Hurt in a Bike Crash?

Utah is a great place to live, hike and ride your bike. Unfortunately, sometimes cyclists are hit by cars. If you have been hit by a car, you should understand how the law works when it comes to bicycles. Unfortunately, when a cyclist is hit by a car, the injuries are usually more severe and commonly include fractured bones, cuts that need stitches, road rash, or head/neck injuries. Cyclists are more vulnerable as they are more exposed; always wear a helmet and other protective gear.

If you have been hit you have three insurance claims to consider. They are:

How do I get my bike fixed or replaced;
Can I get any immediate help for medical expenses; and
If the crash was not my fault, do I have a claim that can be presented to the insurance of the person at fault.

How do I get my bike fixed?

If you were not at fault for the crash, then the insurance company for the at fault driver with either fix or pay you the fair market value for your bike. You can take your bike to a local shop and get a repair estimate to fix the bike. If the value of the repairs are less than about 70% of the value of the bike the insurance company will pay for the repairs.

If the damage to the bike is extensive and the cost of repair approaches the value of the bike, the insurance company will most likely total your bike. The insurance company will have to pay you the fair market value for your bike. The more expensive your bike the harder it is to value. There are only a few sources to value bicycles. It is a good ides to go to your local shop and get a valuation. Let the insurance company make the first offer. If you are dis-satisfied with the offer the burden shifts to you to prove the value of the bicycle. Importantly, you are only owed the value of the bike in its used but pre-crash condition, not the cost of a new replacement bike.

Do bicyclists qualify for No Fault Benefits, and if so, what are they?

Yes, if you were hit on a bicycle, you qualify for No Fault benefits. Bicyclists are considered pedestrians in terms of no-fault law. What that means is that if you are hit by a car there are certain benefits that are available to an injured cyclist, regardless of how the accident happened (even if it was your own fault). Generally, Utah has no-fault benefits — or personal injury protection benefits — that apply. Generally, they include:

$3,000 of medical expenses (minimum);
$250 a week of lost wages for up to 52 weeks from the time first claimed;
$20 a day for essential services.

These benefits will come from the insurance policy for the car that hit you without regard to fault. Additionally, if you own a car or truck, your own auto policy may also apply to provide additional medical coverages.

Call us at 435.688.1919, and we will be happy to explain your rights to you.

Is there any further compensation if the accident was not my fault?

If you are hit on your bicycle and the accident was not your fault, the law treats your claim the same as if you were in a car. There are four elements that you must prove in order to be successful against the at-fault motorist in presenting your insurance claim. The elements are:

You must show who caused the accident.
You must show that you were hurt in the accident.
You must show that the injuries claimed are related to the automobile/bicycle crash.
You must show what amount of money will fairly compensate you for your overall damages?

If you are hit by a car, truck or motorcycle, please give us a call at 435.688.1919 we will be happy to explain your rights to you.

If you’ve been Hurt, Don’t go far . . .Call Brad Harr!

While on the road, what are my rights and duties as a bicyclist?

The State of Utah has specifically provided a section on the laws for bicycles. It is found in Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1102 et sec. Generally speaking, the law provides that:

A vehicle or device propelled by human power, or a moped has all the rights and is subject to the provisions of this chapter applicable to the operator of any other vehicle.

In real people language, this means that you are allowed to drive on the road way and are required to travel the same direction as a car or motorcycle. Further, you must obey all traffic laws and traffic control devices. In other words, you must stop for stop signs, use appropriate signals to indicate you are turning etc.

The law provides the following guidelines when operating in the lane of travel. Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1105 states in part:

A person operating a bicycle. . . at less than the normal speed of traffic. . . shall ride as near as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except when:
Overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
Preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
Traveling straight through an intersection that has a right-turn only lane that is in conflict with the straight through movement; or
Reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway including:
Fixed or moving objects;
Parked or moving vehicles;
Bicycles;
Pedestrians;
Animals;
Surface hazards; or
A lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Really, all that the law is saying is you should travel the same direction as traffic and use common sense when riding.

If you are riding at night, use a light. Many cyclists don’t have lights or find it inconvenient to use a light. The law says lights must be used “at any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise” and that they are to be visible to other traffic for 500 feet. Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1114 and Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1605. It is hard to see bicycles at night so remember to use headlight and taillights.

Unfortunately, a lot of motorists who do not believe cyclists should ride their bikes on the road at all. The argument is made that they should ride on bike paths and other rural roads which do not have heavy traffic on them. Be careful, just because the law provides that you can use roadways does not mean that motorists will always be courteous nor careful; therefore, we encourage you to ride aware at all times. If you are driving a car, please pass cyclists with safety allowing them at least three feet of a safety zone as you pass them.

Cycling is a great sport and a beautiful way to see Utah and your local community. We encourage you to get out and enjoy the roads and be safe in your travels.

If you are hit by a car, truck or motorcycle, please give us a call at 435.688.1919 we will be happy to explain your rights to you.

If you’ve been Hurt, Don’t go far . . .Call Brad Harr!