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Preventing a Bicycle Accident

Preventing a Bicycle Accident

A lot of people who live in metropolitan areas choose to ride their bikes to where they need to go instead of driving. Biking is a simple and effective form of exercise. It can be beneficial for both physical and mental health. However, cyclists must use extra caution when riding on roads shared with cars. Unfortunately, accidents between cyclists and drivers are all too common. However, there are ways to prevent them, and ways to seek compensation when they do happen.

Biking Safely

Both cyclists and drivers have a duty to one another to use the roads safely. However, some drivers drive over the speed limit or get distracted while behind the wheel. Cyclists should be extra cautious to ensure they notice drivers who do not notice them. Here are some tips for staying safe while riding a bike on shared roads:

  • The correct bike size: It is important for cyclists to ride bikes that are the correct size for them. Riding a bike that is too big or too small is dangerous. It can limit the ways they can control the bike and put them in harm’s way.
  • Nighttime visibility: Anyone who chooses to ride their bike at night should add a headlight to their bike. This will ensure that they remain visible to passing vehicles. A bicycle headlight will also increase the cyclist’s visibility.
  • Check the brakes: Every cyclist should check their brakes before every time they ride. Ensuring that the pads of their brakes are rubbing against the disc on their wheels is an essential element of bike safety.
  • Wear a helmet: New Mexico law states that all cyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet every time they ride. However, anyone who rides should wear a helmet for safety. Helmets help to reduce the chances of serious injuries to the head, neck, and face.
  • Don’t wear headphones: Wearing headphones while riding a bike can lead to an accident. Headphones block a cyclist’s ability to hear oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and other potential hazards. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable when riding on shared roads. Therefore, they should make sure they are not diminishing the effectiveness of any of their senses while riding.
  • Don’t speed: Cyclists should pay attention to their speed, just like a person driving a motor vehicle would. People on bikes should ride at speeds that are appropriate for the traffic, weather, and roads they are riding on.

Common Causes for Bicycle and Vehicle Collisions

Accidents involving bicycles and cars still happen despite the efforts made to remain safe. Determining the cause of an accident will be a large part of any resulting legal proceedings. Some of the most common reasons collisions between bicycles and cars happen include:

  • Distracted driving: Drivers paying attention to anything other than the road are more likely to cause accidents. When a driver is checking their phone instead of looking ahead, it’s easy for them to miss a cyclist trying to share the road with them.
  • Not enough room: A driver who does not leave room between themselves and a cyclist is putting them both in danger. They increase the chance of a collision and leave cyclists with fewer options to avoid a crash.
  • Driving too fast: Anyone driving too fast will have less time to stop when they come upon a cyclist in the road. Accidents at high speed will more likely cause injury and damage.
  • No turn signals: A driver who changes lanes without signaling is putting themselves and cyclists in danger. Signaling and checking the lane they plan to enter can help them see cyclists and alert cyclists of their entry.
  • Failure to stop: Red lights and stop signs are put in place for a good reason. When a driver fails to stop at one, they risk hitting a cyclist who has the right of way.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is the cause of many accidents. Substance use impairs a driver’s ability to avoid accidents and react quickly.

Seeking Justice After an Accident

A cyclist involved in an accident with a motor vehicle can seek justice through a personal injury lawsuit. A driver who is at fault for striking a cyclist will likely become responsible for their medical bills and may have to compensate them for other losses. There are 4 elements that must be proven for a personal injury claim to be successful. Those elements are:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the claimant
  2. The duty of care was breached by the defendant
  3. The claimant suffered injuries and losses in the incident
  4. The loss and injury were directly caused by the breach

An experienced personal injury attorney can help a claimant create a strong case by compiling evidence, representing them in court, and negotiating settlements, among other things.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available?

The court will consider many types of evidence to determine what a claimant is entitled to. This includes medical records, police reports, and witness accounts, among others. Compensation can be awarded for many losses when a cyclist’s personal injury claim is successful. The amount of financial compensation a claimant receives will be based on the severity of what they endured. Some examples of the types of compensation a successful personal injury claim may result in are:

  • Medical bills: If a cyclist is struck by a vehicle, they may end up with significant medical bills. They can be reimbursed for those bills, as well as prescriptions, therapy, and even modification to their home. These payments can also include estimated costs of future medical care that may be necessary.
  • Time out of work: An injured cyclist could sue for the wages they lost while recovering from the accident they were in. They can also sue for any perks their job offers that they might have received had they not been injured, such as sick time, promotions, and more.
  • Pain and suffering: A settlement can include compensation for the physical and emotional trauma the incident caused the victim. Emotional and mental anguish and physical trauma may be weighed equally depending on the circumstances of the incident.
  • Lost property: A victim may receive compensation for any property that was destroyed because of the accident. The value of a destroyed bicycle may be paid out to a cyclist with a successful personal injury case.

A personal injury lawyer can help a victim fight for the compensation they deserve.

Don’t Fight Alone

The support of an experienced attorney can make a huge difference in the courtroom. Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law is ready to provide you with personalized, one-on-one service to help you fight for what you deserve. We understand that personal injury cases can be emotionally taxing, which is why we work directly with our clients and keep them informed to lessen their burden. If you need quality legal counsel, contact us today at (505) 219-2176 or online for a free consultation.


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