As much of us value our motorized vehicles, a great many also place value and importance on our bicycles. Bicycles are far cheaper to maintain than a car, don’t use any gas, provide for a great exercise tool, and are much faster than walking in terms of getting from place to place. But just as car accidents happen, so too can bicycle accidents. The idea of being on a bicycle and getting hit by a car is wrought with perils that are far different than a car-on-car collision, but how often do these accidents occur and what are your legal options following one?
In 2012, approximately 39,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents nationwide, with 634 fatalities. Of those 634, Arizona was the site of 18 of them. Unfortunately, that number has only increased over the years into the low 30s and high 20s. In 2016, the number of fatal bike accidents in Arizona was 31. In many respects, bicyclists face similar dangers to motorcyclists in terms of how they’re perceived and treated on the road. Bicycles, like motorcycles, have a much smaller physical presence on the streets than cars or trucks, making them harder to see. Bicyclists do have specific rules they have to follow to help keep them safe, and motorists are expected to share the road with them by giving them plenty of room. If you’ve been in an accident, then depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may want to speak with an attorney to see if you’re entitled to compensation.
While a person riding a bike may not be traveling as fast as a motor vehicle, they also don’t have the protections in place that a car provides upon impact. A car’s metal frame, seatbelts, and airbags, all play a role in making an impact less serious. All a cyclist has is whatever protective gear they’re wearing. Even though studies have shown that helmets are an instrumental tool in saving people’s lives, Arizona does not have a state law requiring their use. Some areas in the state mandate them for people below the age of 18, but above that age, there are no requirements. Upon a crash, cyclists can be ejected or run over, potentially causing severe injury.
If you’re a cyclist who has been involved in a crash with a motor vehicle, you may be entitled to damages just as if you were driving any other vehicle. Keep in mind, Arizona is a state that determines fault based on “comparative negligence.” That is to say, any fault that you had in the accident could reduce the amount of compensation you receive. This is why it’s so important to adhere to the laws and regulations regarding bicycle usage. Not only will they keep you safe, but in the event of an accident, if you are obeying the laws as they are written, you can potentially win more money to assist in your recovery.
Arizona strongly encourages its motorists and bicyclists to share the road responsibly. More often than not, they do, but some drivers do not show cyclists the respect that they deserve. If this has happened to you, and you need help pursuing your legal options, contact ELG Law for a free consultation. Call us at (623) 321-0566 for a free consultation. Not only do you have every right to be on the road with other vehicles, but you have every right to pursue compensation for your injuries.