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Cyclist Vs. Motorist

October 14, 2015

Have you ever gotten annoyed by a bicyclist while driving?

How about getting annoyed with a driver while cycling?

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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard family, friends and work associates complain of others not being able to share the road properly. Many have been in cars and many have been on bikes. If there is actually a collision, whichever vehicle you’re driving, you could find yourself legally at fault.

Many people equate a cyclist with a pedestrian and assume the more vulnerable party is automatically the victim. Not so.

A bicycle is considered a moving vehicle and is answerable to the same laws as a motor vehicle. Both parties are required to follow the traffic laws of the state. According to injury.findlaw.com, there can be negligence found on either the driver’s or cyclist’s behalf.  As with all car accidents, reckless or negligent operation of a vehicle has an effect on who is legally at fault and who will be financially responsible for damage and injury.

Have you ever seen a bicyclist run a stop sign? Change lanes without warning? Turn without a hand signal? Or make crazy hand signals that don’t tell you what they are about to do? In the eyes of the law, this is the same as a car running a stop sign, changing lanes or turning without signaling. Other things that are considered negligent for a cyclist is riding on the wrong side of the street, where an automobile driver would not be looking for traffic, or riding on and off the sidewalk. Depending on what state you live in and what age the rider is, it may be illegal to ride on the sidewalk at all.

Considering that cyclists are more physically vulnerable in an accident, they should have very good motivation to a) avoid an accident in the first place, and b) not give the courts an excuse to find them guilty of negligence or recklessness, thereby forfeiting compensation by the other party.

As a driver and a cyclist, I encourage everyone operating any kind of vehicle to be aware of the traffic laws in their area and to be super aware of your surroundings, so you can’t be taken by surprise. Not only should everyone on the road be considerate of others for manner’s sake, but for safety’s sake, as well.

As always, thanks for reading.

—E. A. Cooke

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