Bicycling is both a recreational activity and a healthy means for commuting to work and school. Cycling can be dangerous because motorists are frequently distracted by their cell phones and other electronic devices. This means that cyclists are vulnerable to serious or catastrophic injuries due to motor vehicle collisions. The most common types of cycling accidents are:
Motorist pulls out from a street, driveway, alleyway or parking lot into the path of a cyclist
Cyclist struck by motorist in sideswipe or rear collision
Motorist making a left turn pulls into the path of an oncoming cyclist
Motorist passes a cyclist, then makes a right turn into the path of an oncoming cyclist
The door of a car parked parallel opens in front of a cyclist, either striking the cyclist, or forcing them into vehicle traffic.
Cycling accidents can also happen when road maintenance or repairs are neglected, leaving cyclists subject to parallel cracks, potholes and large gaps in the pavement. Wet pavement and roadkill debris can also cause loss of control of a bicycle if a cyclist does not see the hazard in time to react.
Why Should You Call GBM LAW?
The lawyers with GBM Law have successfully represented cyclists for decades throughout Ohio. Many of the cycling injuries have occurred while our clients were riding to or from work or while they were riding recreationally. We understand the laws protecting cyclist within the city, suburbs and rural areas. These cases typically involve motorists who fail to follow the rules or the road, and some cases involve dogs and farm animals that enter onto the roadway creating hazards for cyclists. We have represented many cyclists in Ohio who have given us very positive reviews on line and some of our clients have given testimonial about GBM Law that have been featured on Central Ohio television stations. If you or a loved one have been injured while cycling in Ohio, please call the lawyers at GBM Law. Our phone number is 614.222.4444.
Bicycle Laws in Ohio
Under Ohio law (and most other states), bicycles are considered vehicles. Even though cyclists are not licensed drivers, as bicycle operators they are required to follow basic traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and traffic signals. These laws apply to children as well as adults. Parents who allow their children to ride bicycles to school must ensure their children understand basic road rules for their route. Bicycles operated at night must have a white light on the front and a red light on the back. Bicycles must be operated “as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable.”
The Ohio DMV publishes a 15-page PDF Cycling Smarter Guide which contains excerpts from the Ohio Revised Code pertaining to bicycle law. It also contains real world advice and illustrations that give to readers an understanding of how to safely and legally ride on public roads in Ohio. If you ride regularly or even occasionally in Ohio, this is a valuable resource to review.
How Many Bicycle Accident Deaths Happen Each Year in Ohio?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the US government and part of the Department of Transportation, provides data to the public through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. This is an important tool to see how many accidents occur each year for each state, and how many lives are lost. The following are the number of cyclist fatalities in Ohio each year from 2008 to 2017:
These statistics do not include the many more serious injuries that occur each year, including broken bones, facial fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and tendon and muscle injuries. In 2017, there were 1,373 collisions involving cyclists, and 1,157 involving a reported injury.
Increasing Safety on the Road and Reducing Cycling Accidents
Most cyclists who ride regularly understand the dangers of cycling, but no one expects that they will be involved in an accident. If you ride a bicycle in Ohio, we recommend you take the following steps to stay safer on the road:
Don’t ride without a helmet: Ohio has no cyclist state helmet laws, although some cities, like Columbus and Cincinnati, do have helmet laws. Helmets reduce the likelihood of serious head trauma and traumatic brain injury by absorbing the shock from a crash and spreading the force of the impact. Wearing a helmet while operating a bicycle is advised by doctors, bicycle advocacy groups and government agencies.
Wear bright clothing or gear: Wearing bright clothing or reflective gear will make yourself more visible to drivers. You should avoid wearing dark clothing while riding a bicycle, especially if you ride in early mornings or at or after dusk. You can find numerous reflective or illuminated accessories to make your bike more visible at night.
Use hand signals: Section 4511.40 of the Ohio Revised Code outlines cycling hand signals to be given with the left hand and arm as follows:
(1) Left turn, hand and arm extended horizontally;
(2) Right turn, hand and arm extended upward;
(3) Stop or decrease speed, hand and arm extended downward.
Don’t wear ear pods / ear phones: Listening to music can make for a more enjoyable commute, but it reduces your awareness of your surroundings. If you must listen to music, leave the left earbud out (which faces traffic) so you will be able to hear cars, busses, other riders, or even dogs chasing you.
Who is at Fault in a Car vs. Bicycle Collision?
Although it is often assumed that a motorist is always at fault in a collision involving a cyclist and a motorist, this is not always the case. If a cyclist is not following traffic laws and is being negligent, they may be responsible for injuries resulting from a collision. Just like with any other motor vehicle collision, preservation of evidence and a thorough investigation is important. Do not discard of the damaged bicycle or even clothing until your attorney has advised you it is no longer needed.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
Following a cycling accident, it is never too early to contact an Ohio bicycle accident attorney. The Ohio personal injury lawyers at GBM law have been representing Ohio residents for more than 30 years and understand how stressful accidents are. While you focus on your physical, mental and emotional recovery, we will review the full accident report, conduct an independent investigation and accident reconstruction to determine who was responsible. We will determine what parties may be financially liable for an accident, and your options for pursuing compensation for:
Medical care (hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy and follow-up care)
Pain and suffering.
Insurance covering cycling accident injuries may include the other driver’s insurance, your own auto insurance policy, and even homeowner’s insurance or umbrella policies. To schedule a review of your potential case with the attorneys at Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, call 877.706.6446 or request a consultation on our website. We can meet you at our office, or your home or hospital. It is always free to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. Under our contingency fee arrangement, we are only paid for our services if we recover money for you.