When a car and bicycle collide, the bicyclist is at an obvious disadvantage and can suffer serious injuries. Cuyahoga County reported 265 traffic accidents involving bicycles to the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 2019. Of them, two led to fatalities, and 23 produced serious injuries.
The state has rules designed to protect bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic, but drivers do not always follow them. If you or a loved one has been in a bicycle accident and you have questions about your rights, a Cleveland bicycle accident lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help. Our attorneys fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, and we never shy away from difficult cases.
To schedule your free consultation, call our offices today at (800) 761-5225.
Rules for Bicyclists
In addition to the use of dedicated bike paths, bicyclists have the right to use public roads in Ohio with the exception of freeways unless there is a separate, marked bicycle lane, according to Ohio Revised Codes § 4511.07 and § 4511.051.
They are expected to follow traffic rules, including yielding to pedestrians on a sidewalk, stopping at red lights and stop signs, and signaling with their arms when they plan to turn unless they are in a designated turning lane. Bicyclists stopped at a “dead red,” or a red light that only changes when it detects an automobile, may proceed through the intersection after stopping and ensuring they may do so safely, per Ohio Revised Code § 4511.132.
They are also required to ride as far to the right of the road as possible, though Ohio Revised Code § 4511.55 does not require bicyclists to ride on the edge of the roadway when doing so would be dangerous.
Except in dedicated bike lanes, bicyclists are prohibited from riding more than two abreast. They are also barred from carrying a package that prevents them from having at least one hand on the handlebars at all times or having handlebars that are higher than the operator’s shoulders, as noted in Ohio Revised Code § 4511.53. If you ride at night, Ohio Revised Code § 4511.56 specifies that your bike must be equipped with a front light visible from 500 feet, a red reflector on the rear visible from up to 600 feet in car headlights, and an adequate braking system.
State law does not prohibit bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk, though it gives cities the option to do so. Cleveland bans bicyclists from using sidewalks in business districts, according to Cleveland Code of Ordinances § 473.09. State law does not require bicyclists to wear a helmet.
Cyclists who adhere to these laws are considerably less likely to be in an accident.
For a free legal consultation with a bicycle accidents lawyer serving Cleveland, call (800) 761-5225
Rules for Drivers
Some drivers might find bicyclists annoying, but they must respect their right to share public roads regardless and exercise caution to ensure their safety. Cleveland Code of Ordinances § 431.03 says the passing zone for cars is three feet. This safe passing zone increases to six feet for commercial vehicles, commercial trucks, and buses.
If a driver of a car or another larger vehicle broke this ordinance, causing your injuries and damage to your bicycle, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should not have to pay the costs of an accident that you did not cause.
Cleveland Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 761-5225
What to Do After a Cleveland Bicycle Accident
Collisions between bicycles and cars often occur when drivers are not paying attention, are distracted, or are intoxicated. If you collide with a vehicle—whether you are rear-ended, a car turns right in front of you, or you are hit by an opening car door—the motorist is likely to be at fault and therefore be responsible for your damages.
As with any accident, you should always exchange essential information with the driver. Also, call 9-1-1 so that an officer writes a report, which will help with filing a claim for compensation later on. After that, document everything you can, both at the scene—the damage to your bike, the names and contact information of witnesses, and so on—and later on, including medical bills, lost wages from work, and the amount of pain you are enduring. Be sure to hold onto your bike as evidence.
You may wish to consult with a bicycle accident attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster representing the motorist.
Motorists in Ohio are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for one accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage, which can go toward your expenses and compensation, according to Ohio Revised Code § 4509.51.
The motorist’s insurance company may seek to show that you were partly responsible for the accident—the “comparative negligence” standard—which will reduce the amount you can collect, the Ohio Department of Insurance explains.
Sometimes, you might dispute an insurance company’s assessment of comparative negligence. Other times, you might be seeking more compensation than the motorist’s insurance policy covers. In these situations, a Cleveland bicycle accident attorney from Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you decide whether it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit.
Ohio does not place any limits on the amount of tangible economic damages you can recover. However, the “noneconomic” damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish, are limited to either three times the amount of economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater. There is no limit on noneconomic damages in wrongful death suits or in cases of permanent physical deformity or injuries so severe it becomes difficult to care for yourself.
Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10 sets the statute of limitations at two years.
How We Can Help
Bicycle accidents can have serious, life-changing consequences for you and your family, and recovering from them can be a long, difficult struggle. At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we take on tough cases. If you want a Cleveland bicycle accident lawyer who will protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf, call the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 761-5225.
You will not pay us anything until we recover an award for you.