As a responsible driver, you know you have to share the road with bicyclists. They might strain your patience when they’re out in large groups – which happens frequently on pleasant summer days. However, you do your best to give them plenty of room.
Not all crashes are the driver’s fault. Sometimes cyclists are negligent or reckless. They may move into the driver’s lane from the bike lane without signaling or looking. They may cross the street against a light or not look around before crossing where there’s no light.
Cyclists typically fare worse than drivers in these collisions. However, they can end in serious injuries for those in the car as well. Often that happens because the driver swerves to avoid the cyclist and strikes another vehicle or an object like a light pole.
When can a cyclist be held liable?
New Jersey, just like other states, has laws that bicyclists have to follow. For example, they’re required to ride “as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.” When riding with one or more other cyclists, they can “travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded, but otherwise ride in single file.” They have to obey many of the state and local laws that drivers have to follow.
If a cyclist caused you to crash because they made an illegal move, you may be able to seek compensation from them. Often, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers bike crashes under their personal liability provisions. However, if the cyclist doesn’t have this type of insurance, you may need to seek compensation from them directly.
Proving that a cyclist was at fault isn’t always easy. However, if the cyclist (or someone riding with them) had a camera on their bike or helmet, that can help you prove your case. It’s wise to seek legal guidance to help you get the compensation you need for medical bills and other expenses and damages.