Bicycle riding is becoming increasingly popular in the Great Lakes State, with the new dedicated lanes being built in communities like Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and elsewhere. However, more people on the road with their bikes has increased the risk of accidents.
While a bicycle seems like a safe method of commuting, the astonishing statistics actually show it to be quite dangerous! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), in 2019, there were an estimated 49,000 bicycle injuries and 846 bicycle fatalities.
No law in Michigan requires bicyclists to wear proper safety gear; most of these riders don’t even wear helmets. A bike accident involving a motor vehicle often leads to severe injury or even death.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top causes of bicycle accidents in Michigan, the injuries that result from them, and what you can do next. We’ll even tell you about the overall damages you can recover from the accident.
Bonus: The article even covers some bicycle safety tips that will help you prevent accidents in the first place.
The Most Common Causes of Accidents Involving Bicycles and Motor Vehicles
Unfortunately, there are countless ways bicyclists can be injured. Most bike accidents either occur due to the rider’s carelessness or someone else violating the traffic rules. Below we have listed some common causes of bicycle accidents, along with some common injuries that can result from a collision.
Distracted driving is one of the major causes of bicycle accidents in the state. A distracted driver can either be a person operating a vehicle, a bike rider, or someone else on the road and not paying attention to their surroundings. Accidents caused by distraction are usually severe because the driver fails to notice the rider and doesn’t slow their vehicle.
Determining who’s at fault is difficult in such cases because the burden of proof is on the rider who filed the claim.
Impaired Driving (Drunk Driving)
According to a report published by Michigan State Police, impaired driving resulted in 985 fatalities and 74,963 injuries in 2019. While impaired driving isn’t just dangerous for bicyclists, it affects pedestrians and other vehicles as well.
Impaired driving refers to driving a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating substances such as alcohol or drugs. Any substance use impairs drivers and reduces their ability to react to the road and make safe decisions. Being under the influence slows down reaction time and impairs judgment, vision, coordination, and balance.
Drunk driving not only puts bicyclists at risk, but it’s also dangerous for those driving under the influence of intoxicating substances.
The most common injuries that might result from such a collision may include cuts, lacerations, broken bones, head and brain injuries, and so on.
Falling asleep behind the wheel is normally a sign of being extremely tired and too dangerous to be on the road. According to statistics from 2017, more than 91,000 accidents were caused by fatigued drivers who either fell asleep while driving or failure to pay attention to their surroundings because they were tired.
When a driver is exhausted, they tend to become unable to make quick decisions while driving. Also, fatigue can cause vision-related issues such as blurring and intolerance to light, which has an effect on the driver’s ability to control the vehicle and see bicyclists on the road.
Although there are speed restrictions on all roads in Michigan, there are still many cases of accidents caused by driving too fast. While high speed and reckless driving might give the drivers temporary pleasure, it makes it extremely difficult to maneuver the vehicle and avoid other people and objects on the road.
Exceeding the speed limit can also make it nearly impossible for a driver to effectively control their car while responding to other drivers’ errors. The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop.
Bicycle accidents caused due to speeding motor vehicles usually result in severe and traumatic injuries, and many times, fatalities.
Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Running a red light or stop sign in itself is a punishable offense in Michigan. It puts all other people on the road, including bicyclists, at risk. When a driver plows through a red light, it is often the case that they are either speeding, distracted, or under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
When someone runs a red light, there is little to no time for other drivers or riders near the intersection to react, and it can lead to a collision.
Failing to Yield the Right of Way to the Cyclist
This is one of the most common causes of accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles. It occurs when a motorist fails to yield to a bicyclist when making a turn, changing lanes, or entering or exiting a roadway. Such incidents happen when a driver is not paying attention or simply does not see the bicyclist.
The injuries caused by such incidents are usually mitigated by the fact that cars tend to be traveling slower when turning, but they can still range from small scrapes and bruises to serious injury and even death.
