When a bicycle accident happens in Arizona, due to negligence or defective parts, contact the established Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers for legal help. At Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., we offer a free consultation for you to explore your legal options. Our bicycle accident attorneys serve Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, the Greater Phoenix Area and throughout Arizona.
Bicycles are often involved in crashes because they are less visible than a car. In addition, poor roads and hazards such as blind corners, obstructions, and debris can make bicycling perilous. Even those wearing helmets and taking precaution to stay out of blind spots and avoid turning vehicles may be the unwitting victim of a bicycle crash.
- Should I Hire a Phoenix Bicycle Accident Attorney?
- What are Bicyclist Rights in Phoenix?
- What is a Motorist’s Duty of Safety?
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bicycle Accident?
- Bike Accident FAQs
- What are the Common Causes of Arizona Bicycle Accidents?
- What Compensation is Recoverable for Cycling Accidents?
- Representation You Need After a Phoenix Bike Accident
Why You Need an Experienced Phoenix Bicycle Accident Attorney
With our Phoenix personal injury lawyers averaging more than 30 years of personal injury experience, we have helped numerous accident victims and their families obtain full compensation for injuries and wrongful death. Our firm includes attorneys that have received the highest ratings possible from Martindale-Hubbell, and that have been certified as a specialist in personal injury and wrongful death litigation by the State Bar of Arizona Board of Specialization, a certification possessed by less than 1% of all practicing Arizona attorneys.
Our firm only represents accident victims and their families in seeking full and fair compensation. We maintain a low caseload so that we can devote the time and attention to each client’s case. Learn more about how we advance the cases of our clients and deal with insurance companies.
Bicyclist Rights and Responsibilities in Phoenix
The rights and responsibilities of bicyclists vary by state and even municipality. In Arizona, state law views bicycles as vehicles, so they have similar rights and responsibilities on the road as cars. In general, bicycles have the right to operate on areas roadways, with the exception of interstates and highways. As vehicles, bicycles must also obey the same traffic laws as cars as they operate on local streets. Some laws will have an especially important bearing on determining fault after a bike accident.
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic signals. They must, for example, follow the rules of all stoplights and stop signs and yield the right-of-way when appropriate. In addition, bicycle operators must signal their indication to turn and cannot split lanes of traffic.
- Know the helmet law. The state of Arizona does not require riders to wear a helmet, but certain cities, such as Sierra Vista and Tucson, require helmet use for riders under the age of 18. However, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that many motor vehicle deaths involve serious head injuries. Wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury and death.
- Know the equipment requirements. All bikes in Arizona must have rear red reflectors and white headlights. A bicycle must have a seat for every rider and, in general, riders must keep their bikes well maintained before heading out on the road.
After a bike accident, insurance companies will complete an investigation into the accident and determine who is liable for damages. Knowing the rights and responsibilities of bicycle ownership and operation can help keep riders compliant with laws and reduce the chance of being partially liable for an accident.
Motorist’s Duty of Safety
Riders do have responsibilities when it comes to using a bicycle on public roadways. However, motorists also have a duty of care to bicyclists and must recognize that their vehicles can do serious harm or cause death to a cyclist. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety notes that most crashes between cyclists and motorists occur at intersections, and often occur due to the negligence or inattention of the motorist. When a driver is at fault for an accident, it usually is because he or she failed to yield the right-of-way to the biker sharing the road. Common causes of vehicle/bike accidents may involve turning left in front of a bike or turning right into a bike at an intersection.
Simple Safety Practices Could Prevent a Bike Accident in Phoenix
Simple safety practices can help minimize the risk of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that motorists maintain at least three feet of clearance between a bicycle and the edge of their vehicles. Drivers should also be wary of cyclists when exiting their vehicles and while making turns at stop signs and traffic lights. Identification of certain risk factors for crashes can also help prevent serious injury or death.
- Making illegal turns
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving behavior, such as texting or using a smart device
Motorists have a duty of care to cyclists just as they do to other vehicles on the roadway. A driver may be responsible for any injuries and other damages that result from an accident related to their negligence.
Both bicyclists and motorists have a duty of care when operating their vehicles on area roadways, but a motorist may have a slightly higher responsibility because of the level of damage he or she can cause in the event of an accident. However, bicyclists should also use extra caution and obey the rules of the road to prevent an accident. According to Arizona accident statistics, there were 1,182 bicyclist injuries in Arizona in 2018.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bicycle Accident?
