Whether you ride a bike for recreation or transportation, to help with the environment, or to get more exercise, you should be safe while riding. While Connecticut law is friendly to cyclists, many local drivers are not. Some drivers resent sharing the road with cyclists and drive aggressively when confronted with cyclists. If any of that behavior results in an accident, the motor vehicle operator often escapes with no injuries, while a cyclist can face severe harm.

If you have been injured in a bicycle collision, you may be entitled to compensation from the person who injured you. A Connecticut bicycle accident lawyer at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC can help you understand your potential legal rights and remedies. Call today to schedule a free, in-person or remote consultation with one of our seasoned personal injury attorneys.

Understanding State Bicycle Laws

Cyclists are safest when the law treats them like drivers, and Connecticut law does just that. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. They must follow all traffic rules and regulations unless otherwise specified. This includes rules against operating a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Cyclists must come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs, cannot ride into oncoming traffic, and must use signals to communicate movements to other people on the road.

Special Rules & Regulations for Cyclists

However, cyclists can ride two abreast in a lane, unlike motorists. In addition, a relatively new state law requires other people to keep at least three feet of separation when passing a cyclist. In addition, cyclists can ride on sidewalks and in crosswalks. When they choose to do so, they become pedestrians in the eyes of the law.

The law requires cyclists to take some steps to protect themselves from accidents. At night, they must have a front light and reflectors or lights on the back and sides of the bike. A bike’s brakes should allow the rider to come to a complete stop within 25 feet when starting at a speed of 10 miles per hour. In addition, all bikers aged 15 and younger must wear helmets. While bikers 16 and over can choose to forego a helmet, wearing a helmet is an important safety element for all riders.

Bicyclists often cannot ride at the same speed as other drivers. When unable to keep up with the normal speed of traffic, cyclists should ride as close as possible to the right side of the road. When cyclists can keep up with traffic, they can use the entire lane. When bike lanes are provided, cyclists can use them but are not required to do so.

Although the law imposes the same rules and regulations on cyclists as other motorists, it does not treat them the same. Cyclists are vulnerable road users, meaning the state may enhance penalties against people who harm them.

Determining Liability for Bike Wrecks

Most bicycle crashes are due to driver error. Drivers are often distracted and forget to look out for cyclists. Some people even become more aggressive around bicyclists, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries. There is a common saying that bicyclists do not have fender benders. Low-speed, low-force car wrecks can lead to traumatic injuries for cyclists since they lack all of the equipment that protects people in motor vehicles.

However, sometimes a cyclist contributes to the accident. They may ignore some rules or laws or even be unaware they have the same obligations to follow traffic laws as other drivers. This is especially true for younger riders.

To determine who is to blame, a Connecticut bicycle accident attorney will look at the facts of your specific case. They may need to investigate witness statements, photos from the accident, police reports, and other evidence. Connecticut is a modified comparative fault state, meaning you can recover even if you contributed to the accident as long as you do not hold 51 percent or more of the responsibility for the wreck.

Speak With a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Connecticut

Understanding your legal rights can be confusing, especially since the law sometimes treats cyclists like motorists and sometimes like pedestrians. In addition, you may be dealing with severe physical injuries, overwhelming medical bills, and mounting financial pressure due to time away from work. The combination of factors can make it difficult to decide how to proceed.

Speaking to a Connecticut bicycle accident lawyer at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC, can help you understand your choices. Our knowledgeable legal team can help you value your injuries, identify potential defendants, and explain any time limitations for filing a lawsuit. Armed with that information, you will be in a better position to decide how to proceed. Get in touch now.