There are many types of bicycle accidents involving automobiles. A dooring happens when another individual occupying or entering a vehicle opens their door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist. Most people won’t know what to do if a car hits a bicycle, or vice versa. Although we often think of car crashes as caused by vehicles and trucks, there have been bicycle accidents solely caused by the rider, or due to torn-up roads (poor road maintenance.). In 2020, around 10% of Americans rode bicycles for the first time, as opposed to the 80s, when almost everyone had ridden a bike by the time they were grown-ups. This new rider fad has prompted many drivers to be more cautious when interacting with cyclists.
This ultimate guide aims to help drivers learn about car and bike accidents. It also provides advice on how to respond to such incidents from a top Los Angeles bicycle lawyer.
Understanding Causation – Car Bicycle Accidents
The main factors contributing to car-bicycle accidents have been identified and detailed in the sections below.
Alcohol bike accident
In most cases, drunk driving is a contributing factor to car accidents involving bicycles. According to the NHTSA, about 34% of all cyclist fatalities were caused by drunk drivers. In most cases, the driver’s blood-alcohol levels were over 0.08 percent. Of course, the bicycle rider is sometimes high on drugs or drunk. Either way, a bicycle accident lawyer and a criminal defense attorney may be needed. As you can see, a bicycle accident involving alcohol could lead to lost wages and medical bills.
Cyclists are prone to getting into motor vehicle accidents when intoxicated, also known as BWI. It is also much easier to be in a fatal crash. A study revealed that 15% of the injuries suffered by bike riders were caused by alcohol consumption. It’s hazardous to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, and this increases the risk of getting into a wreck.
A location like a bike lane accident scene
The location of the car and the bicycle can affect how often a cyclist gets hit. The accident scene can play a role in who is at fault and why. According to the NHTSA, 79% of fatal accidents for cyclists happen in urban areas, while 21% happen in rural settings, with most caused by driver negligence.
Also, cyclists are more prone to getting hit in a car crash from a distance rather than at an intersection. A personal injury claim will often involve serious injuries, with car drivers relatively insulated from crashing, such as when running traffic lights, etc. In California, a bicycle is also included as a pedestrian motor vehicle accident in CHP statistics.
Day and Time of Day
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most dangerous time for bike riders is between 6 and 9 pm. This period is when fatal accidents are most likely to occur. The agency cited various factors, such as increased rush hour traffic and the lack of visibility as night falls. A negligent driver would be liable for your property damage, medical treatment, and other fair compensation, including your trip to the emergency room.
Wrong Bike Lanes and Poor Infrastructure
A bicycle’s chances of being hit by a car are significantly higher in certain areas due to the lack of bike lanes. This issue can increase the interaction between drivers and riders. In addition, if the streets aren’t made to accommodate bicycles and cars, this can increase accidents.
Although each factor may be problematic on its own, an overlap may lead to various and sometimes fatal injuries.
Auto Operator Negligence or Recklessness
Sometimes, cars hit cyclists because the driver doesn’t pay attention to the road or drives carelessly. Incidents may also involve aggressive behavior toward the bike riders and mistakes such as the driver opening the door or moving into the sidewalk or bike lane without ensuring that no one else is around.
When they feel a car driver is negligent or reckless, they are typically held responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from their actions. Their insurance companies will pay for the expenses caused by accident. If the incident is severe, the driver could face jail time or even hundreds of dollars in fines.
Bicycle Operator Negligence
While drivers are expected to look for both bicycles and pedestrians, they are not always responsible for the actions of cyclists.
- Cyclists should refrain from riding in bike lanes or designated spaces.
- Cyclists and motorists should also refrain from disregarding traffic signals and signs.
- Before making a turn, cyclists should not signal drivers.
- Failure to yield to traffic
- Cyclists should also ride in the direction of vehicles oncoming.
Taking poor actions while riding makes the roads more dangerous for bike riders and contributes to the development of unsafe roads for everyone. If a cyclist causes or witnesses an accident due to their negligence, they will most likely be held liable for the damage it causes.
Who Is To Blame For Bicycle Dooring Incidents?
An analysis of the data collected from Chicago bike crashes in 2011 revealed that there were about 344 incidents involving dooring, a type of collision that occurs when a vehicle’s door is opened. Doorings constituted 19.7% of all the reported bike crashes. In San Francisco, in 2016, the transportation agency said that the cyclist was not at fault in about 16% of the incidents involving fatal or bike-car severe accidents.
A study conducted in 2015 by the City of Vancouver revealed that doorings were responsible for over 20% of all bike-related collisions in the city. It also noted that the injuries caused by these accidents were the most common cause of emergency department visits involving people opening their doors while walking in traffic. The issue led to various statutes mandating the punishment of those who do so.
