Tag Archive for: bicycle injury

In North Carolina, bicycle accidents are treated much like vehicle accidents. In fact, bicycles are treated as vehicles for the purpose of interpreting the state law. See N.C.G.S. Ch. 20-4.01. Some special rules apply to bicyclists regarding equipment, of course. These include the requirement to wear a helmet and to affix a light to the bicycle if you’re cycling after dark. See N.C.G.S. Ch. 20-129e.

Generally speaking, bicyclists should ride in the right-hand lane and travel in the same direction as traffic. A few exceptions to this rule exist, including preparing to make a left-hand turn, avoiding a dangerous obstacle, or passing another vehicle.

Bicycling Under The Influence

In North Carolina, for the purpose of impaired driving, a bicycle is not considered a vehicle. However, impaired operation of a bicycle can lead to a reckless driving fine if the cyclist operates the bicycle without regard for the safety and rights of others. See N.C.G.S. Ch. 20-4.01.

Bicycle Accidents And Injuries

The accidents sustained by those injured while riding a bicycle can be traumatic. Additionally, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the combination of congested streets and high speeds endanger bicyclists every day. Lastly, the most common types of bicycle accidents reported to our office are:

  • Motor vehicle operator takes a right turn into an adjacent bicyclist on the right-hand side
  • Motor vehicle operator rear-ends a bicyclist preparing to make a left-hand turn
  • Motor vehicle operator fails to yield enough space to an adjacent bicyclist and causes injury

Bicyclist Rights

Bicyclists have the same rights as other motorists. This also means that bicyclists can compromise their rights by failing to abide by the law. For instance, a bicyclist must signal that they are taking a turn. Second, they must stop at stop signs and red lights. Third, they must yield to traffic in the same manner as required by the operator of a motor vehicle. Finally, if a failure to do any of those things leads to an accident, the theory of Contributory Negligence may preclude a bicyclist from recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.

Hit And Run Accidents With Bicyclists

Unfortunately, accidents involving a bicyclist and a motor vehicle are sometimes hit-and-run accidents. This may be due to the driver’s knowledge that the cyclist has little or no chance to catch them. Additionally, there are times when a motor vehicle has run a cyclist off the road and caused an injury, but is unaware of having done so. Regardless, any motor vehicle operator who is aware of a crash related to a bicycle or bicyclist must stop at the crash scene until law enforcement arrives.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured while operating a bicycle, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies often deny pedestrian and cyclist claims on the basis of Contributory Negligence. There are affirmative defenses to such denials and your personal injury lawyer can help you recover in these situations. You deserve protection. Call us today at 704.749.7747 or request a FREE CONSULTATION online today.

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

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.