Can Cyclists Be Held Liable in Traffic Accidents?

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An abstract graphic symbolizing balance and harmony in urban transportation, featuring a pair of scales in perfect equilibrium. On one side, a stylized bicycle icon, and on the other, a simple car icon, against a gradient background that transitions from warm orange to deep blue, representing the seamless transition from day to night. This conceptual design underscores the theme of shared responsibility and equality between cyclists and motorists in traffic.

Cyclists are increasingly visible in the Greater Seattle area. Riding a bicycle is a low cost, environmentally friendly method of transportation around town, which also offers many health benefits. Several employees at our firm enjoy strapping on a helmet while hopping on a bicycle, too. You might see us on the side of the road going for a ride with family or friends.

But some cyclists do not follow the rules of the road. Instead, they regularly fail to yield, weave in and out of traffic, and travel much too closely to cars and trucks. Some cyclists even cause accidents.

At Premier Law Group, we are committed to helping accident victims seek compensation for their injuries. A knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney at our firm can discuss your accident and offer preliminary thoughts on who is to blame. Under Washington law, a cyclist can be liable for an accident if they were negligent and ended up causing a wreck. Whether you can obtain financial compensation from them is a separate issue, however.

How Cyclists Cause Accidents

Bicyclists have an obligation to follow traffic safety rules and use care while out on the road, just like those who drive cars. Sadly, many of them:

  • Lane split
  • Refuse to yield
  • Make illegal turns
  • Weave in and out of traffic
  • Make sudden movements
  • Tailgate
  • Brake check

These careless behaviors can easily lead to accidents. For example, motorists are not expecting a cyclist to ride between lanes, so they could be surprised and end up crashing. Lane splitting is illegal in Washington, so there is no excuse for cyclists to engage in this behavior.

If a cyclist is to blame for a wreck, then they are liable for the accident. This is usually a complicated, fact-intensive inquiry. Contact an expert personal injury lawyer in bike wrecks at Premier Law Group to dig into the facts of your accident.

What Evidence Proves Fault in a Bicycle Traffic Accident?

Your memories might be clear that a cyclist caused an accident. However, you need evidence that helps people who weren’t at the accident scene reconstruct what happened.

Some useful evidence includes eyewitnesses. Yes, you can tell us what you remember. But insurance adjusters will likely take a dim view of your own memories. After all, they assume you are telling a self-serving story. You can immediately bolster your claim by having third party witnesses testify as to what they saw. For example, they might have seen a cyclist refuse to stop at a sign and cut off a motorist who had the right of way. That type of testimony is powerful.

Other helpful evidence includes possible video of the crash. A car might have a dashcam which recorded the collision. Or a nearby business might have a security camera pointed toward the road. We search for video evidence to support your claim.

Receiving Compensation for an Accident Caused by a Cyclist

A cyclist might be liable for an accident, and you could have suffered serious injuries. For example, a cyclist could have jumped in front of you, causing you to jerk the wheel to avoid a crash. Unfortunately, you then slammed into a fire hydrant or a parked car and suffered whiplash and car damage.

If the cyclist is to blame, you can sue them. Unfortunately, a cyclist might not have any money to pay you a settlement. Few cyclists carry bicycle liability insurance, and the state only requires liability coverage for motor vehicles and motorcycles. How can you receive financial compensation?

There are some options. A cyclist might have homeowner’s insurance, which could possibly cover a bicycle accident. That would be ideal, because most policies usually have six-figure limits, which can help cover damage to your vehicle, as well as medical care, lost income, and pain and suffering. In fact, a homeowner’s policy should be worth much more than Washington’s required liability insurance for motorists.

A lawyer at Premier Law Group can investigate any collision caused by a cyclist. We can ask about relevant insurance policies. We can also negotiate a settlement for you to cover economic and non-economic losses. In some cases, we might even go ahead and file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party in court.

Speak with a Bike Accident Lawyer Today About Your Case

Premier Law Group is proud to offer personal injury services to anyone injured in an accident, including a bicycle accident. Call us today! We can review your legal options in a consultation. We have helped hundreds of people get the compensation they deserve following a painful wreck.