Don’t Wheel Around With Bicycle Accidents

They're a great source of recreation and exercise. They're being used more and more often as transportation for work and for commerce transactions. And even the most ardent climate change denier wouldn't dispute the "greenness" of bicycling.

But while this surge in bicycling brings many benefits, problems and questions accompany it too. Chief among these is how exactly a bicycle should be classified. It's always been regarded as a mode of transportation. And because of changes to bicycles' designs and speeds over the years, bicyclists have a lot more riding options than in years past. This includes traveling in areas once dominated by what could be classified as "traditional vehicles". As a result, bicycles both in the United States and abroad are officially considered vehicles and are expected to follow the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators.

As a bicyclist you may be thinking that if you are an obedient rider and fall victim to a roadway accident, you'll be protected as would any other vehicle operator under similar circumstances. Why would you particularly need the services of an accident lawyer? It's true that bicycles are considered vehicles in all fifty states. But the rules governing their operation and the rights of both cyclists and motorists can vary greatly from state to state and in some cases, between municipalities in the same state. These regulations are often difficult for laypeople to understand and interpret correctly. This is why the services of a personal injury lawyer can be essential in making sure that a bicyclist is protected in an accident. It would seem fairly obvious that in a car vs. bicycle or car vs. pothole encounter that the bicyclist won't be the winner. It wouldn't seem that an injury lawyer would be necessary to get compensation for that rider.

But as a personal injury attorney knows, being struck or falling off of that bicycle is just the beginning. Unlike with motor vehicles, there's nothing to protect a bicyclist after impact but a helmet, which means that injuries can be both significant and not immediately apparent. If a vehicle operator, property owner, municipality, etc. is found to be at fault in such an accident, who pays for property and medical damages? "Their insurance company," is the usual response. And it's certainly true that driving policies make provisions for car-bike encounters. However, car-bike collisions are not as common as one might think. So to protect themselves, adult bicyclists should always purchase some form of insurance for their bicycle, whether it's through a renter's, homeowner's, or auto (even if a motor vehicle isn't actually being driven) insurance policy. But even after making sure to be self-insured, a bicyclist often still needs the services of an accident lawyer. Why?

Unless a bicycle accident victim is lucky enough to have witnesses and/or a preponderance of evidence, it falls to the bicyclist to make the case for damages. Unless it's a strong one, many insurance companies will limit payment, or deny it all together. And an accident case that ends up in court without sufficient preparation often doesn't fair well for a bicyclist either, since courts have been statistically shown to be prejudiced against the bicycle rider.

So should an "easy pedaler" have to settle for pain and damages after an accident? Not at all. After such a mishap, a rider should first contact police and request both a report filing and evidence (including photos) collection. A medical exam should be conducted, even in the absence of apparent injury. And in the absence of "open and shut" cases, the services of a personal injury attorney should be sought. This attorney can interpret state regulations, interview witnesses, and collect evidence for the rider. That attorney can also file documents and negotiate settlements for the rider as well. So with the help of such an attorney, bicycle riders can focus on recovery and enjoying the pleasures that this type of traveling brings.

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