Bicycle Accident Overview
Pennsylvanians ride bicycles to get to work and school and for fitness and recreational purposes. Regardless of why they ride, they may be involved in a bicycle accident, so it is important to understand PA bicycle laws and the role played by a bicycle injury lawyer when those accidents occur.
This article answers many of your questions for those involved in a bicycle accident. For those who have not been in an accident, it will increase your awareness of bicycle accidents and help prevent you from becoming involved in a bicycle accident as a motor vehicle driver or bicyclist.
Bicycle Accident Statistics for PA
It helps to understand the frequency of bicycle accidents and the conditions and locations in which they occur. Although bicycle accidents are infrequent, they can have severe effects.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, bicycle crashes represented 0.6% of all crashes in PA and 2.0% of all traffic fatalities in 2021. While these numbers are low, they represented 24 bicycle fatalities and 754 injuries in a single year. Among the fatalities were people of all ages, including a child under five and individuals older than 75.
Causes and Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as vehicle drivers and should follow all relevant laws. Nevertheless, bicycle-motor vehicle accidents often result from:
- Distracted driving (such as mobile phone use)
- Impaired visibility (especially after dark)
- Failure to yield at intersections
- Road conditions (such as potholes)
In collisions involving a motor vehicle and a bicyclist, the bicyclist is the most likely to be injured. The injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to fractures, spinal cord, head, and neck injuries, and even death.
Since no one wants to be involved in an accident while riding their bike, please follow NHTSA’s bicycle safety recommendations.
Determining Liability in a Bicycle Accident
As a bicyclist in Pennsylvania, you should do everything you can to prevent accidents (by following PA bicycle laws) and minimize their impact (wearing a helmet).
Pennsylvania applies the rule of comparative fault or negligence when determining liability and any reward that may result from a lawsuit. For example, a bicyclist riding safely and complying with all PA bicycle laws who happens to be struck by a vehicle will likely not be considered a contributor to the accident.
On the other hand, if a bicyclist does not maintain their bicycle and a brake failure leads to an accident, the bicyclist will likely be considered a contributor to the accident. Under both situations, the bicyclist’s percentage of responsibility for the accident — their comparative fault – will be determined and used when considering potential compensation.
Determining Bicycle Accident Compensation
In Pennsylvania, the party that caused the accident is liable for the injuries and damage that may have occurred. However, suppose an accident occurs in which no one is at fault other than the bicyclist. In that case, the bicyclist’s health insurance may cover the costs related to their injuries. In addition, their homeowners’ policy may cover other damage.
Bicycle accidents in Pennsylvania involving motor vehicles are covered by auto insurance, but determining who is at fault and the associated liability can be complicated, especially in the case of hit-and-run accidents. Depending on many factors, compensation may be available to cover damages, medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic factors such as pain and suffering.
To sort through these issues, we recommend seeking legal assistance from the Sharma Law Office, an Easton personal injury lawyer, or another experienced professional in your area.
Take the First Step With Sharma Law Office
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident or need an Easton personal injury attorney, our team at the Sharma Law Office is ready to offer assistance. If you need legal help, do not hesitate to contact us today.