Bicycling has risen in popularity in recent years because of its status as an environmentally friendly and physically healthy form of transportation. However, bicyclists are especially prone to accidents due to the limited protection that bicycles provide; for many, the only protection they have is a helmet. Thus, when crashes do happen, the result can be a severe, life-changing injury or even death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, a legal claim may be a viable option to seek compensation from the at-fault party and bring them to justice. Our attorneys at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. are prepared to join you in your fight for your rights, as we are passionate about helping the victims of negligence through the civil justice system. For more than 40 years, we have represented injured Rhode Island residents, winning them multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements.
Contact Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. online. Our bicycle accident lawyers offer free, confidential case evaluations to Rhode Island residents.
Potential Negligence Behind Bicycle Accidents
There are many different factors that can cause bicycle accidents, such as inattentiveness on the part of a motor vehicle driver. While it is true that some accidents are nobody’s fault, many of them can be attributed to one of the parties involved. For instance, many bicycle accidents are caused by a motor vehicle driver not giving bicyclists enough room on the road or failing to see them in their blind spot while changing lanes. In these cases, injured bicyclists are entitled to hold these drivers accountable via a legal claim.
Some other negligent causes of bicycle accidents include but are by no means limited to:
- Speeding or tailgating
- Attempting to execute an unlawful pass
- Texting while driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Unsafe right-hand turns
- Failing to check for bicyclists at intersections
If the other party was engaging in any of the above acts of negligence leading up to the accident, you may be able to recover damages, such as past and future lost wages, medical bills and expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
For negligence that led to the tragic death of your loved one, you may be able to recover compensation for any damages you experienced as a result of this terrible event (e.g. loss of companionship and guidance) or for damages experienced by your loved one between the time of the accident and the time of their death (for instance, their own emotional distress, medical bills for their care, etc.).
Rhode Island Bicycle Laws
The State of Rhode Island General Laws §31 mandates that bicyclists must be treated as motor vehicle drivers. Therefore, bicyclists are required to obey the laws of the road and regularly maintenance their bicycles, making sure that their headlights and taillights are in working order. This also means that drivers — no matter the vehicle — must treat bicyclists with the same standard of care they are obligated to provide to other drivers on the road.
A law that often arises in bicycle accident claims is the safe passing law, General Laws § 31-19, which mandates that motor vehicle drivers may only pass a bicyclist by driving to the left of the bicycle, leaving ample room in case the bicycle should tip over. Moreover, the driver may only return to the lane after the bicyclist has been completely passed.
There are three exceptions to this safe passing law:
- The bicyclist is within a designated bicycle lane;
- The motor vehicle is traveling at a speed slower than 15 miles per hour; and
- The bicyclist is turning left, and thus the driver is passing the bicyclist by maneuvering to the right.
Shared Liability in Bicycle Accident Claims
It is possible for the liability to be shared between two or more parties. The state adopted comparative negligence law for this reason, which means that an injured bicyclist can still pursue a legal claim if they were only minorly (less than 51%) responsible for the accident. They will not, however, be entitled to full compensation; rather, compensation will be scaled back per their percentage of fault.
Contact a Skilled Lawyer
Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. has a team of renowned attorneys passionate about providing legal services to injured bicyclists. We have helped many clients win their own claims, and while no firm can guarantee a favorable outcome for any case, our proven track record of success does serve as evidence of our acumen and experience.
Call our bicycle accident attorneys at (401) 200-4059 today for legal help. If you prefer, you can also reach us by filling out an online form.