Although it’s usually easier to determine fault when a car is involved in an accident due to a driver opening their door without checking their shoulder, it can be more challenging in situations such as when the vehicle is parked, and the passenger is inside. In most cases, the person who opened the door will be responsible for the accident. The passenger and the driver should always keep their surroundings in mind when swinging open their car doors.
While it’s usually easier to determine fault when a car is involved in an accident due to a driver opening their door without checking their shoulder, it can be more challenging when the passenger is inside. Typically liability will be argued between your bicycle lawyer and the insurance adjuster.
In some cases, the person who opened the door may be held responsible for the accident if the other party fails to pay attention. For instance, if a cyclist ignored the road and didn’t swerve to avoid hitting the car, the person who opened the door may be liable for their negligence after the rider has their injuries evaluated in the immediate aftermath of a crash.
Alcohol and Drug DUI Incidents
When it comes to car-bicycle collisions, driving under the influence of alcohol can significantly impact the outcome. Not only are they liable for the damages caused by accident, but they can also face more severe criminal charges. Usually, a first-offense DUI charge is treated as a misdemeanor. However, in some instances, such as when the driver endangers another person, an offense of aggravated DUI can be brought.
When a car hits a bicycle, its impact and crash can result in a felony charge if the driver has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This would result in severe fines and jail time for the individual.
In certain states, it can be very challenging to determine which party is liable for a car-bicycle collision due to the cyclist’s intoxication. For instance, in some jurisdictions, operating a bike while intoxicated is considered a criminal offense.
If the cyclist was intoxicated at the time of the collision, the driver may be able to argue that they should not have to pay for the cyclist’s damages. It could also allow them to seek restitution or compensation from the individual.
What to Do When a Car Hits a Bicycle
When getting involved in a car accident while biking, the cyclist will most likely ask the driver’s insurance company for their information. Even though it’s not always possible for bike owners to have insurance, it’s still possible, especially if the bike has been stolen or damaged. This means that it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the cyclist to ask if they have insurance.
It’s always important to seek medical assistance immediately after an injury occurs, especially when the effects of a concussion aren’t apparent. Both parties should also contact the hospital or police if they believe they have been seriously injured. The negligent party may be damaged as well, so call the police to make a police report and make sure everyone is ok!
If the open-door accident goes to court, it’s best to consult an attorney about the details of the lawsuit, the type of case, and what should be done. Sometimes victims will have expensive treatment out of pocket, and bicyclists have no choice but to present an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions About 2023 Bike Laws (FAQs)
What if you accidentally run into a bicycle rider with your automobile?
If you fail to check for a bicycle or open your door to traffic when it’s unsafe, you could be liable in most cases. However, in rare cases, some claim the cyclist is at fault because of their negligence. This is a matter you must not discuss. Please don’t speak about it with anyone but your lawyer.
What if a cyclist runs into your car?
If a cyclist is found under the influence of alcohol when they hits the car, the driver will not be held liable. The rider may be filled with a combination of alcohol and adrenaline. Even if they wore a helmet, it might have offered little protection when the rider was struck. No amount of safety gear can prevent bad injuries when riding a bike or even being run over while walking on sidewalks or in a crosswalk.
Is It Ever a Draw?
If evidence of a cyclist’s behavior contributed to an accident, the trial court might find them liable for the other party’s comparative negligence. This means that if the cyclist’s negligence is the sole cause of the accident, they are held accountable for the difference. These are the rules called Pure Comparative Negligence.
Why don’t the police write Bicycle Accident in the Police Report?
Even if no passengers or other cars are involved in the accident, it is still referred to as a car accident. Lawyers distinguish the names, but law enforcement doesn’t.
What if a bike rider negligently strikes your open car door?
Make sure you immediately call 911 if a cyclist needs medical attention after running into your vehicle’s door. Also, follow up, record any damage, and provide insurance information or documentation.
Do bike riders typically carry insurance?
Although bicycles do not usually need insurance, owners should still take the necessary steps to protect themselves from potential damage or theft.
We just learned the latest information and tips about Los Angeles bicycle accidents for 2023. If you or someone you love was in a bicycle collision, contact our Los Angeles bicycle lawyers 24/7 at (833) LETS-SUE.
Author: Michael Ehline is a writer, journalist, and lawyer in Los Angeles, CA. When he’s not tracking the impact of artificial intelligence on our lives and freedoms or the latest in civil rights and personal injury law, Michael is cheering on the LA Lakers while planning his next international adventure. Michael can handle any serious injury case. “There is no problem, only a solution.”