Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers
1.1% of all auto accidents in Pennsylvania in 2014 involved bicycles, which also accounted for 1.6% of all car accident related deaths. Children ages 5-14 were the most susceptible to death and injury while riding a bicycle, though bike riders between the ages of 15-19 accounted for 15.5% of all bike injuries as well. Bicycle accidents occurred most frequently during daylight hours, though 17.3% of all personal injuries involving bicycles occurred when it was dark out. The majority of bicycle versus car accidents occurred at 4-way intersections.
Rising gas prices, an increasing urban population and a variety of other factors have led to an increase in the number of people using bicycles to commute to and from work as well as just get around cities and towns. In fact, hundreds of Philadelphia residents each year elect to participate in Idego-Philly’s Bike Share instead of driving cars to and from Philadelphia locations.
As Philadelphia, PA personal injury attorneys who have represented many victims of car accidents involving bicycles, we are frequently alarmed to learn that many bike riders do not understand that they are bound by the same rules of the road applicable to those driving motor vehicles, such as motorcycles. We see bicyclists failing to stop at red lights, weaving in and out of city traffic, making illegal turns and generally disregarding traffic control devices and the rules of the road.
This is likely because there is no licensing requirement to ride a bicycle as there is to drive a car or motor vehicle, and thus bike riders are not required to learn the rules of the road. That said, many, if not most adult bicyclists are also licensed drivers, so it is also possible that they are simply choosing to disregard the motor vehicle laws.
Whatever the reason, recklessness on the part of bicycle riders is frequently the cause of Philadelphia car accidents. It is therefore important for all to understand that, if riding a bicycle, YOU MUST OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD the same as if you were operating a motor vehicle.
The following are some rules applicable to bicycle riders:
- All riders under 12 must wear a helmet
- A bicycle is considered a vehicle for purposes of Pennsylvania law. You must ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic lights and stop signs. You cannot ride against traffic.
- If you ride your bicycle between sunset and sunrise your bike must have a front lamp, and rear and side reflectors that are visible from at least 500 feet.
- You may generally ride your bike on a sidewalk-however, pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks and you must verbally notify a pedestrian as you approach and pass
- You may not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in a business district except where permitted by traffic control devices.
- You may not ride your bicycle on a sidewalk where there is a bicycle only lane available.
- Bicycles are not permitted on Pennsylvania freeways without PennDOT’s permission.
- You may ride a bicycle on the shoulder of the road depending on traffic conditions and other safety factors.
- Use hand signals when turning. To signal a left turn, extend your left arm horizontally. To signal a right turn, extend the right arm horizontally, or your left hand and arm upward. To notify drivers that you are stopping, extend your left hand and arm downward.
- If you are riding a bicycle and are involved in a car accident, your motor vehicle insurance company will pay for your medical treatment- assuming that own a vehicle and you have car insurance. If you do not have car insurance, you may seek medical benefits from the owner of the car who hit you, regardless of who was at fault. If the owner of the other vehicle has no car insurance, your health insurance carrier would be obligated to pay for your medical treatment following a bike accident.
Despite the fact that your motor vehicle insurance company may pay for your medical treatment following a bicycle accident, you will not be bound by the tort option contained in your insurance policy. What this means is that even if you have selected the limited tort option on your car insurance policy, you will not be bound by that selection if you are injured while riding a bicycle, and you will be able to pursue a claim for pain and suffering resulting from your injuries, in addition to all economic damages such as wage loss and out-of-pocket medical expenses, regardless of the severity of your injury.
Contact a Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers have handled many bicycle accident cases. Contact one of an experienced attorney at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC today or call (215) 875-7030 for a free consultation.