Given the severity of injuries often caused when a motor vehicle crashes into a bicycle, motorists should be even more cautious and exercise even greater care when bicycles are present on the roadway. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that over 90% of bicycle accidents are caused by operator error. Most of those errors, and the resulting crashes, are preventable.

Generally, when an operator commits an error and causes a bike accident, he or she is legally negligent and may be responsible for compensating the bicyclist injured in a crash. Even when there is no actual physical contact between the bike and motor vehicle, the driver of the vehicle may be responsible, and should be held accountable. For example, the bicycle accident lawyers at Clifford & Raihala have represented cyclists who were thrown over the handlebars when braking for a car that pulled out in front of the cycle, but the bike and car never actually collided. The car driver negligently failed to yield to the bicyclist’s right of way and was legally responsible for compensating the cyclist.

Negligent driver conduct causing bicycle accidents often involve the following:

  • Running through a red light or stop sign;
  • Making an illegal turn;
  • Failing to yield to the right of way of the bicycle;
  • Failing to maintain proper lookout or observation of the roadway;
  • Distracted driving including use of cell phone or tuning the radio;
  • Speeding or reckless driving.

Motor vehicle operators owe a duty to drive with due regard for the safety of bicycles sharing our roadways. Drivers can prevent bicycle accidents by taking a few reasonable, and required, steps:

  • Give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.
  • When turning left, watch out for and yield to the right of way to an oncoming bicyclist.
  • Practice caution when young cyclists are present.
  • When turning right, yield to any bicyclist on the right.
  • Do not pass a bicycle if you are about to turn right.
  • Put down the cell phone.
  • Slow down.

When a bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, she or he is likely to suffer not just physical injury, but the emotional pain and suffering that accompanies that traumatic event. The cyclist will likely suffer economic losses including lost wages, property damage and significant medical expenses. If you have suffered any losses or injuries in a bike accident, your attempts to seek compensation will involve fighting against in insurance company with large resources to fight your claim. Personal injury laws vary by state so it’s important that you choose an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, protect your rights by contacting a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer experienced and skilled in helping bicycle accident victims. Contact the bike accident lawyers at Clifford & Raihala for a free consultation.