What to Consider if a Bicyclist Is Struck by a Vehicle in a Bike Lane
During these warm summer months, riding bicycles can provide a wonderful way to get from Point A to Point B as well as offer you a chance to enjoy the warm outdoors and the beauty of Delaware’s coastal air. As part of this outdoor travel, though, bicyclists will often resort to riding along sidewalks or, in the case of city streets, specially-designed bicycle lanes along major roadways. As expected, though, bike riding can easily take a terrifying turn when a distracted driver skids through this marked lane and slams into an unsuspecting bicyclist. Here is what you should consider if you have been struck by a vehicle while you were riding in this marked zone.
SOME FACTS ABOUT DELAWARE BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
Consider that, for the following statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) places bicyclists into the category of pedalcyclists, people who operate vehicles that are purely powered by pedals (making them nonmotorized vehicles).
According to data from an NHTSA report, as of 2016, around 840 pedalcyclists died in traffic accidents across the United States, constituting roughly 2.2% of all vehicle-related deaths in the country. Understand that this number marks a significant 1.3% increase from the 2015 report of 829 deaths. Within this grouping, Delaware reported 2.10 pedalcyclist deaths per one million residents.
For more information about bicycle crashes across the country, please review the full NHTSA report.
STICKING TO THE BICYCLE LANE IN DELAWARE
As set up in Delaware Code Title 21, Chapter 41, Subchapter XII, Section 4196, all bicyclists must adhere to the following code when operating their nonmotorized vehicles along Delaware streets and major roadways:
- With few exceptions, bicyclists can only ride along the right portion of a road.
- Bicyclists must ride at a safe distance from other vehicles and cannot share a lane.
- No more than two bicyclists can ride next to each other along bike paths.
For all other purposes, bicyclists must also adhere to traffic laws set in place for motorists (for example, stopping at intersections and obeying signals).
MOTORIST COURTESY TO BICYCLISTS
On the flip side, motorists must also follow certain rules when they are approaching a bicyclist along a marked path or a regular street. In many cases, accidents can take place when drivers attempt to pass bicyclists or attempt to overtake these people. Under Delaware Code Title 21, Chapter 41, Subchapter III, Section 4166, drivers must complete the following steps when approaching a bicyclist:
- Reducing vehicle speed
- Leaving a three-foot space between the vehicle and bicyclist during the pass
- Returning to the right lane after affirming the vehicle will not hit the rider
YOUR LEGAL SOLUTION
Bicycle lanes and sidewalks are designed to help pedestrians and bicyclists navigate the roadways of America and get from point A to point B in a healthy and very fun way. However, in the blink of an eye, a bicyclist can easily fall victim to a severe accident when they are hit by a vehicle that veers into a bike lane. If you have sustained severe injuries while riding your bike and getting hit by another vehicle, you should not have to struggle to get back on the right path. We can provide the help you need to get your life back on track.
Our team of professional lawyers at Edelstein, Martin & Nelson, are passionate about our practice and are fully knowledgeable in the laws, rules, and statutes surrounding unfortunate bus-related pedestrian accidents throughout the State of Delaware. We can guarantee you will receive the justice you deserve. For legal advice and for more information about our services, contact our office today at 800-300-0909.