Can a Bicyclist Be Liable for a Traffic Accident?


Sometimes, the relationship between drivers and bicyclists can be tense and filled with frustration. Bicyclists can feel as if they’re constantly in danger of being hit by motorists while motorists feel like bicyclists are “in the way” and “slowing them down.” Regardless, drivers and bicyclists are forced to share the road and they’re both expected to obey the traffic laws and follow the rules of the road.

When a driver or bicyclist violates a traffic law, for example, when they run a red light, roll through a stop sign, or fail to yield to pedestrians, they can cause an accident. And contrary to popular belief, bicyclists can be just as responsible for traffic accidents as drivers. What this means is that bicyclists can be held liable for the traffic accidents they cause. In bicyclist accidents with motor vehicles, the motorists are not on the hook 100% of the time.

When Bicyclists Violate Traffic Laws

Ways a bicyclist can be liable for a bicycle accident:

  • The bicyclist runs through a red light
  • The bicyclist rolls through a stop sign
  • The bicyclist turns left in front of oncoming traffic
  • The bicyclist darts out into the street without looking

While bicycles are quite distinct from motor vehicles, bicycle riders have to obey the same traffic laws as motorists. Unfortunately, though, bicyclists have zero protection so when they’re involved in a crash with a motor vehicle, the bicycle rider can sustain serious injuries while the motorist walks away without a scratch.

Even still, if a bicycle rider violates a traffic law and he or she causes an accident or even injuries to anyone else, he or she can be held liable for any damages incurred by others in the crash. In conclusion, bicyclists are held to the same standards as regular drivers. If they are negligent and break a traffic law, they can be the target of a personal injury lawsuit.

Next: Preserving Evidence in a Personal Injury Case

Were you in a bicycle accident? Whether you were driving a car or operating a bicycle, contact my firm for a free consultation.