At Nuñez & Associates, we fully support the bicycle movement. It helps the environment, reduces traffic and is great for your health. So when a bicyclist is injured due to the negligence, carelessness or outright rage of a motorist, we’re eager to help.
Before you file a claim, though, it’s important to remember that as the one filing, it’s your responsibility to prove you have a case. Not everybody is sympathetic to bicyclists, though, which makes it all that much more important to have a good attorney in your corner.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, request your free consultation today. We’ll help you gather evidence, develop a plan, negotiate with the insurance companies, and file a suit if necessary. Our experienced attorneys will be by your side every step of the way.
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Arizona’s climate, though very hot in the summer months, is conducive for bicycle riding. Many urban areas have met the demand for recreational and commuter riding by constructing bicycle trails and special bike lanes that motorists have to avoid unless making right turns.
Unfortunately, bicycle riders are at the mercy of inattentive, angry or intoxicated motorists who either fail to see a bike rider, ignore them or purposely get too close to a rider because they may be hogging the road. In any event, even minor collisions can result in a bike rider suffering serious and traumatic injuries.
Riders who take special precautions such as having prominent lights on their bikes when riding at night, obeying the traffic laws, and wearing a helmet along with brightly colored clothing are less likely to be in an accident. However, there are situations where riders are injured nonetheless, regardless of the safety measures they have followed.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tell part of the story:
- 900 riders were in accidents with motor vehicles in 2013
- 40% of fatal accidents occur when a motor vehicle rear ends a bicyclist
- The average age of fatal bicycle accident victims is over 40
- Nearly 70% of accidents are in urban areas; in Arizona the figure is over 90%
- 80% of those killed in bicycle accidents were male
Data from the Arizona Department of Transportation showed that in 2013, 1,679 bicyclists suffered injuries on an Arizona roadway, with 30 fatalities. Obviously, there are concerns about bicycle safety when riders share the road with motorists.
Bicyclists have as much of a right to use city streets as cars. And while bike lanes offer a layer of safety for bicyclists, motorists can still ignore or fail to see bicyclists in those lanes.
Responsibility of Motorists
Motorists have a duty to be vigilant and to maintain a lookout for other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, and to operate a car as a reasonably cautious driver under similar circumstances.
Drivers are expected only to enter designated bike lanes after first signaling and before turning. When doing so, a reasonably prudent driver should look before turning to ensure that bicyclists are not at risk.
Road rage or frustration can target bicycle riders also if a motorist feels a bicyclist is hogging the road and may deliberately get too close, causing a rear-end accident
Injuries and Compensation for Bicycle Accident Victims
Bicycle accidents can cause serious bodily injuries, not unlike those suffered by motorcycle riders. These include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Severe lacerations and skin abrasions
- Facial fractures
- Pelvis and femur fractures
Compensation can come from the negligent driver’s insurer once the victim proves liability. If the driver was not insured or possessed minimal liability coverage, which is $15,000/$30,000 in Arizona, you can still collect compensation if you own a car and have uninsured and underinsured coverage. These coverages should be in an amount appropriate to protect you and your family in case of a traumatic bike injury with a motor vehicle.
Damages include financial loss, past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and spousal claims for loss of consortium.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled bicycle accident claims to ensure you receive the appropriate compensation for your accident.