One of the best conveniences of life in the states is being able to live close to your work, granted you have to work every day. Living close means you don’t have to deal with a long commute that is almost always flooded with traffic in both directions. If this is the case, you have likely considered downsizing your personal automobile to a handy and earth friendly bicycle.
The many advantages of biking to work far outweigh the obvious risks associated with this physical activity. The most minimal advantages include saving on fuel, car maintenance, and health care costs. The more lasting and significant rewards comes in the form of improved physical and mental health that result from daily exercise.
Before investing fully in this economical and beneficial routine, you should also consider the basic risks associate with biking to work and how you can protect yourself in case of accidents on the road. The biggest risk for a bicyclist on the roadways is collision with a moving vehicle. Needless to say, the resulting injuries can be debilitating or even terminal.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of getting involved in such an accident by practicing defensive bicycling. Map out the shortest, most convenient route and one that will avoid sharing lanes with other vehicles. Once on the road, be aware of all traffic and don’t assume drivers can see you or will yield to you. It is safest to bike defensively, obey traffic signals, and say in protected zones such as bike lanes.
The most immediate and reliable form of protection you can get for yourself is personal protective equipment such as a trusty helmet, appropriate biking clothing, and a well-maintained bicycle with the necessary reflective and lighting materials.
Lastly, if you do find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, treat it as you would if you were in your personal car: obtain the driver’s insurance and contact information; make note or take pictures of damages to yourself, your bicycle, and their vehicle; call for emergency services should you require it and make a police report for proper documentation. If you have been hurt, you are still eligible to file for personal injury claims from the other party. Know you can protect yourself beyond the physical equipment necessary for biking to work.Read More
Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always have right-of-way on the roads. While true, this statement has created confusion for some drivers and carelessness by some pedestrians. If you hit a pedestrian or cyclist, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. A thorough defense for your actions relies heavily on quick action to determine your side of the story. While you might not be charged with a criminal act, you could still face a lifetime of paying off a settlement or judgement.
Pedestrians do have the right-of-way. Everywhere. In the middle of the street, crossing against a green light, in a parking lot. However, this doesn’t mean you can be held responsible for any and all injuries you cause.
Let’s use the example of a pedestrian crossing against your green light. He is breaking the law. However, it’s in the middle of a bright, sunny day and you are more than 100 feet away from the intersection. As the driver, you have plenty of time to stop the vehicle. And because you are alert (and not looking at your cell phone) you have to give him the right-of-way.
Can he be ticketed by a police officer for jaywalking? Yes.
In a similar scenario (he is crossing and you are 100 feet away), you are texting while driving and therefore distracted by your phone. You don’t see him and you hit him. You will be held responsible for hitting him. You are breaking the law by using your phone, and while he also broke the law, the legal system still puts most of the blame on you — the person driving the two-ton car.
So let’s change the situation. You are driving (undistracted) and as you approach the intersection, the pedestrian walks out suddenly. He is on his phone and doesn’t bother to see if there are any cars coming. You hit him. Here, you won’t face much responsibility. You didn’t have the opportunity to give him the right-of-way.
Right-of-way is a legal construct that can shift and change in just a few moments. Don’t assume that the police or the insurance companies are concerned about your legal or financial future. Contact a lawyer to ensure your story is equally entered into all decisions about personal injury cases against you.Read More
Unfortunately, not all bike riders respect the rules of the road. As a moving vehicle, they are supposed to follow all traffic laws as if they are cars. However, because bike riders are particularly susceptible to injury, they retain almost all right-of-way advantages. As a vehicle driver, it can be particularly frustrating and unnerving when bike riders ignore traffic laws, putting themselves, you, and other drivers in danger.
If you were driving a car and you hit a bike rider, don’t let your insurance company be the only professionals handling the case. Consult with a personal injury attorney to make sure that someone else is reviewing the case. Blame and responsibility are an important part of any accident investigation. You shouldn’t trust that the police or the insurance adjuster is looking out for your best interests. Only your own lawyer can ensure that all evidence is taken into consideration.
Witness testimony can be a key factor in determining blame. However, because bike riders are assumed to have right-of-way, tracking down an eye witness might not be a priority for the police or insurance adjusters. However, a good personal injury lawyer knows how to question eye-witnesses in order to reveal new or unconsidered information about blame. Speed of traffic, road conditions, and angle of approach need to be reviewed in order to divide blame appropriately.
More cities in California are handing out tickets to bike riders for violating traffic laws and riding under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, until all bike riders learn how to share the roads and respect the laws, drivers may need to rely on lawyers to keep court decisions fair and balanced.Read More