Bike riding is an activity that’s fun, inexpensive, and something you can do all year. Unfortunately, bike riding also comes with its share of dangers because of inattentive drivers, cyclists, and hazardous road conditions.
The U.S. averages 49,000 bicycle injuries per year. An overwhelming number of these accidents are preventable.
Though we hope you’ll be safe, if you do find yourself in a bicycle accident, below we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about your legal rights.
What are common causes of bicycle accidents?
- Car and bike operator carelessness
- Being rear-ended by a vehicle
- Being sideswiped by a vehicle
- The door of a vehicle is suddenly opened
- Hitting potholes
What are the upfront legal costs?
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. That means attorney’s fees are not owed unless we recover compensation for you. You have no upfront cost, and your initial consultation is free.
How long do I have to file a claim for a bicycle injury?
Alabama’s statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of the accident.
If I am hit by a motor vehicle, am I considered a pedestrian?
No. In Alabama, cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as drivers. This means you are treated as a motor vehicle. For instance, if you go through a red light and are injured, you could be found liable for your injuries.
What should I do if I am injured in a bike accident?
First and foremost, seek medical attention for yourself and anyone hurt. Make sure you cooperate with the police but do not admit fault or possible traffic violations without first talking with a personal injury lawyer. Get the driver’s name and insurance information and the names of any passengers.
What is a common bicycle accident injury?
Bicycle accident injuries can range from minor ones, like bruising and skin abrasions, to major ones, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, and death.
What are my legal obligations as a bicycle rider?
- Cyclists must ride on the right side of the road.
- If a bike path is available, use that instead of the road.
- No more than two bicycle riders can ride alongside each other in the same lane.
- At night a bike must have a white headlamp or light that can be seen from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red rear reflector that can be seen from 100 to 600 feet.
- Riders below the age of sixteen must wear a bicycle helmet.
Alabama follows the rule of contributory negligence, which means someone who is even slightly responsible for causing their own injury might not receive compensation from someone who is also partly responsible. The obligations above aren’t a complete list, so bike riders should educate themselves on all traffic laws and regulations.
The Alabama Department of Transportation compiled data for their annual Crash Facts report. In 2020, there were 220 accidents involving cyclists. One hundred sixty-eight (168) of them were injured, and eight (8) cyclists were killed. Fourteen percent (14%) of cycling accidents in the state occur on rural routes and 86% on urban streets.
Both cyclists and drivers should be hyperaware. Be attentive, cautious, and courteous. If there is an accident, it is important that you seek medical attention for any injuries you might have.
A seemingly minor injury could be more severe than you realize. Also, after a bicycle crash, seek the counsel of an attorney to help you understand your legal options.
If you or someone you know has been injured while cycling, please contact the law office of Timberlake & League for a free consultation. We can help.