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
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.