St. Paul Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Cycling has grown tremendously throughout the entire country within the last 10 years or so. As more cyclists have taken on the roads, the number of injuries and fatalities in bicycle accidents has risen nationwide.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case in Minnesota where the number of bicycle accidents has actually decreased in recent years, according to a 2014 Governors Highway Safety Association report. This is mainly because Minneapolis is considered to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation. Although Minnesota has seen incredible success in keeping cyclists safe, that hasn’t been the case at all nationwide. You can view our 2016-2018 St. Paul bicycle accident map to learn more about dangerous intersections and problem areas.
What we’ll be going over throughout this page will include the basics of bicycle accident liability, negligence as it relates to bicycle accidents, safety tips to keep yourself out of harm’s way on two wheels, and Minnesota/national statistics.
This page is here to help anyone who has experienced a bicycle accident and is weighing their options in terms of litigation. It also helps cyclists in general who need to know the basics of their legal rights while out on the road, just in case an unfortunate collision does occur.
The Basics of Bicycle Accident Liability
Bicycle accidents can, at times, result in serious injuries and even fatalities. The lawsuits involved with these kinds of accidents are pretty similar to auto accident lawsuits in that they envelope the same issues. Negligence is one of the main factors to consider when it comes down to liability for bike accident injuries, which essentially details whether the car operator, the cyclist or both parties displayed negligence in contributing to the collision and subsequent injuries or damages.
Obeying the rules of the road are always the obligation of both cars and cyclists. Sometimes this is a lot easier said than done, especially in urban areas when people think they can get away with certain traffic maneuvers. The main rules that everyone must consider include exercising ordinary care and following traffic laws, and that entails being considerate of your own safety and the safety of everyone else simultaneously.
No matter what, state laws, including local traffic laws, oversee bicycle accidents.
Negligence and Bicycle Accidents
There are two questions that must be answered when a cyclist ends up suing to recover damages for injuries or property damage in the case of an accident with a car. The outcome of the lawsuit largely depends on what the answers to the following questions are:
- Did recklessness, or negligence, by the driver cause the accident and subsequent injuries to the bicyclist?
- Did the bicyclists contribute to the accident through their own negligence?
There are many different ways in which a driver can be negligent, and some common examples include running a stop sign, drifting into a designated bike lane, speeding and other forms of negligence. Recklessness is defined as purposefully having disregard for other people’s safety, and is a more extreme version of negligence.
Within the lawsuit, it’s the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove that the defendant violated a specific duty that they were owed when alleging negligence. This primarily includes proving there was a violation of the basic duty of care that everyone must exhibit out on the roads.
Many times, it requires the use of eyewitnesses and other forms of evidence to unequivocally prove that a motorist acted out negligently, but each case is handled uniquely due to the latent facts as to how the collision occurred. Traffic violations typically are considered negligence per se, and that means that if someone was cited for some kind of traffic infringement, like speeding, then the evidence that they were speeding would be enough to constitute negligence. Once negligence is proven upon a defendant, it’s their responsibility to prove they didn’t cause the plaintiff’s injuries, which may or may not be viable.
Cyclists can also be sued for negligence in causing an accident or an injury to someone else. The main determination of the outcome of these kinds of lawsuits would be cyclist negligence. Some common examples of cyclist negligence include turning abruptly into traffic, going down the wrong way on a one-way street and riding through a stop sign.
Cyclists who are proven to be found negligent may not be able to get any compensation for their injuries or property damages in bike accident cases. This kind of negligence is also commonly described as comparative or contributory negligence, which essentially means that the negligence of the cyclist had at least a slight amount to do with the causation of the accident that resulted in the injuries of either the cyclist or someone else. Of course, if a biker rides negligently and causes someone to get injured, they are technically liable for that other person’s injuries.
We’ve already talked about negligence and the rules of the road, but the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that across the nation, the major factors that go with bicyclist deaths are that the cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet or was cycling while drunk.
It’s a startling statistic, but in 2012 over two-thirds of bicycle accident deaths entailed cyclists not wearing a helmet, and one-fourth of adult bicycle accident deaths had alcohol involved.
When it comes to the previous safety tips, Minneapolis experienced a rather good time span in terms of bike crashes involving drinking or drugs between 2000 and 2010. During this time only around 6 percent of bicycle accidents involved impaired cyclists, and about 1.2 percent involved impaired drivers.
An interesting statistic that has changed over the past 40 years or so, has been the age of bicycle fatalities. People 20 and older are now the representative age bracket of 84 percent of bicycle accident deaths as compared to 21 percent in 1975.
In Minneapolis from 2000 to 2010, there were only 12 cyclist deaths, and about 270 bicycle accidents/collisions occurred each year during this timeframe.
Although Minneapolis is considered a very bike-friendly city, the bicycle accidents that have occurred in the city have predominately resulted in injuries. About 87 percent of cyclists sustained an injury when involved in a collision with a vehicle, while no injuries resulted towards the motorists.
If you or a loved one has been in a bicycle accident, then it’s imperative that you consult one of our attorneys to help protect your legal rights and get you the best result possible in the potential subsequent litigation.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
The personal injury lawyers at Sand Law have office locations in Saint Paul and White Bear Lake. We are conveniently located to meet your car accident and personal injury needs. To arrange a no-pressure consultation with a top rated car accident attorney, please send us a message online or call 651-291-SAND (651-291-7263). There is no fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.