Bicycles riders are like car drivers: they have the same rights as cars on the road but also have the same duties to follow the rules of the road. Like drivers of cars, bicycle riders must obey traffic lights, stop or yield signs, speed limits, and use lanes appropriately.
Sometimes a bicycle rider travels at less than the normal speed of traffic. When that happens, the law requires the bicycle to ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Drivers of automobiles, in turn, must leave at least three feet space between their vehicle and a bicycle when they are passing the bicycle.
If the driver of a car or truck hits a bicycle rider, the driver of the car or truck is financially responsible for the injuries and damages he or she caused. If that person has automobile insurance, he or she has a team of experienced professionals (adjusters and lawyers) who go to work right away to defend him or her. The insurance company’s adjuster has been trained to protect the driver and … most importantly … the insurance company’s money.
Generally, the insurance company will look for ways to put the blame for the collision on someone else, especially the rider of the bicycle. The adjuster will also look for ways to blame the cyclist’s injuries on something other than the collision. For instance, if the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and suffered a head injury, the cyclist may be considered partially responsible for those head injuries that would not have occurred if the cyclist had worn a helmet. Prior collisions, work injuries, and sports injuries are some of the events an adjuster might also argue are the reason for the injuries. It is not unusual for the adjuster to use what the cyclist says in a recorded statement to the adjuster to build the case against the cyclist. That is why it is almost never a good idea for the cyclist to speak directly with the other driver’s insurance company.
Your insurance company does not represent you when you are the victim of a collision caused by someone else. You are on your own, unless you hire an injury lawyer with experience in bicycle accidents. Jim Penny represents victims of bicycle accidents in Tucson, throughout Pima County, as well as Cochise County, Santa Cruz County, and Pinal County. His fee is a contingent fee, which means you do not pay by the hour. Instead, the fee is a percentage of the total recovery. This is important to know because you do not “save” money by waiting to hire him. Waiting could end up costing money, if the insurance company is able to build its case against you because you do not have a lawyer. As a result, you get the greatest value for the fee you pay by hiring Jim right away.