If you are a bicyclist or are considering becoming one, it’s important you understand Indiana bike laws. Biking comes with many benefits; exercise, fresh air, feeling more connected to your surroundings, and not to mention free parking! However, biking, especially in cities or high-traffic areas, can come with many risks. If an accident should happen to you or a loved one due to a reckless driver, understanding the laws before a bicycle accident happens can help guide you when navigating legal action.
Indiana Bike Laws and Liabilities
Every state has specific laws for bicyclists; counties can also have additional laws and variations. Bicycles in Indiana are regarded as a mode of transport or vehicle. With a vehicle status, a bicyclist in Indiana must adhere to the laws listed below.
- Bikers must keep both hands on the handlebars.
- Bikers must stay to the far right of the lane. They are not required to use the bike lane, but it is encouraged.
- Bikers must not ride more than two abroad.
- Bikers riding on the road must follow traffic lights and signs.
- Bikers riding on the sidewalk must yield to pedestrians and use crosswalks.
- Bikers riding on the road must bike in the same direction as vehicles.
- Bikers riding half hour after sunset and before sunrise must have a front and rear light.
- Bicyclists’ bikes must have working brake equipment.
- Bicyclists must not ride with more people than the bike is designed for.
- Bikers must not be over the legal blood alcohol limit.
- Bicyclists must signal when coming to a stop or turning.
Bicyclists in Indiana must follow these laws. In the case of a bike vs. car accident, a bicyclist that is found to be negligent may share the fault of the accident with the driver involved.
Indiana Shared Fault
Indiana is a comparative fault state. This means that if one or more parties involved are found to be at fault, the fault will be shared. This negligence system requires you to be less than 51% at fault to make a personal injury claim. If you are in an accident riding your bike, you can be found at fault and not be eligible for compensation.
Drivers in Indiana
Drivers can be and will be held responsible for reckless driving accidents. Indiana bike laws require drivers to share the road with bicyclists. When passing or overtaking a bicyclist, motor vehicles must give three feet of clearance until safe to move back. These are some specifics, but overall, cars are required to operate like bicyclists are another vehicle on the road that they must be mindful of as they continue to follow all driving laws. Reckless driving is a choice. Whether it’s operating at high speeds, using a cell phone or other device, or driving while under the influence, these choices made by drivers are dangerous, especially to cyclists and pedestrians as they are much more susceptible to injury in an accident.
What Do You Do After a Car vs. Bike Accident?
If you have been hit by a reckless driver in a bike vs. car accident and are able, you should take these steps to help you in your personal injury claim.
- Call the police and file a report. Getting a record of what happened as soon as it happened will be the most accurate evidence. Law enforcement officers see accidents often, and their initial assessment can begin identifying who’s at fault. Take the time to ensure you clearly share your experience of the situation and that it’s included in the report. Police reports are the start of your personal injury claim.
- Collect the contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses. It is your right in Indiana to speak to witnesses of an accident and collect their contact information. Get the negligent driver’s contact information, driver’s license, and the insurance company’s information.
- Document everything. Write your account of what happened as soon as possible, date, and print. Take photos of the accident scene, injuries, and damages. Get a medical examination to confirm any injuries sustained, and add this assessment to your photos. If your bike is damaged, get a written quote for a repair or replacement.
- Present all of this information to your local attorney, who is well-versed in personal injury claims. Working with an attorney before contacting an insurance company to pursue a claim will raise your chances of getting the best possible results. Insurance companies often send you a compensation offer in the hopes you will not pursue more or try to find you to be at fault. An attorney will take your case, communicate to you what you could be compensated for, and work with the insurance company on your behalf.
At Crossen Law Firm, we know accidents will happen. We are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you deserve after a bicycle accident. That’s why we specialize in personal injury claims here in Indiana. Please contact us today if you or a loved one need assistance with a personal injury claim.