Injured in a Bicycle Lane Accident?
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Open bicycle lanes are many times more dangerous than the fenced-off bike paths that are considered separate from roadways. Bicyclists that are exposed to traffic and drivers that cut into bike lanes to park, turn, pass or even navigate around the city pose a significant threat to bicyclists. Keeping those vehicles out of the bike lane can improve the safety of those areas – but it doesn’t eliminate the issue completely. Bicycle Lane Accidents
Bike Lane Accident Settlements
Accident settlements involving bike lanes require extensive legal research and assignation of fault. Settlement can vary based on the severity of the accident, along with other factors. In these types of cases, the injured party benefits from outstanding representation against corporations such as insurance companies, car manufacturers, helmet manufacturers, and even local governments. The team at The Pearce Law Firm are experts in obtaining settlements from Philadelphia area bicycle accident clients who are hurt in collisions that involve bike lanes and cars.
How Common Are Bike Lane Accidents?
There are many Philadelphians who commute across the city by bicycle. Philadelphia has more bicycle commuters per capita than the other ten largest cities in the nation at 2.1%.
In Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole:
- Over 40 riders were killed on the city streets from 2011 through 2021.
- More than 130 riders were injured during the same time period.
- In 2020, there were 225 crashes in Philadelphia involving cyclists – in 2020 there were 819 bicycle crashes in Pennsylvania as a whole. These numbers were down from 2019, but due to the impact of the Covid19 pandemic, this was to be expected as many transitioned to work from home.
Because open bike lanes are involved in a large number of bicycle accidents in Philadelphia, at the end of 2022 the Philadelphia Parking Authority announced an enforcement initiative in an attempt to keep motorists out of the bicycle lanes along the streets throughout the city. This includes driving in, turning across, and parking in the designated lane. Many unprotected bike lanes cross driveways, intersections, and alleys – and none contain fencing or barriers that separate vehicles from bicycles. In the fall of 2022, eight officers on bicycles are tasked to patrol bike lanes in University City, Center City, and South Philadelphia, said Corinne O’Connor, the parking authority’s deputy executive director.
An unprotected bike lane is a lane that has no barrier like a fence, green belt, or wall between the cars and the riders. Unprotected lanes are generally just marked with street paint as “bike only” lanes – and sometimes drivers of cars simply ignore the designation.
Injuries from bicycle vs automobile accidents in bike lanes can be severe. A person weighing a few hundred pounds on a lightweight bicycle is struck by a vehicle made of steel and glass, weighing several thousand pounds. Bicyclists generally wear lighter clothing, without even the protective leather jackets and pants motorcycle riders are protected from. Helmets can greatly reduce the risk of brain injury, but there’s a lot that can happen below the area protected by your helmet during an accident, even at low speeds.
How to Stay Safe While Riding in Philadelphia Bike Lanes
- Wear A Helmet – Although not required in PA, every bicyclist should be wearing an approved bike helmet. Bike helmets should also be replaced after every impact.
- Use Lights & Reflectors – Lights and reflectors are key pieces of visibility that are part of your bike. Make sure lights are charged and batteries are replaced regularly so your lights work when you need them. Lights should be on the front AND back, as well as reflectors in your wheel spokes and on your pedals for maximum visibility.
- Wear Bright Clothes – Along with lights, bright clothes can help motorists see you, and stay out of your lane when traveling side-by-side on Philadelphia’s streets. Dark clothing, in the dark, on a dark bike make you blend in until it’s too late. Be bold and bright as you ride, day or night.
- Don’t Wear Headphones – being able to hear the car approaching, the horn honking or other sounds of traffic around you can help keep your riding defensive and you safe as you navigate busy Philadelphia streets.
- Know Your Laws – Bicycles are considered vehicles, which means all the same rules apply – signal your lane changes and turns, and be respectful and safe as you travel around Philadelphia on your bicycle.
When is an Automobile in a Bicycle Lane Liable for Injuries and Damages?
Bicycles have the right of way, and the right to use the bicycle lanes. Cars and trucks must stay out of those lanes unless safely crossing them to turn or pull into parking areas. If a parked car is blocking a bike lane illegally, and the bicycle rider must swerve to miss them, thus being hit or falling – the driver of that parked car could be held liable for damages and injury, right alongside the car that hit them.
If a driver uses the bike lane to pass slow traffic or cut a corner and hit a bicyclist in that bike lane, they could be held liable for the damages and injuries to the bicyclist.
Contact The Pearce Law Firm for Help with your Bicycle Accident Case
Ensuring your medical, mental, financial, and mobility needs are taken care of after your accident is imperative. That’s where an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Philadelphia comes in. If you’ve been hurt in a bike lane accident contact us for your free consultation.
What A Happy Client Says About The Pearce Law Firm on Google
I had a complicated bike accident that involved more than one party. Nicole Vitale of Pearce Law took my case and did quite amazing work — throughout the whole process. She was caring, upbeat, and supportive — like what you’d expect from medical staff! But she was also very savvy on how to deal with the case. All her years of experience, work, and acumen led to a great settlement. If you are injured you want Nicole Vitale & Pearce Law on your side.