Bicycle accidents often due to the negligence of automobile drivers

When a bicycle suffers a collision with a motor vehicle, the results are often fatal. It is an all-too-common occurrence, as a recent news story demonstrates.

According to CBS Boston, on October 11, 2013, a man was riding his bicycle in Middleboro, Massachusetts, when he was struck and killed on Wood Road near his home.

The victim’s family said the 58-year-old man had already suffered through a lot of challenges in his life. He was a liver transplant recipient who nearly died last year from complications but eventually recovered. The motor vehicle collision cut short his second chance at life.

Bicycling accidents and fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 700 bicyclists were killed and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2011, making up two percent of all people injured in traffic crashes during the year. Sixty-nine percent of the fatalities occurred in urban areas like Boston. The majority of fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., when many commuter bicyclists are returning home from work.

The NHTSA provides the following safety reminders to motor vehicle drivers:

  • Drivers of motor vehicles must share the road with bicyclists.
  • Motor vehicle drivers should be courteous.
  • A driver should allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
  • A driver should look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
  • A driver should yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
  • Drivers should be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.

Unfortunately, many motor vehicle drivers either do not follow or actively disregard this common-sense advice, leading to serious injuries and even death. A National Safety Council report estimates that the total cost of bicyclist injuries and death is more than $4 billion per year.

Under the law, motorists are required to exercise reasonable care to avoid collision with bicyclists. What is considered to be reasonable care required of a motorist so as to avoid striking a bicyclist depends on the place, circumstances, conditions and surroundings. In general, the motorist must drive at a reasonable rate of speed, maintain an adequate lookout, and keep his or her vehicle under control, while obeying the rules of the road. When a driver fails to observe one or more of these criteria and a bicycle accident occurs, the driver may be liable.

The compensation you deserve

If you or a loved one are injured while riding a bicycle due to the negligence of another driver, it is important that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries or loss. Seek an experienced personal injury attorney who will thoroughly investigate your claim, and who will work hard to protect your rights.