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How Is Fault Determined in Bicycle Accidents?

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jun 26, 2017 in Auto Accidents

bicycle with bent wheelsIf you were injured in a bicycle accident, you might be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation from the driver. However, you must establish that the driver is at fault for the crash, which can be complicated.

The Fort Worth bicycle accident attorneys of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings have in-depth knowledge of how fault is determined in these cases. Below, our attorneys explain what you need to know about determining fault for a bicycle crash.

Bicycle Crashes and Traffic Laws

In many bicycle accidents, the at-fault party is the one that violated one or more traffic laws.

In many cases, the laws that were violated govern the right of way at intersections and in other situations. When a car or bicycle has the right of way, others sharing the road are required to yield.   

Typically, the right of way rules for drivers and bicyclists are the same. The Texas Transportation Code says bicyclists have the same duties as drivers unless stated otherwise, this includes obeying traffic lights and road signs.

There are also bicycle crashes caused by the failure of drivers to properly share the road with bicyclists. Sharing the road means that drivers must make room for bicyclists, provided riders are obeying traffic laws that apply to them riding in the street.

Section 551.103 of the Texas Transportation Code states that bicyclists who are traveling slower than other traffic on the roadway are required to ride as close to the edge of the roadway or curb as possible, with few exceptions, including if:

  • They are passing another vehicle moving in the same direction
  • They are preparing to turn left at an intersection
  • A fixed object, moving object or hazard prevents the rider from riding as close to the curb as possible
  • The bicyclist is riding in an outside lane that is less than 14 feet in width and does not have a bicycle lane or the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and motor vehicle to safely travel next to each other

Who is At Fault for These Common Bicycle Crashes?

Here are some common examples of bicycle accidents, along with explanations for how fault would be determined:

Crashes at Intersections with Stop Signs

There are some intersections where one lane of traffic does not have a stop sign while another lane does. Crashes often occur when bicyclists pull out in front of cars that have the right of way or when cars do not stop for bicyclists that have the right of way.

In these situations, fault is determined by who violated the right of way. If the bicyclist had a stop sign, he or she was required to stop and yield to any approaching cars that did not have stop signs.

If the bicyclist had no stop sign and the car did, the driver would be at fault for not yielding to the bicyclist.  

Crashes at Four-Way Stops

In these situations, crashes often occur when bicycles attempt to cross an intersection or make a turn.

Under the law, the vehicle that arrives first has the right of way, whether it is a car or bicycle. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. If the intersection connects a major street to a minor street, traffic on the major street usually has the right of way.

Crashes Where Drivers Fail to Share the Road

Some bicycle accidents occur when cars hit riders who are traveling on the roadside.

Section 551.103 explains that riders must travel as close to the side of the road as possible. However, there are exceptions, such as when riders are making left turns or passing vehicles or other objects or hazards.

Fault will be determined based on whether the rider had the right to be there. If the rider had a right to be there, the driver will likely be at fault. If the rider should not have been there, he or she could be at fault.

Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation Today

Bicycle accidents can cause a variety of severe injuries that could affect your health for a long time, creating expensive medical bills.  

The attorneys at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages experienced by crash victims.

We are experienced in establishing fault in bike accident cases and are prepared to conduct a thorough investigation to collect evidence in support of your claim.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team today. You will be under no obligation to continue pursuing a lawsuit with our firm. Should you decide to, we work on contingency, meaning you will only owe legal fees if we are able to recover compensation for you.

Contact our firm today to find out how we can help you.