do After a Bike Accident

Whether you are a motorist or cyclist on the road, it is essential to be vigilant and extra safe as soon as feet hit the pedals. Understanding the seriousness of an act, most do several times a day, is eye-opening. Bicyclists and drivers can become complacent with meeting a standard duty of care, causing negligence that leads to accident fatalities each year.

The reasons cyclists suffer nonfatal injuries and who die each year from accidents are mostly preventable. Yet, negligence is still a significant part of why accidents happen on the road.

If you are the injured party after a bike accident, you must prove who is responsible, even if it is partially your fault. You need to assess the situation, collect evidence, get a lawyer, and establish causation.

Bike Accident Evaluation

Whether the bike accident is minor or severe, you may not recognize the significance of the crash or injuries at first. Sometimes it can take days or weeks for the pain to appear after a collision, which makes checking the bike accident scene at the time of the impact is crucial.

Even if you’re involved in a minor bike accident, there may be some severe issues that you don’t realize immediately. These issues often present themselves days or weeks after the accident.

Try to Remain Calm and Breathe

Trying to remain calm and to breathe after a bike accident is easier said than done. It is risky to ignore the injuries and wounds that come from a crash, so you need to not assume everything is okay. Even if you do not feel immediate pain, it does not mean that an emergency is not happening underneath the surface.

Serious problems can arise from minor issues, make sure you get checked by a medical professional sooner rather than later.

Get Checked By A Medical Professional

If you are bleeding, lose consciousness, hit your head, or have vision problems, your injuries are immediate and apparent. However, even if you are not in immediate harm it does not mean that a severe problem is not lurking out of sight. A bike accident can cause external and internal injuries, so you must wait for medical attention to arrive after a bike accident. or otherwise seek a medical professional for a comprehensive evaluation.

Collect Evidence

Depending on the severity of your injuries, there are certain items you must collect at the time of the accident or after receiving medical treatment. The goal is to prove who is at fault when seeking to sue for compensation.

Here are a few examples of evidence that may help prove your lack of culpability:

  • Police report
  • Incident report
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Accident photographs, videos, and documentation
  • Medical treatment records and bills
  • Documentation of injuries that cause a loss of income
  • Medical professional testimonials

To ensure you can pay the medical fees and for any property damages, a settlement is necessary. To gain a better understanding of all involved in a lawsuit, it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer.

 

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Some components of a bike accident lawsuit will need a professional. If you want to better understand the filing process, hiring a lawyer will increase your knowledge and winning possibilities.

A personal injury attorney can make sense of the evidence a bike accident lawsuit needs. Hiring a lawyer can also relieve stress and help you collect evidence, fill out complicated formsfile legal proceedings, and argue on your behalf for compensation for your medical expenses, time, and distress.

Here at the law offices of Kaufman and Lynd we are devoted to ensuring our clients experience tailored, straightforward assistance throughout their personal injury case. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a bicycle accident in the greater Orlando area, please do not hesitate to reach out to us .

Bicycle Safety Tips to Reduce Bike Accidents

The best way to avoid bike accidents is to stay up-to-date on bicycle road rules. Becoming educated and advocating changes to infrastructure for bicycle safety aids accident prevention.

Here are some safety tips to reduce bike accidents that negligence causes.

  • Increase education efforts
  • Take part in bicycle safety courses.
  • Advocate safer infrastructure
  • Use reflective bike strikes and signs.
  • Wear light-colored and reflecting clothing
  • Increase the use of off-roads and bike parks
  • Reinforce bike-safety initiatives in your local town
  • Ride more during daytime hours
  • Always wear a helmet and safety pads.
  • Follow the speed limit and pay attention to road signs.
  • Learn the bike laws of your state
  • Stay in your lane

 

Conclusion

It is difficult to call the actions of a person who knows the outcome of the act can cause harm, yet still go ahead with it anyway, an “accident.” This is precisely the case when a bike accident happens as a result of negligent behavior. No matter if you are a driver or cyclist, remaining attentive, safe, and to not be reckless, will reduce bike crashes. But, if you find yourself in a bike accident, make sure you call a lawyer.

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Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #250, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.

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