Many possible defendants could be liable in a bicycle accident claim. It is also possible for a bicycle accident claim to involve multiple defendants.
If a driver hits a bicyclist, the driver will likely absorb liability for the accident as long as the plaintiff’s attorney can prove the driver was negligent and that his or her negligence directly caused the incident in question.
A Public Entity
A public entity may be liable if its failure to properly maintain the road where a bicycle accident occurred leads to an injury. However, the process of filing a lawsuit against a government entity is very different from pursuing a claim against a private party. Some government offices and agencies are immune to civil liability or only offer limited amounts of compensation for civil lawsuits. They hold to a much shorter statute of limitations, so the time limit for filing a claim is narrower.
The Product Manufacturer
A product manufacturer could face liability if a bicycle accident occurs due to a defective product, such as a braking system failure from a design defect. The plaintiff’s product liability attorney will need to prove the product was defective and that defect caused the damages. Design, production, or marketing can cause product defects if the manufacturer fails to include necessary instructions or safety warnings.
Multiple parties can absorb liability as well. For example, a bicyclist attempts to slow down as he approaches an intersection with a red light, but the brakes fail from a design defect and he coasts into the intersection. Another driver traveling on the cross street sped into the intersection before the light changed and hits the cyclist. It is likely in this situation that both the bicycle manufacturer and the negligent driver will absorb some amount of liability.
In some cases, a cyclist will also absorb some amount of liability for his or her damages if a case reveals that he or she contributed to the accident or was negligent in any way that contributed to his or her damages. In states that follow a comparative negligence law, this means the plaintiff can only recover damages if his or her fault does not exceed the defendant’s. The plaintiff will however lose a portion of the case award equal to his or her fault percentage.
Bike Accident FAQs
How Long Do I Have to File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
Most personal injury claims in Phoenix have a two-year statute of limitations for filing civil claims. However, claims against certain government agencies only allow a 180-day statute of limitations.
What Do I Need to Prove to Win My Case?
The plaintiff’s attorney will need to prove that the defendant in the lawsuit was negligent. The bicycle crash attorney must also prove the negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. The plaintiff’s attorney will also need to prove the extent of the damages in question and prove they resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
What Damages Can I Secure From a Lawsuit?
Plaintiffs who succeed with their bicycle accident claims can secure compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering resulting from a defendant’s negligence. It is also possible for the plaintiff to secure punitive damages. Punitive damages can be recovered if the defendant’s actions exceed the scope of typical negligence or involved criminal activity.
Common Causes of Arizona Bicycle Accidents
Driver negligence that results in cycling accidents and injuries often results from a driver:
- Failing to yield or stop
- Turning into a street into an oncoming bicyclist
- Opening a vehicle door into a cyclist
- Making an unsafe lane change
- Failing to stop at crosswalks
- Failing to stop before a driveway
- Crossing into a bike lane
- Sideswiping cyclists on the shoulder
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving – often from texting and driving
Other Causes of Cycling Accidents
Bicycle accidents typically result from collisions with cars. This being said, they can also be caused by defective bike design, manufacture, or parts. Additionally, cycling accidents may be caused by dangerous public property conditions. Public property defects such as a substandard sidewalk, a pothole, gratings, or other road conditions, can cause serious injuries.
To learn more about recovering compensation from bike accidents caused by defective properties, speak with one of our Phoenix premises liability lawyers.
Compensation for Cycling Accidents
Because bicycles offer virtually no protection, bicyclists often suffer serious injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones and even death. Many injuries are long-lasting and may require years of medical treatment. A bicycle accident lawyer in Phoenix will work tenaciously to recover for past injuries and pain and suffering. A bicycle collision lawyer will also recover for future pain and suffering, future lost wages, and future medical treatment. It is critical to retain a bicycle accident attorney in Phoenix if you want to recover the maximum amount possible in Arizona.
The Representation You Need After a Phoenix Bike Accident
Our Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers have decades of experience that can be put to work for you. We offer a free initial consultation and contingency fee representation, so we will only be entitled to a fee upon receipt of a settlement or jury award. Contact us today to learn more if you’ve been injured in a bike accident!