9 Common Reasons Why Bicycle Accidents Happen in Michigan
As the summer season gets rolling, more and more people hang up their car keys and choose to ride on two wheels to get to work, to run errands, or to simply ride for fun and relaxation. For others, it’s a greener and healthier transportation alternative to cars, especially if the travel distance is not too far.
But for most Michigan bicyclists, going on the road on a bike can be more worrisome than enjoyable. Infrastructures may have improved, but the problems of many bicycle accidents lie beyond that.
Vehicle Versus Bike Collisions: Risk Factors and Bias
Bike accidents have increased in recent years starting from 2015, and the cycling fatality toll continued to grow in 2016. In an article published by Plaintiff Magazine, these are the common situations on the road involving bicycles that could result in collisions:
- A vehicle made a right turn across the cyclist’s lane of travel. Vehicles that are turning right across a cyclist’s path may fail to look for bicyclists before making a turn or underestimate a cyclist’s distance or speed. The biker may have the impression that the motorist will have enough time to complete the turn;
- A vehicle made a left turn at an uncontrolled or a non-dedicated left-turn intersection;
- A driver or passenger opened the vehicle door into the biker’s track. Known as “dooring, Administrative Rule R28.1498 states that motorists are prohibited from opening their door into the flow of traffic, including that of bicycles’;
- The cyclist’s or motorist’s failure to stop at a stop sign or red light;
- A vehicle or bicyclist passing on the right;
- Sightline issues – a cyclist is often obscured from the view of on-coming or left-turning vehicles;
- The motorist miscalculate the speed of the cyclist and try to outrun or “beat” the cyclist;
- Risks on the roadway – such as potholes, improper trenching, poor pavement transitions, loose debris, or even overgrown foliage or trees that could cast shadows and impair visibility.
- The motorists’ perception that bikes will be as far right on the roadway as possible. When the biker changed their position to a passing mode, for example, the motorist may see it as non-traditional or unexpected. The motorist might then commit a miscalculated response by swerving or braking.
The thing about being a cyclist involved in a collision is that there is always a tendency for them to get the blame, just for being on a bike. Cyclists encounter police bias in cities, even in those that are deemed bike-friendly, across the U.S.
One probable explanation for this bias may be that most police officers are motorists themselves, and they see the accident situation from the motorist’s perspective. Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not only encourage reckless motorists to feel and behave like the road is only for cars, but it is against the law as well.
Michigan No-Fault Insurance Benefits and Compensation for Cyclists
Michigan, being a “No-Fault” state, grants both parties involved in an auto accident to valuable financial benefits from their insurance companies, regardless of who caused the accident. Under Michigan law, a bike is not a motor vehicle. But if a biker gets involved in a collision with a car or truck, they still have legal rights to No-Fault insurance claims.
The bicyclist may file for PIP or Personal Injury Protection claim. The benefit should help cover medical expenses, lost wages, replacement services, and attendant care, if necessary. This claim should be filed within a year from the date of the accident.
Aside from PIP, the bicyclist can also file for a tort claim, a third-party lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The biker will receive compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages damage. The claim must be filed within three years from the date of the accident.
To help you determine the insurance company that should cover your benefits, refer to the guideline below. In decreasing order:
- No-fault insurance policy of the injured bicyclist
- No-fault insurance policy of the injured bicyclist’s spouse
- No-fault insurance policy of an immediate relative of the injured bicyclist
- No-fault insurance policy of the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident
- No-fault insurance company of the driver of the car involved in the accident
- The Michigan Assigned Claims Facility
Get The Help of an Experienced Attorney to Help You Protect Your Rights
The bias against cyclists in road mishaps could influence the insurance company’s conclusion to grant your claim. They may try to offer you a quick settlement that does not really do justice to all the injuries, pain and suffering, and the financial difficulties that came with these.
Don’t worry – a seasoned personal injury lawyer could help you protect your legal rights and ensure that you get the best settlement for the damages you have sustained. Contact us today so we can discuss and evaluate your case.