Bicycle Accident Attorney in Missouri
Bicycling is a great way to stay in shape, get around the busy city of St. Louis, and minimize your carbon footprint. However, bicyclists are at much greater risk of serious injury or death than drivers and occupants of passenger vehicles. Drivers ignore the rules of the road or fail to give bicyclists enough space, often leading to tragedy.
If you are hurt in a cycling accident, you need to discuss your options with a St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. Contact Finney Injury Law now to find out how we can help.
Bicycle Riding Laws in Missouri
As a bicyclist, it’s important that you know local bicycling laws for your own safety. Statewide, there is no law regarding the use of helmets, but several counties do have helmet laws in place. Cyclists must stay off of sidewalks in business districts. While riding on sidewalks in other areas, cyclists must yield right of way to pedestrians.
While on roadways, bicyclists have the same rights as drivers. Many drivers either do not know this or think that bicyclists are too slow to be on the road, and as a result, engage in aggressing driving behaviors. Legally, Missouri cyclists can operate at speeds lower than posted limits. Although bicyclists can drive on the shoulder if they choose, they are not required to do so. They can use main roadways if they wish. Cyclists cannot operate on interstates.
In addition to having the same rights as drivers, cyclists have the same responsibilities and obligations as drivers. They must follow the same laws, which includes driving in the same direction as traffic, obeying traffic signals and stop signs, and use equipment that increases visibility and allows them to ride safely.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Most bike accidents involve a motor vehicle. Common types of accidents include:
- Car door accidents. Drivers are supposed to check for traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists before they open their driver-side door. When they open their door in front of a cyclist, the cyclist may run into the door and be thrown from their bike.
- Accidents that occur when bicyclists ride against the flow of traffic. A substantial number of accidents occur when bicyclists do not drive in the same direction as traffic. This can make it impossible for drivers to prevent accidents.
- Left cross. When a car and bicycle approach an intersection from opposite sides and the car turns left, they may strike a cyclist going straight. These accidents often occur because of a driver misjudging the bike’s speed or not seeing them at all.
- Right hook. When a car is turning right, bicycle accidents can occur in several ways. The driver may pass a cyclist and turn right in front of them, forcing the bicyclist to swerve to avoid a collision. If a car and bike are waiting for a light to change and the driver turns right as the light changes, they may strike the bicyclist.
How Drivers Can Protect Bicyclists
Drivers have an obligation to be aware of their surroundings and prevent bicycle accidents. When accidents occur, bicyclists are far more likely to sustain severe or fatal injuries than drivers. Drivers should yield to bicyclists as they would another car and avoid underestimating a bicyclist’s speed. Underestimating a cyclist’s speed can cause a driver to pull out in front of the cyclist and cause a crash. Drivers should be conscious of bicyclists around them; many drivers don’t see cyclists because they are looking for other cars. When turning right, drivers should look to the right and behind, not just to the left. Additionally, drivers should give bicyclists plenty of space and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
By following a few key safety tips, cyclists can minimize their accident risk and protect themselves. While riding, make sure you are following the rules and signage of the road. Use a bell or announce yourself before passing pedestrians, both for your safety and for theirs. Be aware of the vehicles driving around you and put distance between yourself and any motorist who seems to be driving erratically or aggressively. Look out for cars that are turning or backing out of driveways, as they may not be looking for cyclists.
Katy Trail State Park Accidents
Katy Trail, which runs across must of Missouri, is a major destination for cyclists from all over the country. However, the trail intersects with urban and countryside roads. The trail runs through cities like St. Charles, Augusta, and Jefferson City, so cyclists should take extra care when coming to an intersection. This trail is also widely used by joggers, and cyclists must be careful while passing. In 2010, a jogger on Katy Trail died after being struck by a bicyclist. As is the case during any ride, cyclists should be aware of their surroundings and where they stop. A cyclist suffered injuries during a break in their ride when a rock toppled from a nearby cliff and hit them on the head.
Hiring an Attorney After a Biking Accident
It is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a biking accident. Drivers are quick to blame cyclists, often believing that cyclists do not have the same rights as drivers or that cyclists must always yield to motorists. Riders are injured by drunk drivers, inattentive drivers, and aggressive drivers every single day. A bicycle accident lawyer will gather evidence, go after the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation, and fight for your right to compensation. Finney Injury Law gets clients’ results through careful planning, detailed investigation, and aggressive representation. Our goal is to hold the liable party accountable and ensure that a bicycle accident does not leave you with an unfair financial burden.
We’re ready to talk to you and help you explore your options after a St. Louis bicycle accident. Contact our team of St. Louis personal injury trial lawyers by filling out our contact form or calling us at 314-293-4222 to schedule your free consultation.