Riding a bicycle on the road can be great exercise and a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it is also potentially dangerous. If you often ride your bike through city streets, you risk getting hit by a car. Even if you don't have serious injuries, getting into a collision with a vehicle might earn you the right to sue them for damages. Here is what you should know about this type of accident.

Who is at fault?

The first thing to determine after a bicycle and vehicle accident is who is at fault. If you were riding a bicycle in the bike lane and a vehicle drove over to the bike lane without looking and they hit you, they will certainly be at fault. However, if you were not following the rules of the road and cut off a car or stayed right in their blind spot, you will have a harder time proving your case. When riding a bicycle or driving a vehicle, you should always follow the right-of-way rules. This means if there is no traffic signal, the person who arrived first has the right-of-way. If you arrived first, but the vehicle went as you were pulling out and you got hit as a result, it will probably be seen as their fault.

If you as the bicycle rider did not yield properly, and that caused an accident, it may be considered your fault. In this case, it would be hard to win a lawsuit. There are also cases where it isn't really anyone's fault, but you become a victim of circumstance. For example, if the car was turning left at a crosswalk, they might not see you trying to go through the crosswalk, and collide with you.

How do you avoid an accident?

Having an accident at an intersection is very common when riding a bicycle. Vehicles don't often estimate the speed of a bike, and they may not be paying attention to bicycles on the road. This is why it is important for you to keep your own safety in check whenever you are riding a bicycle. Here are some tips for avoiding an accident with a vehicle:

  • Make yourself more visible. Vehicles need to be able to see you, even if they aren't on the lookout for bicyclists. This means wearing brightly-colored clothing, reflective clothing, and having lamps on your bicycle.
  • Always look out for cars. It may be up to you to be on the lookout for cars, and paying attention to their driving habits.
  • Learn how to drive defensively and to perform emergency maneuvers that help avoid a major collision.

If you believe you have a case against the driver that hit you, contact a personal injury attorney right away.