In Asheville, North Carolina, biking is both a recreational activity and an alternative means of transportation. Due to the close proximity of the Blue Ridge Parkway, both mountain and road biking are quite popular among both Asheville residents and tourists alike. Additionally, many Asheville residents also use bicycles as a primary means of transportation to make their way around Asheville. As such, bicycle riders not only share the roads in and around Asheville with car, but also face the possibility of accidents involving cars.
Bicycle Rider Rights
As a bicycle rider, it is important to know your rights. In North Carolina, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. As such, a bicycle rider has many rights, including the following:
- A bike rider is allowed to use any road maintained by the state, with the exception of the Interstate Highway System.
- A bike rider is not required to ride on the shoulder.
- A bike rider is allowed to make a left turn using the appropriate lane similar to a car
- A bike rider is allowed to ride in the center of the traffic lane if able to maintain the same speed as cars traveling on the road, or if it unsafe to ride on the right side of the road
- Only biker riders under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets (additional limits may be imposed by jurisdiction or statute)
However, a bike rider cannot:
- Ride against moving traffic.
- Disobey traffic controls signs and signals
Whenever a bike rider is involved in an accident with a car, there is a high possibility of severe injury. Due to the lack of protection a bicycle offers to the rider, injuries to a bicycle rider are typically much more serious then to the occupants of the car involved in the accident. The most common injuries associated with bicycle accidents are head injuries. This is due to the fact that many bicycle riders do not wear a helmet. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of a head injury by over 80%. In order to prevent bicycle accidents, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and employ defensive driving techniques. However, there is still a high probability of being involved in a bicycle accident as bicycle rider.
Things to Do After a Bicycle Accident
After a bicycle accident, you should call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive in order to obtain an official accident report and to tend to any injuries. By having an accident report, there will be an official record of the accident, which helps prove your case
If you are injured, make sure to seek medical treatment either by an ambulance or by your own personal doctor. Since injuries are so prevalent in bicycle injuries, it is likely that you will incur some form of medical bills. Since these bills can be expensive, you may require an insurance settlement in order to pay them. Although the bills may be expensive, they also help prove your case and increase your potential settlement. Make sure to keep all medical records and bills in order to provide a medical timeline of your treatment.
If possible, obtain all documentation regarding your accident. This can be anything from the official police accident report, eyewitness information, or pictures of the scene. By gathering this information, you provide additional evidence that can be used in proving your case.
Make sure to also keep your bicycle as evidence of the severity of the accident. Do not try to repair or get rid of your bicycle since it will help prove your case. You should take pictures of the damage to the bicycle and consider taking the bicycle to a repair shop for an official estimate of damages and cost to repair. Additionally, you should keep your bicycle in a safe and dry place in order to insure no additional damage is done to the bicycle. If your bicycle is damaged after the accident, it could be difficult to prove what damages were caused by the accident.
Finally, you should consider hiring an attorney. Since there is a high chance of injury when involved in a car accident as a bicycle rider, you will likely be faced with a multitude of medical bills. By hiring an experienced bicycle accident attorney, you insure that you will have a advocate on your side that is determined to do everything possible to help you with your claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a bicycle rider in a car accident, don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation about your claim.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.