Bicycle Accidents & North Carolina Law
North Carolina has some of the best scenery in some of the nicest weather you’ll find anywhere in the country. This combination makes the perfect condition for bicycle riding – something that’s enjoyed by many people all over the state. But sometimes, bicycle rides can turn into bicycle accidents and unfortunately, bicyclists often just aren’t treated fairly by the insurance companies and at times, even in court. Luckily under North Carolina law, bikes are considered to be vehicles, giving them many more options when it comes to collecting compensation for any injuries sustained during a bicycle accident.
Because bicycles are given the same consideration as motor vehicles on the road, they can:
- Ride on any state road, with the exception of the Interstate Highway
- Travel in the middle of a traffic lane, if they can travel at the same speed as surrounding cars; or if the right side of the road is in extreme disrepair and could cause harm or injury to the bicycle and/or bicyclist
- Make left-hand turns, and use the appropriate lane to do so
In addition to having a number of rights on the road, bicyclists also have some responsibilities when they’re considered to be a vehicle on the road. These are:
- Bicyclists must obey traffic laws
- Bicycles must be equipped with a light on the front that’s visible from at least 300 feet away
- Bicycles must be equipped with a light on the back that’s red and is visible from at least 200 feet away at night
- Bicycles must be equipped with a reflective mirror
- Bicyclists must use appropriate hand signals
Still, even with all these precautions, on average North Carolina sees more bikes accidents as a state than the national average.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Most often, bicycle accidents are a direct result of another motorist’s negligence or misconduct while driving their own vehicle.
Some of the most common types of bikes accidents are:
- Vehicles turn directly in front of a bicyclist, cutting the bicyclist off or hitting them directly
- Vehicles pull out of driveways or parking lots directly in front of bicycles
- Drivers of motor vehicles fail to yield at intersections, or run stop signs or red lights
- Drivers of motor vehicles fail to look both ways after stopping, hitting a bicyclist that they don’t see
Because bicyclists and bicycles are given the same consideration as motor vehicles on North Carolina roads, it’s important to exchange information – especially insurance information – at the scene of the accident. While you may not have insurance as a cyclist, the driver of the motor vehicle most likely does (and will be in bigger trouble if they don’t!) and you need to get all of that information.
Never leave the scene of a bike accident without writing down:
- The driver’s personal information
- The name of the insurance company
- The driver’s insurance policy number
- The phone number of the insurance company
Once you’ve exchanged information and are ready to leave the scene of the accident, seek medical treatment right away for any injuries. You’ll want to document the injuries by taking photographs and keeping medical records, but hold off on phoning the insurance company.
Insurance companies don’t make their money by paying out settlements, and they’ll do everything they can not to give you fair compensation for your injuries. This is where the help of a bike accident lawyer can be very beneficial.
Contact our Firm
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation