Bikes VS Vehicles: Who Is Liable in an Accident?

- Samuel Kane

Drivers and bicyclists are often unclear about who is liable when an accident between them occurs. Are bikes allowed to be in the same lane as a vehicle? If a cyclist rides into an opening car door, are they responsible for their injuries and any damage to the car?

The “Side-Of-Road” Law

Each state has a “side-of-the-road” rule. This rule requires a bicyclist to ride only on the far right side of the road or in the bike lane if they are not moving as fast as the auto traffic.

What if a Cyclists Rides into an Opening Door?

Cyclists are required by law to be near parked cars. Motorists and passengers are not allowed to open their car door unless it is safe, meaning that they must check for any cyclists and pedestrians before doing so.

Do Bicyclists Need to Use the Bike Lane?

If a bike lane is provided, a cyclist must use it. The only time a cyclist may leave the lane is:

  • If they are making a left turn
  • If there is debris or any other hazard in the lane
  • If the cyclist is able to keep up with moving traffic

If a cyclist is not in the bike lane when an accident occurs, then he or she may be found partially or fully liable for an accident.

What If a Cyclist Is Bumped by a Car?

A motor vehicle which is coming up behind a cyclist may not pass the cyclist until it is safe to do so. A motor vehicle driver must slow down and wait until there is enough space to manuever around the bike or change lanes. It is not the cyclists responsibility to stop or get out of a motorist’s way.

Seeking Legal Representation

Despite cyclists having similar road rights as motorists, drivers, insurance adjusters and others who are not looking out for the cyclist’s best interests may try to blame the cyclist for an accident.

Lawyer Samuel I. Kane enjoy cycling on the roadway and up in our beautiful mountains here in New Mexico. He has a personal interest in handling bicycle accident claims and we will aggressively pursue your claim to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

We offer free initial legal consultations to anyone who has been injured in a bicycle accident. Call us today at (575) 526-5263.