The Basics of Bicycle Accidents

The Basics of Bicycle Accidents

When bicyclists collide with cars, the bicyclist is often badly injured or even killed. Many of the same laws that govern car-on-car accidents also apply to accidents involving one or more cars and one or more cyclists. Liability is often determined by negligence. Judges and juries look at whether the driver or the bicyclist was at fault for the accident. The Las Vegas personal injury lawyers from Bertoldo, Baker, Carter, & Smith can help during a bicycle accident.

Bicycle Accident Liability

Bicyclists, like drivers, must obey the rules of the road. That means they must follow traffic laws and exercise due care to keep themselves and others safe while on the road. State and local traffic laws apply to bicycle accidents.

Bikes and Negligence

When a bicyclist sues for damages he or she sustained in an accident, the judge and jury will look at whether the driver's recklessness or negligence caused the accident and whether the bicyclist contributed to or resulted in the accident through recklessness or negligence.

Facts, including witness testimony and other evidence, must usually be produced for a defendant to win a liability case. "Negligence per se" is a term often invoked in these cases, and it means that documented violation of a traffic law, like speeding, can be construed as negligence. If a defendant was speeding when the accident occurred, that could compromise his or her case.

When Cyclists Are Negligent

Drivers are not the only ones who can be found negligent under the law. Cyclists, too, can be found negligent if they go the wrong way down a one-way street, run a stop sign, or turn into traffic abruptly.

If a cyclist has been driving negligently, he or she may not be able to successfully sue for damages he or she sustained on the road. Cyclists can be found guilty of "contributory or comparative negligence" which means that the cyclist's behavior caused or contributed to making the accident happen. Negligent cyclists can also be held liable for the injuries or another cyclist or driver. When a child on a bicycle is injured, however, courts hold those driving the car to a higher standard.


When cars and bikes collide, serious injuries and death can occur. Courts deciding who is liable in such cases will look for negligence in the actions of the driver and those of the bicyclist. Traffic violations often constitute negligence, and both drivers and bicyclists are responsible for obeying traffic laws. Most courts will not find the absence of a bicycle helmet an act of negligence.

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