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What if a bicyclist is negligent in a car accident?

Automobile drivers tend to be held to a higher standard of care and due diligence in bicycle accident claims. Indeed, because an automobile is far heavier and more dangerous to a bicyclist than a bicycle is to an automobile driver, motorists are legally required to use more caution when a bicyclist is present on the roadway.

If a driver's failure to be sufficiently careful results in an injury to a bicyclist, that cyclist will have the ability to pursue negligence claims for financial restitution against the driver in court. However, what happens if a cyclist is negligent and is to blame for an accident?

Cyclist negligence can be a very important factor in a lawsuit. If a bicyclist causes an accident because he or she runs a stop sign, turns sharply into traffic, rides the wrong way on a street, or commits another kind of traffic infraction, then he or she could lose a claim for personal injury damages against the driver in a crash. As a result, defendant motorists in these kinds of accidents may try to defend themselves by proving that the bicyclist was actually at fault for the crash.

One exception is child bicycle crashes. In these situations, drivers tend to be held more responsible, even if it is shown that a child darted suddenly out into traffic. According to Pennsylvania courts, drivers have to be extra careful around children on bicycles, and a driver could be deemed liable even in the case of a dart-out or wrong way crash.

As you can see, bicycle accident claims can vary from case to case. Their unique facts must be closely reviewed on an individual basis to determine the viability of a claim for damages.

Source: Findlaw, "Bicycle Accidents," accessed July 24, 2015

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