Do you bike (or cycle, ride, or whatever else you may call it)? A bike, you remember is the 2 wheeled thing that you first learned to ride when you were a little kid. Once learned, it became a lifelong skill. Of course, it’s “like riding a bike”. Biking has grown and grown in popularity over the years and many are biking for exercise, fun and to commute to and from work these days, specifically in the Philadelphia area where there are some fantastic bike trails. As more and more people partaking in the great bike revolution, unfortunately, bike accidents have become more common as well.
My name is Jonathan Marx and I bike. I have been riding seriously for 24 years, having ridden in dozens of long charity rides, sometimes up to 100 miles. I know a thing or two about the hidden and real dangers of cycling and as a personal injury lawyer, I have helped many of my fellow bike riders when they have been hurt in bike accidents. Being a cyclists allows me to have the inside information on what someone who is injured in a bike riding accident is going through – and exactly what legal standard and evidence I need to help them.
Before getting into the legal rights of a cyclist, I feel compelled to point out the two most important things a cyclist can do to keep themselves safe. First, of course, you must wear a helmet. Broken bones usually heal and scrapes and cuts go away too, but a brain injury, even a “mild one” can be debilitating for years to come. It is so easy to leave the helmet home as “you are just taking a safe ride on a trail” but unfortunately, that is a huge mistake. A bike accident happens in milliseconds and always when you least expect it, trust me I have been in a few bike accidents in my 24 years of riding. A twig, wet leaves, a small pothole, a squirrel, all these common things can and do cause serious injuries.
My second point is even more important and it’s this: the car is always right. Yes, even when the car is running a light or failing to stop at a stop sign, the car always has the right of way, not legally of course, but for safety’s sake. Sounds crazy, but if you keep this in mind it will keep you safer. I say this because if a car and a bike collide, regardless of who is legally at fault, the biker is always the loser. Therefore, when I ride, regardless of who has the legal right of way, I always start off deferring to the car and making sure that the driver and I have an “understanding” before I cross an intersection. Keeping this in mind will make it that much more likely that your ride will be a pleasant and positive experience.
For great information on bike laws you should check out the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia website.
Cyclists Legal Rights
You have taken all the safety precautions, but you were hit by a car or other vehicle while biking, what happens now? If you are in an accident, don’t try to be the hero and limp your way home, get the emergency medical treatment you need, this is common sense.
From a legal standpoint a bike rider is considered a pedestrian. This is good because if you do want to pursue a claim against the driver of the vehicle, you are full tort and have the best legal rights. Although many of our clients find this counter-intuitive, if you are hit by a negligent driver, your own motor vehicle insurance company becomes primary to pay your medical bills, at least at the start.
Bike Accidents Happen; Now What?
Getting a lawyer involved early in the process after a bike accident can be the difference in winning your case or not. Witnesses need to be spoken to, they disappear over time. Photographs of the scene are important, they can show skid marks, debris on the road etc. The big one is the insurance company will hound you for a recorded statement. When you get home from the hospital, you may already have received several calls from insurance company representatives already. The insurance company will call you on weekends, nights, and all hours of the day, and its not because they like to chit-chat. Just don’t do it! Before you speak to any insurance company about your bike accident, speak to a personal injury lawyer who will guide you through the process.
I Love Cycling (and Cyclists)
I love cycling, and helping those who enjoy the activity as much as I do comes natural to me. Other personal injury lawyers have not been on a bike since they were kids, and don’t have the first clue as to what is involved. As an experienced cyclist and experienced personal injury lawyer, I have counseled many clients who have been in bike accidents. These cases have been against other cars, trucks, cabs, motorcycles and even other cyclists. I have helped fellow cyclists with getting their lost wages paid, getting top medical care and of course getting money for pain and suffering.
One of the saddest aspects is when a cyclist is hurt and they lose the ability to ride because of it. I understand this sense of loss better than most. Having logged 1,000’s of miles and hours out on the road on my bike, I have first hand knowledge that is unmatched by other attorneys. I use what I know to help my client’s win their case and get maximum dollar recovery for injuries from a bike accident. Contact my office today so I can help if you were hurt in a bike accident.
Bike Accidents Resources:
- Hurt in a Bike Accident, Who Pays your Medical Bills
- Bike Accident Caused by the Roadway, Do I have a Case
- How Long will it take to Settle my Personal Injury Case
- Should I Settle my Personal Injury Case
- Tax Ramifications of Personal Injury Settlements