Drivers need to be aware of and give enough space to cyclists to avoid accidents says Philadelphia car accident lawyer Rand Spear.
Cycling has become popular in Philadelphia but it’s dangerous when cyclists need to deal with negligent drivers. Sixteen cyclists died and nearly 1,300 were injured in crashes with vehicles in 2015 reports the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. In the first of a two-part podcast available on YouTube Philadelphia car accident lawyer Rand Spear has suggestions for motorists on how to avoid accidents with cyclists.
Spear says the number of accidents involving cyclists in Pennsylvania has remained fairly constant, in the 1,200 to 1,300 range per year, but the number of fatalities last year, 16, was the second highest in the last five years.
“Most accidents involving cyclists are at intersections. We all need to be very careful when there are cyclists near us and we’re operating a motor vehicle,” car accident attorney Spear says. “You have to appreciate the cyclist’s vulnerability. When you’re in a car that’s probably two tons or more; the average bike is 20 pounds so recognize that you’re operating a dangerous vehicle compared to a bicycle. If there’s an accident odds are they’re going to get hurt badly because they have nothing around them to protect them.”
“Drivers should know cyclists’ rights. Traffic laws apply to cyclists and in many occasions they have the right of way. So many people they think that the cyclist is in their way but they’re entitled to be on the roadway just as we are in motor vehicles. Once you understand that, you take a step back and you realize they have the right to be there then I think you’ll be much more focused on where they are, what they’re doing and take all the necessary precautions to avoid any type of accident.”
Rand says drivers need to avoid giving cyclists “the right hook.” “By that I mean cars that are making a right turn at an intersection should be very careful to watch out for cyclists because very often they’re on the right side of the road or crossing at the intersection. They could be difficult to observe so slow down and when you’re going to make a right turn, check your surrounding area very carefully,” Spear suggests. He also cautions drivers taking a left turn to look for an oncoming cyclist.
“There’s an abundance of cyclists on the roadways here in Philadelphia. We now have the stands where you can rent a bike for a morning or afternoon and cycle around the city so I’m seeing more and more people on bicycles as time goes by. It really is something that we all have to pay attention to and be familiar with to avoid the serious injuries that can occur with these types of accidents.”
Spear says his car accidents law firm recently settled a case before trial where a cyclist was struck by a bus. The client was seriously injured and sustained head injuries and suffered cognitive losses. “The client was happy, the client was satisfied but at the end of the day all we can really recover for clients is money. We really can’t make them better. We can’t make them whole again so I just caution everyone to just be as careful as possible,” Spear says.
If you or a family member were injured while riding a bicycle due to a negligent driver in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact Philadelphia car accident lawyer Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW or through his website for a free consultation. You can discuss what happened, how the law may apply and your best options for obtaining compensation for your injuries.