Grand Rapids is a bike-friendly city with plenty of paved trails and designated lanes for riders on bicycles, adult trikes, recumbent bikes, and tandem bicycles to enjoy a leisurely ride, exercise, train for a race, or commute to work.
Bicycles make up only 1 percent of all trips in the U.S. Yet, recent statistics show more than 1,250 bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles in Michigan, resulting in more than 900 injuries and three dozen deaths each year.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a bicycle accident, a Grand Rapids bicycle accident attorney from Jay Trucks & Associates can help you get the compensation you need for your medical bills and other losses so you can focus on your recovery.
Choose Jay Trucks & Associates for Your Grand Rapids Bicycle Accident Claim
A serious bicycle injury can be life-changing and cause financial hardship for the victim and their family. If you or a loved one suffered a bicycle injury that the negligence of others caused, you can trust Jay Trucks & Associates to handle your case professionally and compassionately.
Our personal injury lawyers have fought for the rights of Grand Rapids accident victims for decades. Our firm has handled more than 1,000 cases and recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
Our Grand Rapids personal injury lawyers are ready to handle the entire legal process on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injury. We charge no fees upfront and only bill you when we successfully recover compensation.
Contact us online or call us today for a free consultation at (989) 386-3456.
Bicycle Accidents Are Common
Each year in the U.S., motor vehicle crashes kill nearly 1,000 bicycle riders and injure 130,000. With little or no protection, bicyclists may suffer catastrophic or deadly injuries when a car or truck collides with them. The cost of health care, lost work productivity, and pain and suffering from bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes in the U.S. exceeds $23 billion each year.
Here is a snapshot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of bicycle injuries and fatalities in U.S.:
- Most bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas
- About 64 percent of bicycle deaths occur away from intersections
- 27 percent of bicycle deaths occur at intersections
- One-third of fatal bike crashes involve alcohol
Michigan and Grand Rapids Bicycle Laws
Michigan is considered a bike-friendly state with plenty of designated areas for cyclists to share the road with cars and trucks.
With road sharing comes laws to ensure safety. Michigan requires motorists to follow the rules of the road and drive safely to ensure the safety of others. When it comes to bicyclists, Michigan requires motorists to stay at least three feet from bicyclists when passing them on the road.
Likewise, bicyclists must comply with rules of the road and obey traffic signals. They can ride on sidewalks but must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian on a sidewalk, designated walking path, or crosswalk.
Michigan law does not require cyclists to wear helmets despite evidence that wearing them reduces the risk of serious brain injury and death.
Some Michigan municipalities have implemented additional regulations to increase cyclists’ safety on the roadways. For example, in 2019, Grand Rapids became one of nine municipalities in the state to require motorists to give bikes a full five feet of space when passing.
Michigan also prohibits the opening of vehicle doors in a way that obstructs bicyclists and requires bicyclists to affix a white light on the front of their bikes and a reflector on the back when riding at night.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Here are some common causes of bicycle accidents that motorists and cyclists need to know to promote safe cycling:
- Motor vehicle collisions: Collisions with cars, trucks, or motorcycles cause many bicycle accidents. These can happen when drivers fail to see or yield to cyclists, make unsafe turns, open car doors without checking for approaching bicycles, or engage in distracted or reckless driving.
- Inadequate infrastructure: Poorly designed or maintained roads, lack of dedicated bicycle lanes, inadequate signs or lighting, and unsafe intersections can contribute to bicycle accidents. Cyclists may need to share the road with motor vehicles, increasing the risk of collisions.
- Door zone accidents: When parked vehicles open their doors without checking for approaching cyclists, it can lead to dooring accidents. Cyclists can collide with open doors or swerve into traffic to avoid them, resulting in injuries.
- Riding under the influence: Alcohol or drug impairment affects judgment, coordination, and reaction times. Intoxicated drivers have a more difficult time driving at a safe speed, staying in their lanes, and keeping a safe distance from cyclists.
- Unsafe passing and overtaking: When drivers fail to provide sufficient passing distance, they can sideswipe or force cyclists off the road. Similarly, aggressive overtaking maneuvers by motorists can lead to accidents.
