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Determining fault in a car vs. bicycle collision

Bicycling is a great way to get exercise. It can help you avoid many New York traffic issues that motorized vehicles must deal with on their daily commutes or trips to the market. As a cyclist, you must follow many of the same road rules as other vehicles but have some that specifically apply to you. As a result, determining fault in a car vs. bicycle collision often becomes challenging.

According to the New York Department of Transportation, the state’s bicycle statutes address various aspects of bicycle use, such as the following:

  • Using lamps, reflectors and other equipment
  • Clinging to vehicles
  • Riding on highways
  • Wearing helmets and protective gear
  • Leaving the scene of an incident

Many municipalities have additional regulations regarding traffic regulations and bicycle access.

Duty of care

Regardless of the mode of transportation, riders and drivers owe a duty of care to those traveling around them. Cyclists must follow road rules, indicate turns appropriately and travel in the same direction as other traffic. Drivers must adhere to the regulations addressing pedestrians and cyclists in addition to those for motor vehicles.

Determining factors

Officers at the collision site often consider negligence as a determining factor. They may look at potential distractions of both parties, including eating, drinking, texting and talking on the phone. Other contributing factors might include road conditions, construction zone postings and weather patterns.

If the driver and cyclist each seem to have some degree of negligence, determining fault in a crash can become complex. Understanding your legal requirements as a cyclist can help you ride safer. It can also potentially simplify your injury claim if you sustain injuries in a collision with an automobile.

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