Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), 1,380 people were injured and 16 were killed in Pennsylvania bicycle accidents in 2009. The majority of injury accidents involving bicyclists occur at intersections but most fatal bike accidents occur at non-intersections. Anytime someone is seriously injured or killed in a bike crash, it must be determined who had the right of way and who may be held liable for the damages suffered by the injured person.

Injured victims of a bike accident may have to prove that the driver was responsible for the crash to receive compensation for their hospital bills and other crash-related losses. There are many questions that must be asked after such a collision in order to determine fault and liability. Did the car driver fail to properly yield right-of-way to the bicyclist? Was the car’s driver distracted, fatigued, drunk, or speeding at the time of the crash? Was there a dangerous condition on the roadway at the time of the accident?

If it is determined that a motorist’s negligence caused a bike crash in Pennsylvania, then, they can be held liable for the accident. If a dangerous roadway caused the accident, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held responsible. Valuable information about the details and circumstances of the crash may be obtained from police reports and eyewitness accounts in order to determine who is at fault for the collision. This process is not always easy and it may be in the bicyclist’s best interest to seek legal guidance from a skilled attorney.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the month of May will be designated as National Bike Safety Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA), are launching a new “Roll Model” campaign to remind parents and caregivers they need to be a positive example to children and teens to ride bicycles safely. The campaign also offers adults the opportunity to improve their own safety habits. According to the DOT, the average age of a bicyclist killed in a bike accident is 41.

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One of the main pillars of the campaign is the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet that fits properly to help decrease the chance of an injury in the event of an accident. Since children look to their parents and other adults for guidance, the campaign aims for parents to wear a helmet as well as observe the rules of the road each time they ride a bicycle to encourage children to follow their lead. The campaign also reminds bicyclists that they must follow the same traffic laws as motorized vehicles, such as obeying stop signs and traffic lights and signaling turn intentions.

The “Roll Model” campaign also reminds adults that they should share the road with and treat bicyclists with respect when driving. Motorists should patiently wait and only pass a bicyclist when it is safe to do so, being sure to leave at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicyclist. Distractions such as cell phones should be avoided when driving, as using them greatly increases the chance of not seeing nearby bicyclists and may result in a serious injury or fatal bike crash in Philadelphia and across the U.S.

Bicyclists have the same legal obligations that motorists do, and they also have the same legal right to use the road. However, the Associated Press notes that many Pennsylvania motorists ignore or endanger bicyclists – so many, in fact, that the state is ranked 40th in the nation for bicycle-friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists. To avoid PA bike accidents and injury, bicyclists often use the few available bike paths or cut through alleyways and parking lots.

Some Pennsylvania bicyclists have banded together and are seeking to make commuting safer and more convenient for bicyclists. In May, Commuter Services of Central Pennsylvania hosted a “Bike to Work” week, encouraging commuters to ride their bicycles instead of driving. The campaign focused on the benefits to riders, including exercise and enjoyment of the outdoors, and the benefits to the community as a whole, such as cutting down on air pollution.
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Lower Merion police have arrested a 75-year-old woman who they believe caused a hit-and-run auto accident in Philadelphia that injured a 13-year-old area boy. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the woman, when confronted by authorities, said she thought she had struck a deer. But she had actually hit the teenager who was riding his bike west on Gulph Road near Morris Road. He was apparently not wearing a helmet.

The high-profile case generated a number of tips and culminated in the woman’s arrest. She is likely to be charged with causing an accident involving death or personal injury, which is a third-degree felony and failure to render aid, which is a summary offense.

Regarding hit-and-run accidents, Pennsylvania law (Chapter 37, Section 3742) states: “The driver of any vehicle involved in a PA bicycle accident resulting in injury or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident.” Even if you don’t have auto insurance or are underinsured, you still must fulfill your responsibility and the obligation to stop if you’ve been involved in an accident. The consequences, as are demonstrated in the above incident, are far too great for all parties involved if anyone in a car accident flees the scene.
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