Drivers are obligated to obey traffic laws and exercise ordinary care regarding the safety of others on the roadways. Negligence by a driver can take many forms, such as speeding, running a stop sign, and drifting into a bike lane, activities that are considered reckless if done with knowing disregard for the safety of others.
Whether careless or reckless, drivers commonly make these mistakes:
- Turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway
- Failing to search surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles
- Turning right without looking to the right and behind, hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear
- Going too fast for conditions and hitting a bicyclist who comes into the road unexpectedly
- Overtaking a bicyclist without seeing the bicyclist
- Passing a bicycle too closely
Proving Negligence in a Bicycle-Involved Automobile Accident
Negligence is a term used to describe conduct that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In order to prevail on a negligence claim, a bicyclist injured in an accident with a motorist needs to prove three things:
- The motorist had a duty to operate his car in a reasonable manner and to be mindful of the bicyclist’s safety.
- The motorist failed to act in a reasonable manner causing risk to the cyclist.
- The bicyclist suffered actual damages or loss as a result of the unreasonable behavior.
Accident lawsuits are based on facts specific to the individual case, and often the plaintiff must prove negligence through eyewitness testimony or other evidence. However in car accident cases, behaviors causing traffic violations such as speeding at the time of the accident count as evidence of negligence. The burden then shifts to the defendant to prove that he or she didn’t cause the plaintiff’s injuries.
The Bicycle Accidents section on this website will tell you what you need to do in the event of a bicycle accident.