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Non-Traffic Bicycle Accidents


Personal Injury

The Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., represent the victims of bicycling accidents. Bicycling accidents are commonly associated with traffic related collisions, such as when a motorist and bicyclist collide with one another while traveling along a roadway. However, non-traffic bicycle accidents, such those involving a dooring, parking lot, or driveway backup incident, can happen as well. No matter where an accident occurs, the potential risk for severe injury, and even death, is significant for bicyclists, who lack the protection provided by a motor vehicle.

One type of non-traffic related bicycling accident are collisions occurring in parking lots. These accidents are actually more common than one may think. In some cases, a motorist fails to check their surroundings prior to reversing from a parking space, and as a result of such failure, collides with a bicyclist. In other cases, a motorist may fail to observe a stop sign, or pavement markings and/or signage signifying appropriate vehicle direction in the aisles or perimeters of a parking lot.

Bicycling accidents can also occur while a motorist is backing up from a driveway, and fails to observe an oncoming bicyclist. In this situation, the bicyclist almost always has the right of way. If bicyclists were required to stop at every driveway they might encounter, they wouldn’t get very far. A motorist has a duty to look out for oncoming persons when exiting a driveway. When a driver fails to do so and an accident results, the driver can be held liable for damages resulting from their negligence.

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A bicyclist can also be injured when a motorist exits an alleyway and fails to take adequate precautions to ensure that a bicyclist is not proceeding on the sidewalk or roadway. In assessing liability, factual, legal and causal circumstances, such as reasonableness and right-of-way, will be taken into consideration.

Dooring is another type of non-traffic bicycling accident. The term dooring refers to a situation where a passenger to an automobile opens a door in the pathway of an oncoming bicyclist. Simple physics can explain the potential for serious injury when an object in motion collides with an inanimate object. Just like driveway accidents, bicyclists cannot be expected to stop at every potentially occupied vehicle they might pass. As a result, most accidents involving dooring, allows for the attachment of liability to a vehicle occupant who fails to yield to a bicyclist having the right of way.

Sometimes, an obstruction on another person’s property prevents a motorist from observing an oncoming bicyclist. Evaluating the presence of violations of local or state law is a necessary component it proper assessment of liability, and can often play a critical role in the outcome of a matter.

No matter what the circumstances of a bicycling accident, and particularly if the victim sustained injury or fatality, the incident should be investigated with a focus on three key considerations:

(1) Was there a duty to maintain a particular area in a certain manner?

(2) Who owed what duty, and to whom?

(3) Was there a breach of any duty owed to another?

Bicycling accident claims may be directed at a variety of different parties depending on the precise circumstances of the incident. The person responsible for the maintenance of the portion of property where an obstruction exists may be a private home owner or a business owner. In some cases, where no immunity exists, claims can be directed at a county or municipality for failing to properly maintain a property, failing to warn of dangerous condition, or otherwise breaching a duty owed to another.

It is important to remember that, no matter the circumstance, motorists have a duty to prevent injury to others by operating their vehicle in a reasonable manner, whether they are traveling along a roadway, in a parking lot, or entering or exiting an alleyway or driveway. When a motorist fails to take adequate precautions to ensure the safety of others, such negligence can result in liability for injury or loss sustained in the event a bicycle accident occurs.