Motorists are required by law to share the road with bicyclists, and riders are required to follow the same laws of the road as drivers. Drivers should give riders a wide berth, but riders should also obey all traffic signals and use crosswalks whenever they’re available. This set of laws is known as “sharing the road.” Unfortunately, motorists don’t always take these rules to heart.
If you were recently hit while riding a bicycle, give us a call today. Our experienced Kansas City accident attorneys can help get you back on your feet.
What Are the Most Common Bicycle Accidents?
Bike accidents can happen in a myriad of different ways. Sometimes the motorist acts negligently, while other situations involve negligent bicyclists. Several standout types of accidents commonly occur on roadways.
The Right Cross
This occurs when a car pulls out of a side street or driveway to the bicyclist’s right. The bicyclist maintains its route while passing in front of the opening where the car is pulling up. The car continues to travel forward, hitting the bicyclist.
The Right Hook
The right hook occurs when a bicyclist and a driver both attempt to make a right-hand turn. Commonly a result of negligence, the driver hits the bicyclist while completing their turn.
The Door Prize
This occurs when a parked driver opens their door, hitting a bicyclist in travel.
The Rear End
This common accident occurs when a vehicle rear-ends a bicyclist. This can occur after the bicyclist lane changes or when stopping at traffic signals when a driver does not provide enough space between their car and the bike.
The Left Cross
This occurs when a bicyclist attempts to cross the street during their right-of-way. A car that is turning from the adjacent left-turn lane hits the bicyclist as they exit the intersection, completing their turn.
Driver negligence is a common cause of these bicycle accidents, though aggressive driving on the bicyclist's part can also cause the same issues. Some accidents, like the door prize, are unexpected and not easily avoidable by the biker. But others, like the right cross, could also result from a biker who overzealously tries to overtake a car during the turn. Riding recklessly by taking part in behavior – like speeding or doing tricks – can also cause accidents because the bicyclist’s actions become unpredictable to the drivers around them.
Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Bike accidents can occur on any roadway, but the most common location for them to happen is near road junctions. Seventy-five percent of all bike accidents occur in locations like these, which is evident in the most common accident types discussed previously. Most bike-related accidents happen in intersections, or where drivers find themselves pulling up to, and out of, a location or other roadway.
Law enforcement notes most the reason cited most often for accidents is a failure to properly scan the environment by either the driver or the bicyclist. A lack of attention when pulling up to an intersection prevents either individual from seeing everything around them. This is dangerous at intersections where pedestrian crossing and yielded right and left-hand turns are taking place in normal traffic.
What Should You Do After a Kansas City Bike Accident?
Bike accidents can be debilitating depending on the individual context. Therefore, the first thing a bicyclist should do is call the police and obtain emergency medical assistance if necessary. Riders should also call the police if minor injuries occur. It is important to request a copy of the officer’s police report after involving the authorities.
While awaiting law enforcement, exchange insurance information with the driver involved. Record their car information as well, including their vehicle identification number (VIN) if the driver is uninsured.
If you are well enough, gather evidence. This means approaching nearby witnesses and asking for their contact information, taking pictures of the location and damages caused by the accident, and even recording your own account of the event.
Having a solid account of an accident makes giving your statement to insurance companies and other involved parties easier. Notably, it prevents your story from changing as your memory becomes less fresh. This acts as insurance for yourself because you won’t have to worry about answering questions about faulty details when you truly might not remember certain things.
After leaving the scene, take several days to 1) get your injuries examined and treated and 2) call your insurance company to notify them of the accident. Some car insurance companies offer bike-related accident coverage, but not all do. In some cases, bicyclists might want to contact an attorney to see if they have grounds to file a personal injury claim to address their damages.
Who Is At-Fault in a Bike Accident?
The at-fault party in a bike accident is not always straightforward, especially because Kansas follows comparative negligence laws. These laws dictate how the court decides the percentage of blame each party shares in the incident. Kansas practices modified comparative fault, meaning the plaintiff can recover damages only if their fault rating is below 50%. Though Kansas doesn’t deem either party as solely at-fault, the court does separate each party by dictating who can press charges and who cannot.
Do You Need a Kansas City Bike Accident Lawyer?
A bike accident lawyer is not always necessary, but they are an invaluable means of consult when negotiating settlements. When pressing charges, a claim does not immediately go to court. Oftentimes, the defendant’s insurance company negotiates a settlement, or dollar figure, via claims adjusters.
Because claims adjusters’ jobs are not to help you gain the most compensation out of a case, they can tend to work in the interest of their employers – insurance companies. Inexperienced plaintiffs fall victim to claims adjusters, especially when they immediately place an offer on the table. A claimant without an understanding of how to calculate their damages could accept the offer immediately, even though the first offer is generally lower than the amount you might get with an experienced attorney.
Hiring a skilled attorney who is familiar with personal injury law helps in more aspects than settlement negotiation. Lawyers launch investigations into their cases. They offer resources and services like witness interviewing, contacting expert witnesses, investigating accident scenes, and more. Essentially, an attorney comes with a multitude of tools and advice that can propel your case to success.
Bike accidents can cause extreme damage due to the immense differences between motor vehicles and bikes. Though both parties can sustain damage, more than likely the bicyclist will sustain more severe injury. If you were involved in a bike accident, consult an attorney via free consultation to inquire about what steps to take in addressing your damages.
Have You Or a Loved One Been Injured In A Kansas City, Missouri Bicycle Accident?
If you've been hurt in a Kansas City area bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.