Bicycles in Charlotte: How to Stay Safe and What to do if You’re Hurt
Approximately 60 people a day move to the Queen City. New residential and commercial developments cause road congestion prompting many residents to use bicycles around town. Now, more than ever, both cyclists and drivers should be aware of their surroundings and share the road. Here, we discuss important safety tips and advise bicyclists what to do when injured in a bicycle accident in Charlotte.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reports that 840 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2016. Important safety tips can prevent a bicycle accident in Charlotte and minimize injury. Because head injuries are common and possibly fatal, wearing a helmet is crucial. In addition, riding at certain times of day are safer than others. Bicyclist deaths often occur between 6 and 9 pm. Regardless of when you ride, you should wear appropriate attire. This includes bright clothing and reflective gear during the day, with bike lights and reflectors at night.
Minimize distractions when riding. Listening to music is tempting but it can take your focus away from traffic and other dangers. Texting and cell phone usage are strongly discouraged. Make sure your shoe laces are tied and that nothing can catch in the bike chain. Always lookout for potholes, grates, and foreign objects on the road. Assume that other drivers and riders cannot see you, and act accordingly.
Practicing proper safety will not always prevent serious injuries. Common injuries in a bicycle accident include brain and spinal cord damage, bone fractures, and even amputations. A bike injury victim could suffer back and neck pain, muscle strains, or eye, dental and facial trauma.
Some bicyclists are unsure where on the road to ride. The NHTSA recommends riding with the traffic flow. Cyclists must remember that bicycles are considered vehicles under North Carolina law. Bicyclists must obey street signs, signals, and other traffic rules with few exceptions.. If a bicyclist violates a traffic law when the accident occurs, he or she may be liable in a bicycle accident in Charlotte.
In North Carolina, if a bicyclist is only 1% responsible for a bicycle accident, he or she cannot recover compensation for their injuries. Insurance companies are aware of this rule, which is known as “contributory negligence.” Under this rule, an injured bicyclist cannot recover even when the majority of fault lies with the motor vehicle driver. If you’ve been hurt, the driver’s insurance company may accuse you of “contributory negligence,” hoping to escape liability for their insured driver. An experienced attorney can respond and rebut this claim.
An injured bicyclist is entitled to fair compensation for the harm caused by an at-fault car driver. You are entitled to fair compensation for present and future medical treatment; lost wages or reduced ability to work; and pain, suffering and emotional distress. When an at-fault driver kills a bicyclist, the victim’s family may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit can compensate the family for funeral expenses, lost income and more.
Speak to an Attorney About Your Bicycle Accident in Charlotte
Because personal injury cases in North Carolina have a three-year statute of limitations (and only two years for a wrongful death claim), you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after getting hurt. Always seek needed medical treatment and document all losses and out-of-pocket costs. The attorneys at Brown, Moore & Associates are ready to help with your bicycle accident in Charlotte. Call us today for a consultation.