Bicycle Accident

Bicycling, as both a mode of transportation and of recreation, is on the rise across the country. But with this growing popularity comes a growing number of injuries and deaths due to bicycle accidents.

Recent data that illustrates the danger includes:

Statistics on the age, gender, and location of bicycle crashes are enlightening as well:

  • In 2012 the average age of bicyclists killed in accident with vehicles was 43 years old.
  • 88% of people killed in bicycle crashes were male.
  • 69% of fatal bike crashes occurred in urban areas; 30% occurred between 4-8 p.m.
  • 24% of bicyclists killed in crashes had Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dL or higher.

When a bicycle crash results in injury, the data illustrates clearly that collisions with vehicles is the greatest danger to bicyclists:

  • In 2012, nearly one third of injury bicycle crashes happen in a collision with a motor vehicle;
  • 17% of injuries occurred when the bicyclist fell;
  • 13% happened in a bike crash caused by uneven or unrepaired roadways;
  • 13% were due to rider error or inattention.
When someone is injured or killed in a bicycle crash, very often there is a dispute over the cause and circumstances around the collision. It is crucial to gather as much evidence from the crash scene and witnesses, to ensure that an accident claim will be successful to help the injured person recover both physically and financially from the costs of medical bills and missed work. When a crash is fatal, this information is equally important for a wrongful death claim. In most circumstances, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights and options.

Do I have a legal claim?

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Portland, OR

What is available to the bicycle rider after a collision with an automobile?

FIRST:  If the  bicycle rider has car insurance,  then all the benefits afforded under the car insurance policy will apply in an accident with a bicycle rider.  Your automobile policy covers you on a bicycle, as a pedestrian, and in your own car and the cars of your friends.  It does not cover you operating a motorcycle, although in some instances your auto insurance may cover you as a passenger on a motorcycle for medical benefits.  If you have auto insurance and you are injured in a bicycle collision with a vehicle, your medical bills will be paid under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of  your automobile policy.  All  PIP benefits include medical bills paid up to your limits for 2 years on policies renewed in 2016 and thereafter, loss wages up to a maximum of $3,000 per month for 52 weeks, essential services to help you pay for domestic help, certain child care reimbursement, and funeral benefits.   

SECOND: If the bicycle rider does not have car insurance but is a member of a family that does have car insurance, such as a spouse or a child whose parents have car insurance, then the family  automobile insurance  will cover all family members whether on a bicycle or walking as a pedestrian.  

THIRD: You have no control over whether the other vehicle in the collision has car insurance, or has car insurance with financial limits less than your car insurance financial limits.  In those cases, which are known as "Un-Insured Collisions" or "Under-Insured collisions", your automobile policy will provide you with these protections under you car insurance, or as a member of a family that has car insurance.  

FOURTH:  If neither 1, 2, 3 applies to you and you do not have private or public health insurance,  your medical bills will be paid under the other car's PIP coverage if available.  Although PIP is mandatory in Oregon, it is not in the State of Washington.  In Washington State PIP coverage is an elective and would not be available to you if the other car did not have it.  

FIFTH: You need to determine who was at fault for the accident, or what percentage the bicycle rider and the car driver were each at fault for the accident.  In Oregon and Washington the fault or negligence of each party is compared.  If the car driver was 100% at fault, then his or her car insurance will pay for the bicyclist's damages.  If the bicyclist was 100% at fault, then his or her car insurance will pay, and if there is no car insurance, then the bicyclist will be personally responsible to pay for the personal and property damages to the car driver.  If both the bicyclist and car diver were negligent, then each would be responsible for their negligence to the other.  For example, say each was 50% at fault for the collision then each would pay 50% of the other's damages.  

SIXTH:  In summary, a bicyclist has protection under his or her car insurance.  If the bicyclist is not at fault for the accident, then the car operator's car insurance will be responsible for all damages to the bicyclist up to the limits on the car operator's  insurance policy.  If the bicyclist has no car insurance but is not at fault for the car accident, then the car operator's insurance will be responsible for all damages to the bicyclist up to the limits on the  car operator's insurance policy.  If the bicyclist has no car insurance and is at fault for the accident, then the bicyclist is responsible for the car driver's damages.  

