Bike riding is a popular activity in Arizona and offers many benefits to cyclists and society; however, the physical disadvantage cyclists have on the road cannot be ignored. With little to no protection, injuries resulting from bike collisions with vehicles are usually far more serious for the cyclist than the vehicle operator.
According to 2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 783 cyclists who died in accidents with motor vehicles in the US. Arizona is one of the top 10 deadliest cities for cyclists — 5.6 percent of total traffic fatalities were cyclists.
If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle crash that resulted in injuries or fatality, the experienced bike accident attorneys at Ramos Law Firm can help! Contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Causes of Bicycle Wrecks
Bicycle accidents involving a motor vehicle are usually the result of drivers not using caution when sharing the road with bicyclists. The most common causes of vehicle driver negligence are:
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Failing to yield if the cyclist has the right of way
- Underestimating the speed of a bike and driving carelessly
- Not watching out for bikes on the road
Steps To Take After A Bicycle Accident
Having the accident properly documented can play a major role in your case when seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.
- Take pictures of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and damage to equipment because they can help your case.
- File an accident report with local law enforcement so they can begin their investigation.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible after the collision.
- Speak to your bike accident attorney as soon as possible. It is your job to take the time to focus on recovering from your injuries after an accident and it is your attorney’s job to fight for you in the personal injury claim.
How Do You Know If You Have a Negligent Bicycle Accident Claim?
Most personal injury claims made by cyclists are negligence claims. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including bicycle accidents, is 2 years. If you were in a bike accident, it is important to obtain an attorney so they can evaluate your case and help prove the vehicle driver is at fault. A bicycle accident lawyer will also navigate you through the complex process of filing a personal injury claim.
For a successful bike accident negligence claim, you must prove:
- The driver failed to drive with a reasonable degree of care. This can be done, for example, by proving that the driver failed to yield or was distracted at the moment of the accident.
- You were injured and suffered damages as a result of the driver’s disregard. This will be proved by showing if it wasn’t for the driver’s actions, the accident wouldn’t have occurred and you wouldn’t have been injured.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Right Cross – When a motor vehicle pulls out of a side street, alley, driveway, or parking lot exit to the cyclist’s right. The car strikes the cyclist after the bike has passed the front of the vehicle, or the car makes it impossible for the cyclist to avoid a collision with the side of the vehicle by pulling out far enough at the last second to block the biker’s right of way.
Right Hook – When a motor vehicle operator either doesn’t see the biker or they pass the biker and forget about them or assume they have passed them with sufficient space, and then quickly makes a right turn causing the cyclist to slam into the side of the car.
Left Cross – When a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction collides when making a left turn in front of the cyclist. The driver either strikes the left side of the biker or cuts the biker off, forcing them to hit the right side of the vehicle.
Door Prize – When the driver of a parked vehicle opens the door directly in front of the bicyclist and blocks them without enough time to allow the biker to stop or swerve out of the way.
Rear End – When the driver strikes the cyclist from behind, usually because they were not maintaining a safe distance away from the bike and were not paying close enough attention to the cyclist’s movement.
Arizona Bicycle Laws
When it comes to protecting your rights as a cyclist, it is crucial to be aware of and follow Arizona’s bicycle-specific laws. If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, it will be much easier to prove the driver is at fault if you are already following the rules in place.
Here is what is expected of you as a cyclist on the road:
- Stop for traffic lights and stop signs
- Always use a white headlight and a red rear reflector when you cycle after sunset or before sunrise
- Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks
- Before you turn or change lanes, look behind you and yield to any traffic already there, and give the appropriate signal
- If riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you must ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway
- If there are more than 5 vehicles behind you on a two-lane road, you must pull off and let the vehicles pass as soon as it’s safe to do so
- Every person riding a bicycle must have a regular seat to sit on
- Every bicycle must have at least one brake that will make the wheel skid when applied
- You may ride no more than two side-by-side, except on exclusive bike paths
- You must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
- You may not attach your bicycle to, or hold onto, another vehicle on the road