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If you’ve recently been involved in a bicycle accident either caused by or involving a motor vehicle, pedestrian or unleashed dog, we are here to help. Seeking an award from an insurance company after a cycling accident can be a difficult process, particularly when the driver and passengers of a motorized vehicle have a different explanation of what caused the accident involving you as a cyclist.
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Avoiding the Need for a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in North Carolina –
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a motorized vehicle while cycling, you may find yourself with the difficult task of establishing culpability. Finding an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in North Carolina is an important first step toward receiving a fair and just settlement for the injuries you have sustained.
For many cyclists, sharing the road with car and truck drivers is both dangerous (at times) and frustrating. It’s often the case that we’re not given the respect needed by drivers of motorized vehicles, and in cases where the road layout may not have been conceived with cyclists in mind, it can result in a multitude of hazards and risks.
The beautiful and diverse geography, along with a temperate climate make the state of North Carolina an idyllic lure for the bicycle enthusiast. What’s not to love? There is terrain for all kinds of cycling. In the Western part of the state are the Appalachian Mountain which include the Great Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, perfect for the rider who like rugged climbs and steep terrain. The Piedmont Plateau in the central part of the state is perfect for those who love gentle rolling hills and back country roads. The Eastern part of the state holds the magnificent and flat coastal plains marked with stunning ocean views.
Rapid growth, urbanization, and suburban sprawl have unfortunately eaten up many miles of what used to be beautiful country roads. This is especially the case in the Piedmont region with the rapid growth of the Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte metropolitan areas. This has put the road cyclists and motorists at odds with each other and made it especially dangerous for the cyclists. In a 2015 article in Insurance Business Magazine, North Carolina was listed as one of the ten worst states in the country for cyclists. Statistics from the website WatchForMeNC.org show on average 850 vehicle/bicycle accident / crashes occur each year and on average 20 people die as a result of those crashes.
Cyclists who have spent any time on the road have stories of close encounters with motorized vehicles and their drivers who don’t like to, or don’t know how to share the road safely. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and if you’ve been involved in a cycling accident, this is where an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help. Many motorists complain of bike riders who ignore the very traffic laws intended to keep them safe, for example blowing through stop signs and red lights without stopping, riding in the middle of the traffic lane or two abreast; making it difficult for the larger vehicle to pass safely. These are legitimate concerns and complaints, as the average cyclist is not without his or her own faults, when it comes to roady safety.
The number of bicycle accidents and incidents climbs each year as the cycling hobby expands its user base. Riding a bicycle can be a great outlet for general recreation, and for people wanting a healthier lifestyle, a greener means of transportation, or sometimes because it is a much cheaper alternative to ever rising gas prices.
It is up to both the motorists and the cyclists to ensure the safety of those riding on two wheels. North Carolina updated its laws regarding bicycling in 2016. For a complete list of the changes you can visit https://www.ncdot.gov/divisions/bike-ped/Pages/bike-ped-laws.aspx
Some of the laws a cyclist must follow are:
North Carolina Bicycle Laws
In North Carolina, the bicycle has the legal status of a vehicle. This means that bicyclists have full rights and responsibilities on the roadway and are subject to the regulations governing the operation of a motor vehicle.
North Carolina traffic laws require bicyclists to:
· Ride on the right in the same direction as other traffic.
· Obey all traffic signs and signals.
· Use hand signals to communicate intended movements.
· Equip bicycles with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from 200 feet when riding at night.
· Wear a bicycle helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights-of-way if the bicyclists are under 16 years old.
· Secure child passengers in a child seat or bicycle trailer if under 40 pounds or 40 inches.
And, to know your hand signals…
Some of the new rules for motorists include:
Drivers can pass slower-moving bicycles or mopeds in no-passing zones if the motorist gives a berth of at least 4 feet and if the cyclist is not making a left turn.
But aggressive motorists whose actions cause a cyclist to change travel lanes, leave the road or crash will suffer stiffer penalties, pay higher fines and possibly lose their driver’s license for several months, under the amended law.
Obviously, with the virtually zero physical protection offered by a bicycle, it is incumbent upon the cyclist to learn the highway codes, receive adequate training and instruction, wear safety and protective gear and ensure adequate lighting to make oneself visible.
If you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been involved in a bicycle accident, speak with one of our attorneys today.
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