As we move into spring and summer, drivers are increasingly going to be sharing the roads with cyclists. While responsible drivers take care to put some space between themselves and cyclists, not all cyclists take sufficient care to avoid riding into traffic.
Car vs bike collisions are typically much more harmful to the cyclist than to anyone inside a vehicle. However, a reckless, unexpected and/or illegal move by a cyclist – or a group of them – can cause a driver to swerve into another vehicle, a solid object like a lamppost or tree or even into oncoming traffic. Any of these can cause serious injuries to those in the vehicle (and other vehicles), while the cyclist may remain unscathed.
State and local laws govern bicyclists in Louisiana
Bicyclists have their own “rules of the road” that they have to follow. For example, even if there’s not a bike lane on a particular road, “Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction….” except in specific circumstances, such as passing, turning and avoiding hitting an object or animal.
Further, “Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.” That means members of a bike club can’t spread out across a lane or two of traffic and slow down vehicles behind them. Some cities and parishes in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, have regulations for bicyclists in their municipal codes.
If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by the actions of a cyclist, don’t assume that you have no recourse. In fact, if the cyclist (or others around them) had bike or helmet cameras, their recordings could be used as evidence in your favor. Further, their auto, homeowners or umbrella insurance policy may cover them for bike collisions. It’s a good idea to seek legal guidance to determine your best options for claiming compensation for medical bills and other financial losses and damages.