Bicycle accident attorneys in Eastern Virginia
Helping injured cyclists
Let’s start with the basics: a bicycle is a vehicle with two or more wheels, propelled by the manual power of a rider.
More than 600 bicyclists were injured by motor vehicles in Virginia during 2015. Fifteen bicyclists were killed, and 15 vehicle drivers were killed in bike-auto collisions, which accounted for 2 percent of all traffic-based deaths in Virginia.
Also, did you know that more people end up in the emergency room for head injuries from bicycling than any other sport? In fact, cycling causes twice as many head injuries as football, and 3.5 times more than soccer.
The single largest reason for most bike accidents? “Failure to yield,” at 19 percent.
To help everyone become safer, let’s review Virginia’s laws about bicycles:
Is driving a bicycle the same as driving a car under the law?
But auto drivers must also try to be safe when encountering bicycles.
One example: An auto driver traveling in the same direction who wants to pass a bicyclist may do so at a cautious speed. But the driver must maintain three feet of distance to the left of the bicycle. After passing, the driver may return to the right after confirming that there’s a safe distance between the bicycle and his car.
Is there a “right side of the road” for bicycles?
Definitely. A bicyclist moving more slowly than the speed of traffic should always stay close to the right curb or edge of the road, except in these situations:
- When passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction;
- When preparing to turn left into a driveway, road, or intersection;
- To avoid a dangerous condition, like roadway conditions, animals, or pedestrians;
- To avoid “turn only” lanes;
- When traveling on one-way roads.
Further, two bicyclists should not travel side by side when they will be in the way of traffic flow or when a faster vehicle is approaching them from the rear. Usually, two or more bicyclists should ride single file.
Are there rules about bicycle equipment or clothing?
Yes. Bicycles traveling between sunset and dawn (when it’s dark) must have a front-facing headlight that can be seen from 500 feet away in normal weather conditions.
In addition, the bicycle should have a reflector that can be seen for at least 500 feet.
Virginia does not require bicycle helmets; however, local towns and cities may make rules requiring young people 14 and under to wear helmets.
However, even if a bicyclist violates a local helmet rule, that does not demonstrate negligence and cannot be used against him in a civil lawsuit.
What are helpful safety tips for bicyclists?
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Always stop to consider safety concerns when entering streets or approaching intersections.
- Use hand signals to let others know when you want to turn.
- Be cautious when approaching turning vehicles. Remember that they may not see you.
- Avoid traveling next to traffic moving much faster than you.
- Do not drink alcohol before bicycling, and don’t use your cellphone while biking.
We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys hope you will follow these tips because we would like to prevent tragic bike-auto collisions from ever happening. But until every driver performs perfectly on the road, we are here to help those who are hurt through no fault of their own. Our Virginia car accident attorneys seek to hold negligent auto drivers accountable for the hardships they cause.
In Virginia, you have a limited time to file a claim, so contact our office at (804) 413-6777 today for a free consultation.
- Bicycle Safety - CDC
- Bicycle safety - MedlinePlus
- Crash Statistics - Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center
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