Failing to Maintain the Right Distance While Passing a Bicycle
According to the Michigan Bicyclist Safety rules, motorists should maintain a safe distance of at least three feet when passing cyclists. Failing to maintain the right distance while passing a bicycle is a common cause of accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles.
It can happen for a number of reasons, including a lack of awareness of the bicyclist’s presence, a lack of understanding of the proper passing distance, or simply not caring about the safety of the cyclist.
Failing to Look for Cyclists While Driving
Another common cause of bicycle accidents in Michigan is when motorists fail to look for the oncoming cyclists, especially at intersections and while changing lanes. It can happen due to multiple reasons, such as reckless or high-speed driving or driving with distractions like texting.
When a driver fails to look for cyclists, it’s a violation of the law, even if the resulting accident did not cause major injury.
Failing to Look for Oncoming Cyclists Before Opening the Door of a Parked Vehicle
While it may not seem as dangerous as a reckless driver hitting a cyclist, failing to look for oncoming cyclists before opening a door also causes bike accidents. Sometimes motorists and passengers don’t pay enough attention to the oncoming traffic, which mostly concerns cyclists, and open their car doors without any warning.
Such incidents can cause the cyclist to slam into the door or flip over the door and might result in minor to major injuries.
Not all bicycle accidents are caused by reckless drivers; some accidents do happen because of road defects. There are several types of road issues that pose a major threat to cyclists, these include:
- Loose debris
- Poor pavement transitions
- Improper trenching
- Overgrown foliage or trees
These elements aren’t just dangerous for the bicyclist, but may also hinder the vision of a car driver or their control over the vehicle, leading to accidents.
In such an event, the authority responsible for maintaining the roads and surroundings may be held responsible. Contact an expert personal injury lawyer from The Lobb Law Firm for more information on how to determine who is liable.
Bad Weather Conditions
The most common weather conditions notoriously known for causing accidents are fog, ice, rain, and snow. These weather conditions create unfavorable driving circumstances, such as slippery roads and low visibility.
Even drivers and cyclists that use extreme care can be in an accident caused by inclement weather.
No matter the cause of an accident, it can cause cyclists a lot of harm! Are you a victim of a bicycle accident and wondering what to do next? Speak to professional bicycle accident attorneys in Michigan at The Lobb Law Firm, and learn how you can file a lawsuit against a reckless driver or another responsible party that caused your bike accident.
Call us at 248-591-4090 for a free consultation, and get fair compensation for the damages and injuries you’ve sustained.
The Most Common Examples of Cyclist Negligence That Can Lead to an Accident
When a car crashes into a bicycle, it is always assumed that it was the fault of the motorist, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s the cyclist who’s not riding their bike properly or disregarding bike law and collides with a car.
Below you’ll find some common examples of cyclist negligence that can lead to accidents:
Talking on the Phone or Texting While Riding
Doing anything that might be distracting is considered negligence. When someone talks or texts on their phone while riding, they become unaware of the surroundings, such as the oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
Such type of negligence can lead to severe accidents, and in the worst case, it can even cause fatalities.
Riding Too Close Along the Side of a Motor Vehicle
The state has laws requiring motorists to drive with at least three feet between the vehicle and cyclists, but there are no such rules for bicycle riders. If a cyclist comes too close to the side of a motor vehicle, the chances of collision are high.
If the motorist is driving in its lane, it’s considered negligence by the bicycle rider. Going close to the vehicle might not leave enough room for the motorist to make the adjustments required to control the vehicle. Such negligence by the cyclist can pose a threat to car drivers and pedestrians.
Following a Motor Vehicle Closely
Similar to riding along the side of a car, following a motor vehicle closely can also cause an accident. When a bicycle rider gets too close to a car, the distance between the two vehicles reduces, and the cyclist gets less room to stop their bike. If the motorist applies the brakes suddenly, it might cause the cyclist to crash into the car.
