Bicyclists have few protections to prevent injuries when struck by a motor vehicle. For this reason, bicyclist accidents are some of the most tragic types of accidents that occur in Phoenix. The Arizona Department of Transportation’s 2014 Arizona Crash Facts Summary reports that there were a total 1,762 accidents involving bicyclists in the state, 28 of which were fatal. There were also 1,466 bicyclists who were injured in motor vehicle accidents that year.
How to Bicycle Accidents Happen?
Like car accidents, bicyclist accidents occur due to negligence. Common causes of bike accidents include:
- A driver turning left into an oncoming cyclist;
- A driving making a right hand turn into a cyclist who is traveling straight;
- A driver rear-ending a cyclist;
- Aggressive driving;
- Speeding; and
- Distracted driving.
The vast majority of bicycle crashes in 2014 that were reported in Arizona occurred in urban areas. Most occurred when the weather was clear and it was daylight out.
Who Pays for a Bicyclist’s Injuries?
Determining fault in a bicycle accident can be hard. However, it is important to remember that bicyclists have both the same rights and obligations as do the operators of motor vehicles; the same traffic laws apply. It is therefore both parties’ responsibility to follow the rules of the road – when one party fails to do this, and an accident results as such, that party will be held liable.
If you have been in a bicycle accident that you believe was the fault of the other driver, then you will file a claim with that driver’s car insurance company, just as you would do if you were in a car accident while you were operating a motor vehicle. The at fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage is responsible for paying for your injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit for Compensation
In the event that you cannot reach a fair settlement amount with the at fault driver’s insurance company, you do have the right to pursue litigation. While litigation is not for everyone, it can help you to recover the full amount of compensation necessary to fully pay for your injuries. Because lawsuits can be very complex, it is recommended that you do not pursue a civil action without the guidance of an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
What If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?
Arizona does not have a statewide bicycle helmet law, although some municipalities within the state do have bicycle helmet laws (Phoenix is not one of them). This means that you will not receive a ticket at the time of your bike crash if you were not helmeted.
Despite the fact that there is no bicycle helmet law, your lack of a helmet at the time of your crash may affect your claim regardless if you sustained a head injury. Because it is common knowledge that a helmet protects your head, the insurance adjuster/the defense may argue that you were partially at fault for your head injuries because you failed to operate with “reasonable care” to protect your head by not wearing a helmet. If your injuries are not head injuries, then your use of a helmet, or lack thereof, will likely have little influence on your compensation amount.
Why You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney
The injuries sustained by a cyclist in a crash are often severe. For this reason, recovering compensation to pay for the full extent of losses that you have suffered may be essential to your recovery; you deserve the money you need to pay for treatment and help you to move your life forward. A Phoenix bicycle accident attorney can help to ensure that your best interests are protected during the claims process.