Liability in Bicycle vs. Car Collisions
Many types of road accidents happen every year in Texas, including collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles. These accidents can be very severe and lead to life-changing injuries.
While many people assume that a driver is always at fault for a bike accident, this isn’t necessarily the case. Determining fault can be complex, and both parties could be equally liable in a bicycle versus car collision.
When Is a Driver Liable for a Bicycle Accident?
Like most places in the United States, Texas is a fault insurance state. If a driver causes a motor vehicle accident, he or she would be financially liable for any damages that the victims sustain. These victims may include pedestrians, other drivers, passengers, and cyclists.
Drivers have a duty of care to follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. There are many actions that would make a driver liable for an accident, such as the following:
- Distracted driving
- Making unsafe turns
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to yield the right of way
There are many situations where a driver may be at fault for a bicycle accident. For example, if a cyclist is riding in a bike lane and a driver opens her door into the cyclist’s path, the driver would be liable for the collision. If a drunk driver runs a red light and strikes a cyclist, he would be at fault.
When Is a Cyclist Liable for a Collision?
Bicycles also have a duty of care and must uphold the same rules and responsibilities as drivers. When they are riding on a road, cyclists must ensure to follow traffic laws, obey signals, and bike safely.
If a cyclist commits an act of negligence, he or she may be liable for any accidents that occur. Below are a few examples of cyclist negligence:
- Failure to use signals when turning
- Cycling while under the influence
- Making improper or unsafe passes
- Not riding in the bike lane or on the right side of the road
For example, say that a cyclist is going for a ride on a rainy morning. When turning left, the cyclist fails to make the appropriate hand signal when turning left. A driver traveling straight then slams on his brakes to avoid hitting the cyclist.
Because the roads are slippery, the driver loses control of the vehicle and hits a nearby telephone pole. In this situation, the cyclist would be at fault for making an unsafe turn, which caused the driver to get into an accident.
What If Both Parties Are at Fault for the Accident?
In some cases, both the driver and the cyclist commit negligent actions that lead to an accident. For example, a cyclist may make an unsafe turn, but a driver could be distracted and fail to stop in time to prevent the accident.
Texas’s comparative fault laws would apply in these situations. According to these rules, the claimant’s settlement will be reduced by the percentage of fault that he or she shares. If the claimant is more than 50% at fault, he or she would not be able to recover any compensation.
Speak to a Lawyer After a Bicycle vs. Car Collision
If you are injured in a collision involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle, you need an attorney who can help you secure the settlement that you deserve. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a Texas injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.