North Carolina offers a wealth of bicycle routes, bike trails and urban bicycling routes to residents and tourists alike. The unfortunate reality is that whether one rides for recreation, transportation or exercise, bicycling can be a dangerous — and sometimes deadly — activity, especially if distracted motorists are present on the roadway.
If you or someone close to you has been injured while riding a bicycle in North Carolina, contact our lawyers today. We offer free consultations and accept cases throughout North Carolina. We also accept cases nationally.
Bicycling is an enjoyable way to get active and exercise. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are prevalent in North Carolina due to distracted drivers. The most common cause of bicycle accidents is speeding by automobiles.
Below is a list of some of the more common causes of bicycle accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.
The most common cause of bicycle accidents is speeding. Speeding is a contributing factor to over half of all bicycle accidents. Speeding vehicles is the leading cause of death among bicyclists.
A third of all bicycle accidents occur on poorly maintained roads. A large number of these accidents occur at intersections. Improperly maintained roads can include potholes and cracks in the street.These cases often involve complex governmental immunity claims, and as such it is highly recommended to speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
Another very common cause of bike accidents in North Carolina is distracted driving. Texting and driving or driving while on a phone call happens far too often. These activities lead to vehicles cutting off cyclists, and not recognizing their existence and sharing the road.
This is a collision between a bicycle and a car or other vehicle when the vehicle does not give the right of way to the bicycle. Given the natural lack of protection of a cyclist, any impact can result in severe injury or even death to the cyclist.
Some drivers do not share the road with cyclists by ignoring the bicycle lane. Often cars turning right fail to check their wing mirror for cyclists approaching on their right at intersections. This results in several accidents.
Lane changes are another area where motor vehicle drivers fail to recognize a bicycle or cyclist making a lane change. This often results in cutting off the cyclist and knocking them to the side, which often results in injuries.
In a bicycle-motor vehicle collision, bicyclists are frequently injured because they lack protection against impact forces. Bicyclists are exposed to high energy levels during crashes, and even when wearing a helmet, a cyclist is particularly vulnerable.
The injury severity depends upon several factors, including the type of accident, the speed of the bike, safety gear, the speed of the vehicle, the size of the object striking the cyclist and the body's position relative to the direction of travel. Most commonly, bicyclists suffer blunt force trauma to the head. Injuries may include:
Internal organ damage can occur due to compression, crushing, or tearing. Spinal cord injuries can occur due to hyperextension or hyperflexion of the neck.
If you're riding a bicycle, you're subject to the same traffic rules as motorists. You have a legal right to use the roadways and are responsible for following those rules. Motorists also have obligations to treat bicycles as other vehicles on the road. North Carolina law requires bicyclists to stay within bike lanes (where available), obey traffic signals and follow the speed limit. A motorist approaching a cyclist from behind should reduce speed and give ample space.
Unless you are under 16, you don't have to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but it's strongly recommended. Helmets protect against head injuries caused by accidents with objects such as motor vehicles, trees, signs and curbs. In addition, helmets can help prevent serious brain injury in crashes involving high speeds and hard impacts.
The types of compensation available in a bicycle accident claim depend on several factors, including who is at fault, whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet, how severe the injuries are and the insurance coverage available.
In most cases, cyclists can receive compensation for medical expenses related to treatment, lost wages due to missed workdays, and pain and suffering.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you deserve full compensation for your pain and suffering. In our experience, however, insurance companies will often try not to pay most claims.
Our attorneys are experienced in handling bicycle accident claims and and leave no stone unturned in hunting down evidence. We will use photographs, witness statements, police reports, GoPro camera footage, surveillance camera footage, dash cam footage and other evidence to prove cases for our clients. We understand cyclists and how to represent them in injury cases.
The consequences of being involved in a bicycle accident can be very severe. Some of the possible outcomes include:
Several North Carolina laws apply to bicycle accidents. Some of these laws are designed to protect bicyclists, while others are designed to protect motorists.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists and are subject to traffic laws. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and ride in a single file when riding on a road with traffic. Motor vehicles must treat cyclists like any other motor vehicle.
Many things can be done to prevent bicycle accidents. One of the most important things is ensuring that all cyclists are adequately trained to ride their bikes safely. This includes knowing how to signal when they are turning, yield to pedestrians and other cyclists, and stay aware of their surroundings at all times.
Another important thing that can be done to prevent bicycle accidents is to ensure that motorists are aware of cycling lanes, and receive the proper training to recognize how to drive with cyclists.