The nationwide increase in bicycle use is good for our pockets, good for our health, and good for our environment. As with most things in life, however, the growth in bicycling popularity comes with some growing pains. More cyclists on the roads means more accidents. Many cities, Boston included, are spending significant time, money, and resources to improve bicycle safety; the installation of bicycle lanes and enforcement of laws intended to protect bicyclists are examples. But accidents still happen. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.
Bicyclists Must Follow the Rules of the Road
In the last few years, many new laws have been enacted for the purpose of protecting bicyclists, but that doesn’t mean they can behave negligently or recklessly. Generally speaking, bicyclists are held to the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. They must share the road, obey traffic signs, signal when turning, yield when appropriate, and stop at red lights and stop signs. And their responsibilities don’t end there. Cyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in most areas, and they must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
If a bicyclist ignores any of the above rules, or behaves negligently or recklessly, he or she may wind up in court. For example, if a bicyclist fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the resulting collision causes injuries to the pedestrian, the bicyclist can be found liable. The same is true if a bicyclist rides into a busy intersection while texting and causes an accident. Long story short, bicyclists are held to the same liability standards as pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers; the at-fault party will be liable for damages and injuries that may arise.
Tips for Proving Fault in a Bicycle-Traffic Accident Case
Yes, bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road just like everyone else. And yes, they can be found liable if they fail to do so. However, proving that a bicyclist is at fault is not always an easy task. The following tips can help prove fault:
- File a police report. This will contain details from the scene of the accident, including whether any traffic laws were broken.
- Obtain witness statements and ask for witness contact information.
- Take photos of the accident scene. The more photos, the better. Photograph from multiple angles, and don’t just take pictures of property damage and injuries. Contributing factors, such as slick roads or a stop sign blocked by a tree can also be useful.
- Obtain the cyclist’s contact information, and ask if he or she has insurance coverage. Some bicyclist insurance policies cover damage to other vehicles.