Riding a bicycle is a popular way to travel short distances while staying fit. Unlike cars and motorcycles, bicycles don’t pollute the atmosphere or require expensive gas or costly maintenance. They might be slower than motorized vehicles, but the people who ride them generally consider that to be a worthwhile tradeoff.
The biggest challenge to riding a bike, however, is that bicycles share roadways with cars, trucks, and other large vehicles. This presents a serious danger to bicycle riders because the collision between a car and a bicycle is usually quite a bit more dangerous than the average car accident at the same speed.
If you were injured in a bike accident in Peoria, the attorneys at Torgenson Law may be able to help you get compensation. The answers to the following questions will get you started. Our attorneys will happily answer any other queries you have during your free consultation.
The moments immediately after a bike accident are some of the most important. The decisions you make during this time could be critical for determining how much compensation you get for your injuries, how quickly you recover from them, and even whether you fully recover.
Your legal options may become limited if you do or say something you shouldn’t. Similarly, failing to act can limit those options. The following is a partial list of things you should and shouldn’t do after being injured in a bike accident:
Your health should be your top priority after a bicycle accident. Injuries from a bike accident, especially if they involve a car, are usually quite severe. Without immediate medical attention, those injuries might worsen, causing permanent disability.
Furthermore, delaying medical attention may limit your ability to get compensation. The insurance company might determine that your choice to put off getting medical care makes you partially responsible for the severity of your injuries, decreasing the compensation you receive.
Our staff will respond as quickly as possible if you have been injured in a bicycle accident. We know how important the early moments are in a personal injury case.
As quickly as possible, we will schedule a free consultation and guide you through the first stages. While we likely won’t be able to get staff to the scene of the accident, we can help you document the scene and gather evidence that will be critical to your case.
If you can safely move, take pictures of the accident, your injuries, and any damages to your bike. Also, get the insurance and contact information for the driver who hit you. All of this information will prove valuable in processing your claim.
The biggest mistake that victims of bike accidents make is talking to people about the accident. It is natural to want to chat with the driver of the car or witnesses at the scene of the accident.
It’s in your best interests to ignore this inclination. Almost anything you say can potentially be used against you in court. You will need to talk to these people to gather contact information, and that is fine. But don’t discuss the details of the accident. And under no circumstances should you say anything that could be construed as you taking responsibility for the accident.
This advice also applies to social media. Don’t post information about the accident in any public place. Indeed, it’s preferable that you not talk about it online at all. You can share this information after the accident has been settled.
Finally, delay contacting the insurance company until your lawyer is available to guide you through that process. If an insurance company contacts you, just say that you are represented by counsel and that your lawyer will contact them shortly.
The rights of bicyclists in Arizona are surprisingly broad. For almost all purposes, the state of Arizona treats a bicycle like a car. It grants bicyclists the right to use any street or highway, regardless of speed limit.
However, Arizona bicycle laws don’t entirely ignore the fact that bicycles are different from cars. There are some restrictions that bicyclists must follow and some rights they have that car drivers don’t.
Bicycle riders have the right to drive in a lane on any street. While doing so, though, they must follow all laws that apply to cars, including obeying all traffic signals and signs. Additionally, bike riders must signal their intentions to turn or stop using arm-based signals.
There are two main differences between car street usage and bicycle street usage. First, bicyclists may ride two abreast within a lane. This is something that cars are not permitted to do.
Second, because they are slow-speed vehicles, bicycles must stay in the right lane at all times, except when they need to switch lanes to turn left. Furthermore, when riding on a two-lane road, they must stay as close to the right side as is safe and must periodically pull over to allow faster traffic to pass them.
Bicyclists may ride on the sidewalks in Arizona. While riding on the sidewalk, they are not bound by street laws but by pedestrian rules. Since they are generally moving faster than the rest of the traffic there, bicyclists have a greater responsibility to ensure the safety of those around them.
Arizona doesn’t have any helmet laws for bicycle riders. However, you should probably wear a helmet anyway. If you suffer a head injury in an accident and you aren’t wearing a helmet, the insurance company (or a court) will likely determine that you are partially responsible for your injuries.
This matters in Arizona because the state uses comparative negligence to determine the value of compensation in a lawsuit. If you are 50% responsible for your injuries, for example, your compensation would be reduced by 50%. Thus, even though Arizona doesn’t require you to wear a bike helmet, wearing one can protect your health and finances.
Bicycles in Arizona are required by law to be equipped with a front headlight (white) and a rear and front reflector if they are used at night. You can be ticketed if you drive at night without this gear. And if you are involved in an accident, it will probably be deemed your fault if your bike is lacking the proper equipment.
Finally, because a bicycle is treated like a car, you can receive a DUI if you ride a bike on the street while drunk. This is uncommon, but it isn’t a risk worth taking. If you have been drinking, you should walk your bike rather than ride it. Better yet, get someone to give you and your bicycle a ride home.
Bicycle injuries can be quite serious because cyclists have minimal protective equipment. Even if you wear all possible protective gear, you don’t have the same type of protection offered by a seat belt, airbags, or even just the interior of a car.
Typically, the worst injuries occur when bicyclists are thrown from their bikes in a collision with a car. Bike accidents involving cars often result in the following injuries:
The best way to limit the severity of bike accident injuries is by wearing safety gear. Helmets significantly reduce the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death in a bike accident, for example. You also should invest in safety glasses and padded/leather clothing.
Finally, you can decrease the likelihood of an accident by adding safety gear like reflectors to your bicycle and giving your bike regular maintenance.
Bicycle accidents are usually the result of the differences between cars and bikes. Occasionally, this is the fault of the bike rider. But often, it is the fault of a car driver who either doesn’t understand the rights of bicyclists or isn’t showing appropriate care around them. The following are common examples of car driver negligence:
Bicycles are a tiny fraction of the size of a car. While a bike rider may sit as tall as the top of the average car, they take up almost no width and maybe half the length of most cars.
This means they are harder to notice when a driver isn’t being careful. Unfortunately, it is common for drivers to underuse their mirrors or only briefly glance to the left and right when entering traffic. This carelessness can cause them to miss a bicycle, resulting in an accident.
Sadly, many drivers don’t respect the rights of bicyclists to use the same road they use. Since bicycles move more slowly than traffic, some drivers will attempt to bully cyclists off the road by encroaching into their space or illegally passing them.
Such behavior can easily cause an accident. A crash becomes especially likely if the bike rider needs to avoid a road danger like a pothole or brake quickly.
Driving under the influence is a danger to everyone on the road. Unfortunately, it presents an even greater risk to bicycle riders. Drunk drivers are much less likely to notice someone on a bike than they are to notice someone in a car. Furthermore, their reflexes are greatly inhibited.
Drunk drivers also have a greater tendency to hit a bike without even slowing down, let alone stopping to provide aid. If you are riding a bike and see someone who is swerving or otherwise seems to be under the influence, you should get off the road as quickly as possible.
Arizona has a statute of limitations that applies to all victims of personal injury claims. However, it is riddled with exceptions and may be quite a bit shorter than you expect in some circumstances.
While you likely have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim, don’t count on it. Instead, contact the Peoria Bike Accident Lawyers at Torgenson Law as soon as possible after suffering an injury in a bicycle accident. We will schedule a free consultation right away and get to work on your case as quickly as possible so you don’t have to worry about deadlines.