Bike Accidents: Collisions With Cars at Intersections

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 11637857Intersections are where cyclists are most at risk for a car collision. though only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car, 45 percent of those accident take place at an intersection. In order to minimize the amount of bicycle collisions with cars, cyclists are encouraged to increase their visibility, understand the rules of the road, and learn to recognize the most dangerous intersection hazards.

In addition, it is helpful to learn the rules of liability, so you know who could be held responsible if you are involved in a bike accident. If a cyclist does not follow the rules of the road, they could be held responsible for their accident. Sometimes, even when a cyclist is following the rules of the road and keeping a proper lookout, the driver may try to hold the cyclist responsible for the crash.

First of all, a cyclist should do everything in their power to avoid a collision with a car. Intersections are especially dangerous to cyclists. This is in part because cars tend to underestimate the speed of the cyclist, and because drivers do not think to keep a proper lookout for cyclists. Often, drivers simply do not see bikes since they are smaller, and cyclists tend to blend into the background due to their clothing or the sun. Cyclists are encouraged to take the following precautions to avoid collisions at intersections:

  • increasing the visibility of the bike and the cyclist by wearing reflective and brightly colored clothing, and using front and rear lamps on the bike
  • keeping a proper lookout at all times, which is legally required for both drivers and cyclists
  • riding defensively
  • learning to execute emergency maneuvers to avoid collisions

Bicycles are legally considered to be vehicles, so they must follow the rules of the road just as any car or motorcycle should. When deciding who is liable for a collision at an intersection, it usually is determined by who had the right-of-way.

When two vehicles meet at an intersection that is not controlled by a traffic signal, the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way. If the vehicles approached at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. The rules for vehicles approaching at a stop sign is the same for vehicles approaching at an intersection with no traffic signals. The vehicle of the right will have the right of way, unless the intersection is meeting of a major street and a side street. In this case, the traffic on the major street would have the right of way.

If the intersection does have a traffic signal, the signal determines who has the right of way. Sometimes, the sensor that signals the traffic signal does not detect the presence of the bike. If the sensor does not detect the bike after the cyclist moves closer to the sensor, then the biker should cross at the crosswalk.

Still, there are many different legal considerations depending on the type of intersection, accident, and which was the car was turning. For more specific information about your accident, always consult with an experienced attorney.


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