Cycling is a heart-healthy way to exercise and a cost-effective means of transportation. In a health-conscious and eco-conscious era, more and more people are biking to work every day, saving themselves money while getting in a couple of workouts each day. However, commuting via bicycle—or even just riding for leisure—comes with a set of distinctive risks. For example, a cyclist involved in a bicycle vs. car accident is more likely to suffer major injuries than the people inside the car who benefit from safety belts and airbag technology. If you were hurt while riding your bike and want to discuss taking legal action with a bicycle accident lawyer in Allentown, contact us for a free consultation today.
What should I do after the accident?
The time directly after a bicycle accident can be a confusing one, especially if you are in pain due to injury, making it difficult to figure out what the next steps should be. Here is what to do after a bicycle accident:
- Get medical attention right away, no matter how minor you think your injuries are
- Document your injuries and the accident that caused them—keep photos of injuries, witness testimonials, copies of medical bills and police reports in a file together
- Present your documentation to a local attorney who specializes in bicycle accident injury litigation and work together to craft a legal case
Although it isn’t possible to fully protect oneself against the negligence of a bad driver, there are some things you can do to ensure a safer ride when you are on your bicycle:
- Wear a helmet every single time you ride
- Wear reflective, bright clothing when riding at night or in low-visibility conditions
- Keep your bike in good repair
- Keep reflectors and headlights debris-free so you can see motorists (and they can see you)
Bicycle accident facts
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes annual data on bicycle injury and fatality accidents. According to their 2015 report, 818 cyclists lost their lives in accidents in 2015, and as many as 45,000 are estimated to have been injured in accidents that same year. Although injury numbers were down from the 2014 report, the number of bicyclist injury accidents was overall higher than it was ten years previous. Alcohol intoxication was a factor in more than one-third of fatal bicycle vs. vehicle accidents.
FAQs for Allentown Bicycle Accident Attorney
A bicycle collision is nothing like a regular car accident. Pennsylvania law has very specific regulations regarding bicyclists, which is why it is often impossible to establish fault without bicycle accident attorney.
Even if you observed all the traffic laws, you, as an injured bicyclist, may still find it difficult to prove that the other party was at fault for causing the collision. That is because Pennsylvania law requires you to demonstrate evidence that whoever hit your bike was acting negligently or recklessly.
Does Pennsylvania Bicycle Law Require Bicyclists to Wear Helmets?
Unlike other states in our country, Pennsylvania does not impose a mandatory helmet law. Not only does our state law not require adult bicyclists to wear helmets when riding a bike, but it also prohibits using helmet use as evidence of the cyclist’s negligence.
Note: Under state law in Pennsylvania, bicyclists and passengers under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet.
Although Pennsylvania does not require adult cyclists to wear a helmet, it does not change the fact that not wearing a protective headgear puts the rider and his or her passengers at an unnecessary risk for injury and death.
Fact: The CDC estimates that wearing a helmet while riding a bike reduces the risk of death by about 37 percent.
Where Are Cyclists Permitted to Ride in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law also imposes very specific regulations regarding the areas where bicyclists are permitted to operate their bike:
- You can ride on the shoulder of the road;
- You are allowed to ride on the travel lanes of the roadway;
- You must always ride in the direction of traffic;
- When riding on a one-way road, you must ride as close to the left-hand curb as possible;
- You are NOT allowed to ride on the freeway; and
- You are NOT allowed to ride on the sidewalk if there are bike lanes available (operating a bike on the sidewalk is prohibited if the cyclist is in a business district).
What Are the Right-of-Way Rules for Bicyclists in Pennsylvania?
Since a bicycle is defined as a “vehicle” under Pennsylvania law, bicyclists in our state have to follow the same right-of-way laws that other motorists do. Meaning, cyclists are required to yield to pedestrians the same way other drivers do.
Under Pennsylvania law, a bicycle rider “shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.” Also, a bicyclist riding upon a sidewalk or bike path used by pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian.
Are Bicyclists in Pennsylvania Allowed to Ride Under the Influence of Alcohol?
Everyone has seen at least one bicyclist operating their bike while under the influence of alcohol. But is riding a bicycle while intoxicated legal?
In Pennsylvania, all drivers and riders are required to drive sober (in our state, the blood alcohol content cannot exceed .08%) regardless of vehicle type. Meaning, bicyclists are not allowed to ride a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Riding a bicycle while intoxicated is considered a crime and is punishable by law.
Can I Sue the City of Allentown for My Injury?
You may have a right to pursue a personal injury claim against the city of Allentown and other government agencies in Pennsylvania if you can prove that the public entity was negligent and/or failed to protect you against unreasonably hazardous conditions.
For example, if you rode your bicycle over a pothole, which threw you off your bike and caused an injury, you may have a potential case against the government agency responsible for this particular part of the road where the bicycle accident occurred.
Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help if you have been injured
You do not have to continue to suffer alone—we can be your legal advocates. If you need a bicycle accident lawyer in Allentown, the attorneys at Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help you file a civil suit. We will take your case as far as it needs to go in order to recover the damages you are entitled to as an accident victim. Whether your case ends with a cash settlement or a courtroom win, we will push as hard as we have to in order to bring about a successful resolution. Call or click today for your free consultation.