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Bike vs. Car: Who is at Fault?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2% of motor vehicle accident deaths were bicyclists. While this may not seem significant, bike use is on the rise in Maryland and, in 2015, Maryland was listed in the top 10 most “bicycle friendly” states. It may seem obvious that when an accident involves a bike and a car that the car would be the one at fault. But is that always the case? Here are some common bike vs. car accident situations and who may be at fault:

Dooring

Dooring is a traffic collision where a cyclist runs into a car door, or a car door is opened into a cyclist. Drivers have a responsibility to check the area for hazardous situations, such as an oncoming cyclist, before opening the car door. Drivers should also not leave their car doors open for longer than necessary. If a driver acts negligently and carelessly opens the door, a cyclist may be able to file a claim. Conduct by the cyclist, not paying attention, for instance, will most likely be taken into account when determining responsibility.

Intersections

Drivers of a vehicle must exercise due care to avoid colliding with a bicycle.  However, bicyclists are also expected to follow the rules of the road. It is a common occurrence that a driver will make a left turn in front of a cyclist ignoring the right of way. When it comes to intersections, if a cyclist fails to yield the right of way at an intersection, he or she is just as much at fault as a driver failing to yield the right of way to a cyclist.

Right Turns in Front of a Cyclist

There are many incidents where a bike is driving straight, and an approaching car makes a right turn in front of them. This can cause serious injury. Drivers of a vehicle have a responsibility to check the area around them before making a right turn. The cyclists also have a responsibility to stay aware of any cars that may be approaching with their turn signals on.

Bike Lanes

Maryland has miles of bike lanes to facilitate bike riding throughout the state safely. The law says that bikes must ride in available bike lanes unless they are turning or avoiding an unsafe condition.  Cyclists are supposed to be safe in a bike lane, but drivers sometimes fail to watch for cyclists in their blind spots and drift or turn into a bike lane causing injury.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, you should have an attorney review your case to determine if you’re eligible for compensation. The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LP, have over 30 years of experience in personal injury cases and will evaluate your case for free. Contact us online or call us at (301) 812-4777 to schedule your free consultation.

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