As an injured victim, you have a right to pursue compensation no matter who the guilty party is or how they hurt you. Cyclists, like drivers, must abide by the same standards and duty of care when operating their mode of transportation. For example, if they cut you off or hit you, resulting in an injury, they can be held liable for their negligent actions.
In some situations, the cyclist may have hit you due to someone else’s negligence, such as a motor vehicle running them off the road. In this situation, the driver would likely be the one held accountable. Or, it could be possible that both the driver and the cyclist are responsible for their negligent actions. It simply depends on the individual situation and circumstances.
Proving fault in a cyclist-related accident, however, can be difficult. If you are injured by a cyclist, you may need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to receive the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can help you gather necessary evidence and information to build a strong case and prove fault.
Indiana Cyclist Laws
In all states, including Indiana, cyclists, like any vehicle operator, must abide by a duty of care. To prove that they are liable for causing an accident and injuries, you must prove the following:
- They had a duty to operate their bicycle with reasonable care around others
- They breached that duty by operating their bicycle negligently
- Your injuries were the result of their breach of duty
Bicyclists also have rules they must follow like any other vehicle. If they disobey these laws, they can be found to have breached their care of duty and be held liable.
According to Indiana Code 9-21-11, the bicycle laws are as follows:
- A person propelling a bicycle may not ride upon anything other than the permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle or carry any other person upon the bicycle who is not seated upon a firmly attached and regular seat.
- A person who rides a bicycle in the roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
- A person who rides a bicycle may not carry a package, bundle, or any other item that prevents them from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- A bicycle may not be equipped with—and a person may not use upon a bicycle—a siren or a whistle.
- A bicycle operated on the roadway ½ an hour after sunset and ½ an hour before sunrise must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red light visible from 500 feet away.
- A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, and clean pavement.
The code also states that bicycle operators must abide by the highway regulations and requirements in the rest of the article. This can be confusing to some but essentially means that bicycle operators must also abide by the same rules as drivers in some cases, such as stopping at stop signs and red lights. The rules can also vary from one city to the next.
If you are ever unsure of your local laws following an accident, you can always consult with an attorney to see if you have a case and can hold the person who hit you with their bicycle accountable.
What to Do if You Are Hit By a Cyclist
Following an accident, getting yourself to safety, and addressing your injuries should always be your number one priority. The additional steps you take can be additionally helpful should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
As a pedestrian hit by a cyclist, you should:
- Seek medical attention: If you are severely injured, you should call emergency medical responders so they can treat your injuries and take you to the hospital if necessary. If you do not get medical attention at the scene of the accident, you should follow up with your doctor or go to the ER yourself if needed. Medical documents will be essential in proving the extent of your injuries and the necessity for compensation in a personal injury case.
- Call the police: Even if the person who hit you seems friendly and willing to cooperate with your personal injury claim, you should still call the police so an official report can be filed. After an accident, it is not uncommon for the guilty party to play nice only to later try to deny your claims. A police report will ensure that the accident is documented to keep this from happening.
- Gather witness information: Aside from getting contact info from the person who hit you, you should also gather contact information and statements from any other witnesses who saw what happened. Their statements can help you build a stronger case when proving fault.
- Gather evidence: If possible, try to take as many photographs of the scene as possible. This includes wide shots of the whole scene as well as close-ups of any damage and injuries sustained.
- Call an attorney: A local attorney will better understand local laws and how best to proceed when attempting to prove fault in a cyclist-related accident. They can work with you to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one were struck by a cyclist as a pedestrian, you have a right to seek compensation for any injuries sustained. Proving fault in cyclist-related accidents, however, can sometimes be a challenge. While there are bicycle laws in place, it is not always immediately evident who disobeyed the law and acted negligently. An experienced attorney can help you file your claim and gather any necessary evidence to prove your case.
At Crossen Law Firm, our team has over 20 years of experience fighting for pedestrians involved in car accidents. We are dedicated to working tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.