In neighborhoods, towns and cities across Indiana, bicycling is a popular choice for avoiding high fuel prices and getting some exercise in the great outdoors. When the weather is nice, people regularly ride their bikes to commute, go to the store, or to just get outside and have some fun. Of course, with freedom comes responsibility. When bicycles and motor vehicles share the road, riders and drivers alike need to follow the rules and respect each other’s presence.
What Drivers Need to Know About Bicycle Riders’ Rights
Bicycle riders have the same rights as vehicle drivers. This means that they are entitled to ride in vehicle traffic lanes. Therefore, drivers – especially in neighborhoods and municipal areas – need to keep in mind that there may be bicycles around them. Consider the following tips when driving where bicycles may be present:
- Always watch for bicycles at intersections
- Do not tailgate
- Allow a generous buffer when passing and do not get back in your lane until you can see the bicycle in your rearview mirror
- If you would yield the right of way to a car, yield it to bicycles as well
What Bicycle Riders Need to Know About the Rules of the Road
As a general rule, bicycle riders have the same responsibilities as drivers on the public roadways. This means that riders are required to:
- Ride on the right side of the road
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Have appropriate safety equipment, including a white headlight and red rear reflector when riding in the dark
- Use proper hand turn signals
- Yield to pedestrians
In addition, bicycle riders should use designated bike lanes whenever they are available, and stay off of interstates and parkways.
Liability in Bicycle-Related Auto Accidents
When a car and bicycle are involved in a collision, the rules for determining fault are generally the same ones that apply in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. Just because you were riding a bicycle and were hit by a car does not necessarily mean that you are entitled to compensation. For example, if you entered an intersection without stopping and the cross street had a green light, you might not be entitled to any compensation if you were hit by a driver who was obeying the rules of the road. However, as a driver who is negligent or fails to yield the right of way, you may well find yourself paying for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages if you send a bicycle rider to the hospital. By sharing the road and respecting each other’s rights, drivers and bicycle riders can stay safe and avoid harmful – and potentially expensive – collisions.
Speak with a Bicycle Accident Attorney at Jacobs Law LLC
If you have been involved in a bicycle-related accident, contact Jacobs Law LLC to schedule a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.