Bicycle riding safety breakdown from Bloom Legal

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 in Local Issues, National Issues, Personal Injury, Traffic

Healthy people bicycle // Photo courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

Healthy people bicycle // Photo courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

In New Orleans, bicycle riding recreationally and as a primary method of transportation has reached a record high. On any given day in the city, you will see groups of people leisurely riding for fun, people furiously peddling to get to work, and other people keeping a steady pace, while they deliver goods or other people, as part of their job. While the idea of riding a bike for enjoyment or work appears healthy and fun, it can also be dangerous.

Most traffic laws were written for automobiles on the road, leaving a myriad of questions for bike riders, such as, if they should ride on the sidewalk or risk sharing the road with a driver who may not see them, or have no regard for their safety. This confusion of bike riding laws coupled with the growing number of bicycle riders in New Orleans has led to a sharp increase in severe accidents and bicycle deaths and it is important that drivers and bicycle riders are aware of bicycle laws, as they were made to protect both drivers and bicyclists.

For instance, did you know that Louisiana laws requires that the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, must leave a safe distance of not less than three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle until safely past the overtaken bicycle? Or that individuals riding bicycles upon a roadway are not allowed to ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles? These laws are created not only to protect motorists but also for the protection of bicycle riders.

While bicyclists are becoming more common on the roads, New Orleans is still struggling to develop the safety awareness and the recommended infrastructure necessary to create a more biking friendly city. Since 2006, there has been a steady increase in motor vehicle and bicycle crashes, and in 2014 there were a reported 308 crashes. These collisions can leave a bicycle rider with serious problems and many questions. To further complicate the situation, many police officers are also unaware of the laws regulating bike riders and often times, if called to an accident, they will assume the bike rider is the one at fault and incorrectly issue them a citation.

This is why it is important that if you or someone you know has been inured or issued a citation in a bicycle accident, that you consult an experienced bicycle attorney. Bloom Legal, located in the Greater New Orleans area, has been helping individuals recover from biking accidents and have the experience and the knowledge to ensure you receive the care and compensation you need to survive the aftermath of the accident.

If a vehicle has collided with your bike, it is likely that your bike has been destroyed and you have suffered injuries. Most certainly, these injuries will require medical attention and recovery time, resulting in the creation of medical expenses and lost wages. Depending upon the situation and the knowledge of the police officer, who came to the accident scene, the driver, may or may not have been cited. An informed bicycle attorney will know to further investigate this matter and determine what resources can be used to help you, so that your accident doesn’t have to destroy your life and future. Louisiana bicycle law dictates that the level of fault of every person must be evaluated in bicycle accidents and Bloom Legal works for you to guarantee the protection of your rights. Ensuring this law is abided is particular beneficial because if the biker was cited for causing the bicycle crash, they can still recover compensation from the other driver.

As New Orleans is slowly making minor improvement along the roads, such as the recent addition of “sharrows,” a picture of a bicycle painted on a roadway directing riders toward bike lanes, the city still has a lot of progress to make if it is going to reduce the growing amount of biking accidents. In the interim, the best option to help prevent bike collisions is education. The rise in biking accidents has prompted the formation of many biking groups. These groups frequently use social media as a means of information and prevention with weekly neighborhood bike rides organized with the goal of helping communities understand the rights and laws of both motorists and bikers on the road.

While it is understandable that a bicyclist will feel vulnerable when sharing the road with a motor vehicle, it is important for them to know they are also subject to specific laws and improving safety will depend upon everyone on the road becoming familiar with the laws. Even with that understanding, accidents will occur and it is important to know that support does exist and bicyclists do have rights. If you have any questions about laws pertaining to bicyclists or have been injured in a bicycle accident, let Bloom Legal help you by calling 504-599-9997 or emailing us directly at info@bloomlegal.com.

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