Cyclists Need to Follow Rules of the Road For the Common Good

by Lisa on March 27, 2015

Approximately 3,000 cyclists are killed or severely injured each year. A recent study indicates cyclists themselves can be responsible for these accidents, as the study found that 42% of cyclists do not follow road rules, such as stopping at a stop sign at an intersection. Interestingly, the National Highway Institute also found in a 2014 study that 24% of fatal bicycle injuries occurred to those with BAC levels of .08% or higher and 37% of crashes involved cyclists who had been drinking.

A few key takeaways from this information:

1- Cyclists need to follow the rules of the road just like automobiles for their safety, not just to obey the law.

2- Perhaps the bicycle isn’t the safest motor alternative for getting home after a night of drinking.

NOLA, law for all, covers some key legal areas for cyclists in the below passage:

Who is at Fault — the Bike or the Car?

Legally speaking, in nearly every state a bicycle is considered to be a “vehicle” and therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road. When it comes to collisions occurring at intersections, liability usually boils down to who had the right-of-way — the car or the bike.

Right-of-way rules: No traffic signals. Generally, when two vehicles approach an intersection not controlled by a traffic signal, the vehicle arriving first has the right of way. If the vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way. This is also the rule for vehicles approaching intersections controlled by stop signs — the vehicle to the right has the right of way. If, however, the intersection consists of a minor street intersecting with a major street, then the traffic on the major street has the right-of-way.

Right-of-way rules: Traffic signals. The right-of-way at intersections controlled by signals is determined by the signal. If a signal sensor is unable to detect the presence of a bicycle, the cyclist can (1) position the bicycle closer to the sensors embedded in the road, and if that doesn’t work, wait until it is safe to cross against the light, or (2) cross at the crosswalk.

Having said that, there are other legal considerations that come into play depending on the type of intersection and whether the car is turning or going straight through. These different intersection situations require cyclists to use different defense techniques to avoid accidents.

To read more about the legal aspects of cycling accidents, visit NOLO.

The CDC emphasizes that bicycle helmets should always be worn, and in most states, helmet laws apply for all children. The CDC also recommends reflective clothing at night to improve visibility and encourages roadway safety measures, such as bicycle lanes.

Net-net: Cyclists should obey the rules of the road just like automobiles.

Given the importance of cyclists and pedestrians following the rules of the road, be prepared for questions along these lines when going to take the DMV Written Test. These are important issues for all drivers to understand. For complete study material to prepare for your DMV written test click here.

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