With a few exceptions, bicycles and cars have the same rights and responsibilities on Pennsylvania roads. Due to the obvious difference in crash survivability between ‘pedalcycles’ and motor vehicles, motorists are required to stay alert to the presence of bicyclists sharing the roadway and bicyclists must obey traffic laws as though they were motorists.
Bicycling is a favored transportation alternative for many people looking for a healthier, more environmentally friendly, and economically feasible way to get around – especially in cities. However, the infrastructure in many cities is not designed specifically for the presence of both motor vehicles and bicycles making it more likely that accidents between the two will occur.
At Soloff & Zervanos, we know that serious injuries often result when motor vehicles hit bicycles due to the size and weight of vehicles and the lack of protection for the cyclist. Our bicycle accident attorneys aggressively advocate on behalf of bicyclists injured by motorists.
Rights of Pedalcyclists in Pennsylvania
Although motorists and bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road, there are some laws that apply only to bicyclists when riding on the roads. If motorists are not aware of the laws pertaining specifically to bicycles, they may not be anticipating cyclists and that increases the likelihood of accidents.
Bicyclists Rights on the Road:
- Bicyclists may ride on a road’s shoulder but aren’t required to.
- Bicycles may use any portion of a road to avoid unsafe surface conditions.
- A bicyclist may use the lane of travel when there is only one lane in each direction.
- A bicycle does not have to use a designated bike path even if one is available.
- On one-way roads with more than one lane, a bicyclist can ride on the far left side.
- Motorists are required to give bicycles a 4-foot safety space when maneuvering around them.
PA Bicycle Accident Statistics
Bicycle accidents – both resulting in injuries and fatalities – represent less than 1% of the total reported motor vehicle accidents in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) statistics from a recent 5-year period show an average of just over 1,140 injuries and 17 fatality bicycle accidents each year.
- The numbers of bicycle injuries and fatalities remained fairly constant for the years 2015 – 2019.
- Bicyclists ages 20-34 are most likely to be injured or killed in a bicycle accident.
- Most bicycle accidents occur during daylight hours.
- 50% of bicycle fatalities and 60% of bicycle injury accidents occur in intersections.
- 75% of bicycle fatalities occur on state highways while 52% of bicycle injury accidents occur on local roads.
How to Get Compensation When You Are Injured in a Bicycle Accident
If you are injured in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle you will likely be dealing with the motorist’s insurance company to recover from your injuries. Your own auto insurance may provide some benefits but the party at fault will have the majority of responsibility for compensating your losses. If you purchased ‘limited tort’ car insurance it will not limit the kinds of damages you can recover in a bicycle accident.
In PA, you can have some fault for your own accident and still be able to collect from another at-fault person. You can be up to 50% at fault for causing your own accident and still be able to collect up to 50% of your damages from the other responsible party. How much compensation you can collect will depend on how much fault you have for causing the accident and the nature and extent of your injuries.
The Allentown bicycle accident lawyers at Soloff & Zervanos are experienced at investigating bicycle accidents and establishing fault on the part of the motorist. We understand the kinds of injuries that bicyclists experience in accidents and know how to get you the maximum compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, pain & suffering, and any other reduction in your quality of life. To schedule your free consultation contact us here or call our Allentown office at 610-839-7823.