Riding a bicycle has many benefits, but it can also put a cyclist in harm’s way. Bicyclists, like pedestrians and motorcyclists, are known as “vulnerable road users” because they have very little protection from physical harm in a collision with a car, truck or other motor vehicle.
Bicyclists involved in accidents often suffer devastating injuries. In many cases, bicycle accidents occur because drivers do not notice bicyclists and fail to take proper safety measures for sharing the road with them. But under Rhode Island law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle with rights and responsibilities equal to those of other vehicles on the road.
Bike riders who have been injured because of a motorist’s negligence can seek compensation for their losses. As Rhode Island’s premier personal injury firm, at Marasco & Nesselbush, our bicycle accident lawyers work to hold negligent parties legally responsible so that bicyclists who have been injured can focus on recovering.
Are You a Victim of a Bicycle Accident Injury?
Bicycle accidents are a common occurrence in Rhode Island and the United States as a whole, often resulting in injuries and even fatalities. Nationally, about 2 percent of individuals who die in motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. That’s about 672 deaths a year. More than 45,000 more cyclists are injured in car accidents every year.
Because of Rhode Island’s small size and relatively few traffic fatalities, the two bicyclist fatalities in our state in the most recent year reported constituted 3.1 percent of all traffic accident deaths.
In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent. This indicates the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet, which is required by Rhode Island law for anyone 15 years old or younger who rides a bicycle. However, it is important to note that failure to wear a helmet does not bar an accident victim from recovering compensation for injuries suffered in a crash caused by a negligent driver.
While you might think that most people hurt in bicycle accidents are children, in fact, the IIHS says that 84 percent of bicyclists killed in accidents are 20 years old or older. Many more male than female bicyclists are killed in crashes with motor vehicles.
Often a motorist will claim they did not see a bicyclist. Bicycle accidents can be caused by such carelessness and recklessness as:
- Speeding (leading to inability to stop in time to avoid a collision).
- Passing or turning illegally.
- Ignoring traffic signals, such as stop signs, stoplights and crossing signals.
- Alcohol or drug-impaired driving.
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving.
How Can Rhode Island’s Bicycle Laws Protect You?
The State of Rhode Island is pro-bicycling. Under state law, cyclists are granted the same rights and subject to the same responsibilities for the use of roads as operators of motor vehicles. Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic, not more than two abreast and as far to the right as is practical, for example. Bicycle riders must obey stop lights, stop signs and other traffic signals. Bicycles must also have reflectors and, if ridden at night, headlamps.
Meanwhile the state has built more than 60 miles of bike paths and lanes throughout the state, and has enacted additional laws governing their use.
How To Get Legal Help From a Bike Accident Lawyer?
When a bicyclist is involved in an accident, whether it is caused by a motor vehicle, a hazard in the roadway, a defect of the bicycle itself, or something else, the results can be devastating. A bicyclist who is hit by a motor vehicle or who simply falls to the roadway has very little protection from the impact.
A bicyclist who is hit by a car and survives is likely to suffer sprains and strains, particularly to the neck, back and spine; broken bones, lacerations and contusions; and, if not wearing a helmet, a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Serious bicycle accident injuries can result in costly medical bills, loss of the ability to work, and significant pain and suffering.
If a motorist is found to be at a fault for a bicycle accident, they can be held liable for the bicyclist’s injuries and other losses, including property damage to the bicycle. In most cases, an independent investigation and legal action will be required to compel a motorist and his or her auto insurance company to do what’s right by the injured cyclist. An experienced attorney can also seek financial relief for an injured rider if the bicycle manufacturer or distributor, or another party’s negligence has contributed to an accident.
What Our Clients Say:
“They were very friendly and optimistic about winning my case.” – Yolainne
Contact Our Skilled Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The attorneys of Marasco & Nesselbush have dedicated their careers to helping people who have been harmed as the result of others’ negligence. Our bicycle accident lawyers understand the serious physical, emotional and financial tolls that bicycle accidents can take, and we are committed to obtaining full and fair compensation for riders hurt by negligent motorists or other parties.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bicycle accident in Rhode Island, please send us a confidential case evaluation form or call our offices at 401-443-2999 for a free initial consultation about a potential claim. We are here to help you.