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Bicycle accident myths are common

Street cyclists are generally adults riding bikes on a relaxing commute to the office. These days, inattention can result in more than a minor scrape. Traffic is a constant hazard, as are careless bike riders, motorcycles, motor vehicles of every description and the pedestrian who vaguely wanders into the road between parked cars.

You can buy a top-of-the-line racing bicycle or a secondhand model from the used bike shop. 

Myth #1. Sidewalks are safer for cyclists than pavement

This myth alone results in more accidents for riders. Part of the problem is that vehicles are not expecting a bicycle on a sidewalk. A cyclist's speed is relatively much greater than a pedestrian. Typically, a vehicle driver quickly looks left and right for pedestrians, then steps on the gas. A person will not generally walk fast enough to reach the vehicle after the driver has made the safety check. After the driver has checked for safety, a bicycle can speed up into the driver's space without the driver's awareness. The vehicle begins to move and hits the cyclist. Bicycle laws about sidewalk riding vary from state to state; within each state, they can differ according to the city.

Myth #2. A car must make contact with a bicycle to incur accident liability

If a car swerves unexpectedly due to erratic driving and a cyclist has to swerve to avoid the car, the driver of the car is liable for any damage to the cyclist who had to take evasive action. If the cyclist falls or hits a stationary object such as a parked car or a light pole, the vehicle driver is at fault and is liable for the cyclist's injuries, including property damage, to the bicycle or damage caused to other property, such as scratching that parked car.

Myth #3. A bicycle rider must move over to the right to allow a car to pass

In most states, the law is that a car or truck must give the bicyclist three feet of room when the vehicle passes. The bicyclist does not have to move to the right. If a truck has an extended side mirror, the measurement is three feet from the mirror to the handlebar tip of the bike. This safety law exists in nearly all states. The three-foot rule applies to the state of Kentucky, and in Indiana state, Indianapolis just passed the three-foot rule.

Bicyclists injured by careless motor vehicle drivers, motorized scooters veering into streets or other road hazards may be eligible to recover damages for personal injury and property damage. Learn and follow safe bicycle riding practices. There are laws to protect cyclists, and legal consequences for those who put bicycle riders' lives in jeopardy.

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