Riding a Bike Under the Influence of Intoxicating Substances
If a cyclist rides a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will be considered negligent for causing an accident. Such substances can make the rider fail to react in a timely manner and take preventive measures to avoid a collision.
Ignoring Hazard Signs
Road defects aren’t always to be blamed for an accident if the rider wasn’t paying attention. For example, if there is a warning sign or cone alerting of a large pothole on the road and the cyclist still hits it and gets injured, the biker will be held responsible and not the road authorities.
Don’t be a victim of negligence! No matter what the cause of your bicycle accident was, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and injuries. Call us at 248-591-4090 for a free consultation with a bicycle accident attorney, and get the legal help you deserve.
How to Prevent Bike Accidents in Michigan: Top Bicycle Safety Tips
The injuries suffered by bicycle riders in car accidents can range from bruises to head traumas, and in some cases, fatalities. It is indispensable for cyclists to ride carefully in order to prevent collisions with motorists and pedestrians.
To prevent a bike and motor vehicle accident in Michigan, both bicyclists and motorists should take certain precautions:
Follow the Rules of the Road
Bicyclists should obey traffic laws and signals just as motorists do. This includes following the speed limit, stopping at stop signs and red lights, using hand signals when turning, and riding on the right side of the road.
It is important for cyclists to understand that they have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers on the road.
Wear a Helmet and Other Protective Gear
Although no law in Michigan makes a helmet mandatory for riders, it is still the responsibility of cyclists to ensure their own safety. Wearing a properly fitting helmet and other gear is one of the most important things a bicyclist can do to protect themselves.
A helmet can greatly reduce the risk of head injury in the event of an accident. Make sure the helmet fits snugly and is worn at all times.
Install Lights and Reflectors on the Bike
Most bicycle accidents happen at night because motorists fail to see the cyclist due to poor lighting and other visibility concerns. It is important for bicycle riders to use lights and reflectors when riding at night or in low-light conditions to increase visibility to motorists. This can include a front white light and a rear red light, and reflective tape on the bike and clothing.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
Both motorists and cyclists should be aware of blind spots, especially when making sharp turns. Blind spots make it hard to see oncoming traffic and can result in serious accidents. You can install rear-view mirrors on your bike to cover your blind spots. Additionally, when riding in traffic, try to be visible and predictable to the drivers.
Watch for Road Hazards
Try scanning the surroundings carefully when you hit the road with your bike. As a rider, it’s your duty to watch for potholes, gravel, critters, and other road hazards that can cause accidents. Always be alert and ready to maneuver around obstacles on the road.
Avoid Distracted Riding
Distracted bike riding, such as using a cell phone, can lead to accidents. Any impaired bicycling can lead to severe consequences for the rider and for others on the road.
Be Aware of Weather Conditions
Weather is sometimes responsible for Michigan bicycle accidents so it’s important for motorists and cyclists to pay attention to it. Be aware of the weather conditions and dress appropriately, especially in rainy, snowy, or icy conditions. You should adjust your riding accordingly and take extra care in low visibility conditions.
Factors That Affect the Value of Bicycle Accident Cases
According to Michigan bicycle law, there are several factors that affect the value of a bicycle accident case. When you file a case against a motorist or a negligent road authority, these factors are taken into account to determine the compensation owed to the injured cyclists. These include:
Severity of Injuries
The first and most important deciding factor is the severity of injuries caused by a bike accident. The more severe the injuries, the higher the potential value of the case. It can include factors such as the extent of the injuries, the length of recovery time, and the long-term impact on the victim’s life.
The most common injuries in a bicycle accident are:
The value is affected by the type of injury. For example, the victim may receive a higher value as compensation for suffering brain injuries as compared to accident victims that had minor bruises and swelling.
If the motorist or anyone else apart from the rider has a clear liability in the accident, the compensation provided to the victim is usually higher. Michigan has a no-fault insurance system so the cyclist will eventually receive claims, no matter who’s deemed liable for the accident. However, if the liability mostly belongs to the cyclist, the value might be lower.
