Bike accidents in Charlotte, NC increase annually as the city grows. Smart bicyclists follow the rules of the road when they are out riding. Bicycle owners ensure their safety by increasing their knowledge of these rules. Recognize that according to N.C.G.S. Sec. 20-4.01(49):
bicycles shall be deemed vehicles and every rider of a bicycle upon a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter
Avoiding Bike Accidents
To avoid bike accidents, start by abiding by the rules of the road. Bicycles are treated as vehicles, per the statute above. Generally, this means the bicycle rules of the road are the same rules that a car follows, including the following: yield to traffic already established in the roadway, drive on the right side of the road, yield before entering a primary road, and yield before moving laterally or turning. These rules were created for your personal safety and should be followed. A great many bicycle accidents could be avoided if more of us followed these guidelines.
When to Yield
- To established traffic
- Before turning or moving laterally (an exception is when you have a green arrow)
- Before entering a primary roadway (from a side street or otherwise)
- Stop signs, one way streets, traffic lights, etc
Safety Requirements and Personal Injury
If you are injured in an accident with a vehicle, quite often the insurance company representing the driver will want to know whether you had reflective wear or if you were wearing bright clothing. The success of a bicycle personal injury claim or a pedestrian personal injury claim can turn on this point. Not only should reflectors and lights be worn on the person, but they should also be attached to the bicycle and helmet.
Pedestrians are not as easily visible as other vehicles, which may be equipped with bright lights and reflectors. The size of another vehicle such as a car, generally means it will be noticed. When you’re walking or operating a bicycle, not only are you typically on the ‘side’ of the road, but additionally you are a smaller object occupying less space in the field of vision of other drivers. As a result, you can avoid accidents by taking extra safety precautions. These same precautions provide you with legal protection in the event you are injured by another driver.
Are Bicycles/Bicyclists Treated as Vehicles or as Pedestrians?
Bicyclists on some occasions are considered pedestrians, rather than being considered operators of a vehicle (bicycle). One example is where someone on a bicycle is riding the bicycle on the sidewalk. In some instances, this individual will be treated as a pedestrian, for legal purposes, or it will be argued that by failing to operate the bicycle in a manner designed to alert other drivers of his presence, the bicyclist has compromised his or her rights against other drivers.
BikeWalk NC is a great resource for rules of the road for bicyclists as well as other material. You can access it HERE.
Call A Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured while riding a bicycle, please call us to find out your rights. We are more than happy to hear your story and give you a complimentary assessment of your case or claim. If we can’t take your case for some reason, we will help to refer you to another lawyer that we trust, who can assist you. If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to send us a request for a phone consultation. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.