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Negligence of Bicyclists

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What Are the Rights of a Bicyclist on the Road?

Bicyclists generally have the same rights as motorists to use public highways and streets. A bicyclist must observe the rules of the road and traffic regulations governing motor vehicles except as specifically provided otherwise. Bicyclists are required to exercise ordinary care for their own safety, which means such care as prudent persons of like age, intelligence, and experience would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.  

A motor vehicle, such as a car, truck, or motorcycle, is not entitled to the right of way over a bicycle. The driver of a motor vehicle must exercise due care to avoid injury to a bicyclist.  

Can Bicyclists Be Negligent?

Bicyclists, like motor vehicle drivers, can be negligent when operating their vehicles on the road. If there is an accident, the negligence of a bicyclist may be used by a motorist as a defense to liability. For example, an adult bicyclist, turning in front of an approaching motorist without first checking for approaching vehicles, may be guilty of negligence as a matter of law. 

What If the Bicyclist Is a Child?

Where a child is riding a bicycle, his or her negligence is measured by different standards than adults. A child bicyclist may be too young to be chargeable with negligence. Where the bicyclist is a minor, that bicyclist is chargeable only with such care as would be exercised by a prudent person of like age and experience. Although a child may have sufficient judgment to be held liable for negligence, he or she may not be held for such negligence where the bicyclist is so young as to be incapable of exercising any care or discretion.

Should I Consult an Attorney for a Bicycle Accident?

Determining liability in accidents is complex and many times both parties are partially to blame. A personal injury attorney can help explain the law and protect your rights so that you can recover damages for you injury or protect yourself from liability.

Photo of page author Peter Clarke

, LegalMatch Content Manager

Last Modified: 06-10-2014 11:21 AM PDT

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