The amount of insurance coverage available can also affect the value of the case. If the motorist has a high level of insurance coverage, the case may be worth more than if the coverage is limited. Again, it depends on the liability and severity of injuries. A personal injury lawyer can help you with determining the value of a case when filing a lawsuit.
The amount of medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident can affect the value of the case. For example, if the rider suffered a skull fracture or other traumatic injuries, they will need to spend more on hospital expenses and medical bills. The cost of rehabilitation and ongoing medical care also fall under medical expenses and contribute to the overall compensation the victim receives.
Finally, lost wages are a contributory element when deciding the value of a bicycle accident case in Michigan. If the victim is unable to recover lost wages or they have been fired because the injuries mean they can no longer perform their duties, the value of the case will be higher.
Are you a victim of a bicycle accident and want a lawyer to help you calculate the value of filing a claim? The Lobb Law Firm can help! Our Michigan bicycle accident lawyers will help you determine the value of the damages you have suffered and the potential expenses you might have to bear due to the injuries.
Call us at 248-591-4090 for a free consultation, and explore your legal options to get compensation for your bike accident.
How Bicycle Accident Victims Receive Compensation in Michigan
In Michigan, motor vehicle and bicycle crashes fall under the state’s no-fault insurance system. For example, if you were injured when riding a bicycle, but have motor vehicle or no-fault insurance coverage, you can make a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits with your insurance provider.
However, if you don’t own an automobile, you can still receive PIP benefits paid by Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, as per the recent amendments.
The state’s no-fault system can be complex, and the recent amendments might make it difficult for you to file a claim and recover compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Hiring a skilled bicycle accident attorney is essential to ensuring you get what you deserve.
» How Does the No-Fault System Differ from Fault Based System?
» How to Get Compensated For An Injury With No-Fault Insurance
Why You Need a Lawyer After a Bike Accident
A bicycle accident lawyer doesn’t just help you with calculating the value of damages; these professionals take care of everything on your behalf. From proving liability to negotiating with the insurance company, attorneys will work diligently on your behalf. Here’s why you should appoint attorneys from a reputable law firm in Michigan.
They Help You Prove Liability
A lawyer can help you prove that the other party was liable for the accident and that you were not at fault. This can include investigating the accident, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts.
They Can Help Maximize Your Compensation
Attorneys are experts in evaluating the full extent of your damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property destruction, and any long-term impacts on your life. Bike accident attorneys can prove that you suffered these damages due to the accident and make sure you receive maximum compensation.
They Deal With the Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are often more interested in protecting their own interests than in providing a fair settlement for the victim. Attorneys can deal with the insurance companies for you and make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
They Don’t Miss Deadlines
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for bicycle accidents is three years, and you must file your case within the time limit (provided there are no obstacles, such as major brain injuries or fatalities). When you have experienced lawyers by your side, they will ensure you meet these deadlines and that your case is filed in a timely manner.
They Represent You in Court
If the case goes to trial, having a lawyer represent you in court can be essential to ensuring a fair outcome. They have the knowledge and experience to present your case effectively and cross-examine the opposing party’s witnesses.
Having a lawyer by your side can give you peace of mind and help you focus on your recovery while they handle the legal aspects of your case. Make sure to hire an accident lawyer who understands the complexity of your case and has a proven track record of success.
» More: The Legal Process Following a Bike Accident
Involved in a Bicycle Accident? Contact The Lobb Law Firm
Getting injured due to a bicycle accident can be painful and stressful, and the expenses can quickly add up. With The Lobb Law Firm by your side, you can be confident you will receive fair compensation for the injuries and damages resulting from the accident.
Our professional personal injury attorneys take care of all aspects of the case from beginning to end, so you can focus on your recovery.
There is no fee until you receive compensation so stop looking for bicycle accident attorneys near me and call us at 844-LOBB-LAW now. Schedule a free consultation with a bicycle accident attorney to go over your personal injury claim.