- Road hazards: Potholes, debris, slippery surfaces, sewer grates, or uneven pavement or railroad tracks can cause cyclists to lose control and crash.
- Inattentive driving: Distractions like using a cellphone, listening to music, or engaging in activities that divert attention from the road can lead to motor vehicle drivers overlooking cyclists.
Dealing With the Insurance Company After a Bicycle Accident
Similar to car accidents in Michigan, bicyclists hit by a motor vehicle may collect no-fault benefits to cover the cost of medical bills, loss of income, and other expenses related to your injuries.
You may receive coverage for your accident-related medical bills through Michigan’s no-fault insurance program, even if you caused the accident. Your health insurance may also cover some of your medical expenses.
You may receive other no-fault benefits, such as compensation for lost income, home care services, medical transportation costs, and other benefits, and up to three years of lost income through your own car insurance or auto insurance of a family member you live with at the time of the accident. The personal injury protection (PPI) insurance portion of your policy, which Michigan law requires all motorists have, should cover these damages.
If you or a residential family member doesn’t have car insurance, you may qualify for compensation for reasonable charges for medical care, recovery, and rehabilitation through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP).
The MACP process works like this: After you apply, MACP will review your documents and assign the claim to one of the six insurance companies participating in the program. The insurer reviews your application to verify you are, in fact, eligible for PIP benefits via MACP. Once it establishes eligibility, the insurer pays your eligible PIP benefits on behalf of MACP. MACP then reimburses the insurer for the PIP benefits paid and expenses associated with the handling of the claim.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Jay Trucks & Associates can file your bicycle accident claim through your auto insurance or with MACP and take that confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating burden off your plate so you can focus on getting your life back in order.
Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver?
Like most personal injury cases, to hold someone liable for your injuries, you must establish negligence on the part of the at-fault party.
In a Grand Rapids bicycle lawsuit, you must prove:
- Duty of care: The plaintiff (the injured party or their representative) must establish that the defendant (the party alleged to be at fault) owed them a duty of care. In a bicycle accident claim, this means showing the defendant had a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care toward the plaintiff to avoid causing harm. For example, motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and watch for cyclists.
- Breach of duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care. This involves showing that the defendant failed to meet the expected standard of care in the circumstances through a specific action, such as a driver failing to yield to a cyclist at an intersection, or a failure to act, such as a property owner not maintaining safe conditions for cyclists.
- Causation: The plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident and subsequent injuries. They need to demonstrate that the accident would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions or negligence. Additionally, the plaintiff must show that their injuries were a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s breach.
- Damages: The plaintiff must prove that they suffered actual damages because of the accident. This includes physical injuries, medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other losses directly related to the accident. You must document these damages to recover compensation in a negligence case.
What if I’m Partially to Blame?
Comparative negligence determines the degree of fault or negligence of each party involved in a personal injury accident. It allocates responsibility for the damages based on the proportion of fault assigned to each party. For example, a person can still recover compensation for an accident they partially caused, but their compensation would decrease by their percentage of blame.
Michigan follows a modified comparative negligence rule, specifically known as the 51 percent rule. Under this rule, an injured party may still recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit as long as their percentage of fault does not exceed 50 percent. However, if the injured party’s percentage of fault exceeds 51 percent, they cannot recover any damages.
In the context of bicycle accidents, this rule would typically apply when determining the liability for the accident and the resulting damages. If a cyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle and both parties share some degree of fault, their respective levels of negligence will determine liability—and how much compensation you can recover for the accident.
An experienced bike accident attorney with Jay Trucks & Associates can review your accident to determine if you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Grand Rapids Bicycle Accident Lawyer From Jay Trucks & Associates Today
Bicycle accidents can cause life-altering injuries. If the negligence of another person caused your accident, you may recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. The legal professionals at Jay Trucks & Associates have years of experience helping bike accident victims recover the compensation they need and deserve.
Talk with a Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer at Jay Trucks & Associates about your bicycle accident in a free consultation, and let’s discuss your options for compensation.