SEVENTH:  Bicyclists need to encourage their State Legislatures and State Department of Insurance to require insurance companies to provide bicycle insurance equal to car insurance.  Bicyclists should be able to purchase bicycle insurance for their own and the public's protection just as motorist do.  Since the law treats bicyclists to the same standard as motorists, there should be bicycle insurance available for bicyclists.  

Phone me if you have any questions, 800-347-4269. I have been an Oregon Attorney for 45 years.   I am Raymond Bradley, the Oregon and Southwest Washington Sponsor for Accident Data Center.  OSB# 700193.

Los Angeles, CA

5 THINGS YOU DO TO CYCLISTS YOU HAD NO IDEA ARE ILLEGAL

It’s important to know that cyclists are using the same road as you. They do it because it’s their right to do so, it’s perfectly legal, and that’s the safe place to do it. Drivers get frustrated with cyclists, but most of the time are completely unaware that they’re the ones breaking the law. Go here to learn more about your driving behaviors that may be against the law.

Los Angeles, CA

QUIZ: WHO IS AT FAULT IN THIS BICYCLE ACCIDENT?

In the case of a bicycle accident, it’s not always as cut-and-dry as one would think.

We came across this video of a cycling accident that took place in London, just about a year ago. Since it’s in the UK, the roads are backwards from what we’re used to, so you’ll have to correct for that.

Watch the video of the accident, and see if you can tell who is at fault. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

Wearing a helmet reduces fatalities by 85%. Tips on buying the right one

Seems like a no-brainer to wear a helmet each time you skateboard, bicycle, or inline skate, doesn't it? If that one statistic doesn't convince you to make this a habit, click here for this story from Bill Coats Law, a personal injury law firm in Bellingham, WA, with recent statistics and advice on buying a helmet. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

Want to prevent a TBI? Make sure to always wear this when you bicycle

It's no mystery. Wearing a bike  helmet when you bicycle, skateboard, inline skate, or ride a scooter greatly reduced your chance of getting a brain injury. For recent statistics on bicycle crashes and injuries, as well as tips on finding the right helmet, click here for this article from Bellingham lawyer Bill Coats, a bicycle and car crash attorney.

Everett-Bellingham WA

A helmet might not protect you from this if you're hit by a car

Though the technology and design improves more and more with each year, bicycle helmets can't always protect bicyclists from TBI. If you've hit your head in a bike crash, know the signs and symptoms of this all too common problem, from this post by bike accident attorney Bill Coats Law in Bellingham WA. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

You have legal options if you were "doored" by a car while on your bike

It’s not just embarrassing – being “doored” while on a bicycle can be lethal. Being doored means a bike rider slams into the door of a vehicle that has been opened negligently. Sometimes the bike zone is actually in a dangerous place, or riding in this zone is unavoidable. This can happen on any road where bikes travel alongside cars parked parallel to the street. Depending on your state, there are laws against it, which means being doored can mean there was an at-fault party. But this doesn’t mean the claim would be so cut and dried. Click here to learn about your legal options if you were "doored" by a car while riding your bike.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Tips for motorists on sharing the road with bicyclists

As the weather warms, more people take their bicycles on the road, for commuting to work, helping the environment, exercise, recreation, and to save on automobile expenses. As bicycling gains in popularity, also on the rise is the likelihood of a crash with a car, truck, or other vehicle – and, so often, these crashes result in serious injury or death to the cyclist involved. In sharing the road with bicyclists, motorists can do a few simple things to make everyone's journey safer. Click here for tips on how to avoid common errors that drivers sometimes make that can result in serious injury or death.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Be careful when transporting fragile goods: wear a bicycle helmet

Did you know that some cities do not require bicyclists to wear helmets? There is no state law mandating their use, either. This is surprising, due to statistics showing that “helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent,” according to the Bicycle Safety Helmet Institute, a volunteer advocacy group. Go here to learn how helmets protect you, and why you should never get on your bike without one.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Tips for motorists on sharing the road with bicyclists

As bicycling gains in popularity, also on the rise is the likelihood of a crash with a car, truck, or other vehicle – and, so often, these crashes result in serious injury or death to the cyclist involved. According to the NHTSA, while overall passenger vehicle deaths decreased in 2012, bicyclist fatalities increased. Bicyclists injured in accidents with a vehicle also rose during this time. In sharing the road with bicyclists, motorists can do a few simple things to make everyone's journey safer.