Common Misconceptions About What is Legal When Riding a Bicycle
Here in Buffalo NY bicycle accident lawyers often have a great deal of work on their hands, owing to the sheer volume of bicycle accidents which happen in the city. In general cycling is safe, but unfortunately with so many cars and bicycles on the road, accidents can happen. Many people assume that any accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle is the fault of the vehicle, but this is not always the case.
If you are riding a bicycle through the city streets, it is important that you have a clear understanding of how the law tells you to go about your business. There are some common misconceptions about what is legal and what isn’t, which we will try to clear up for you here.
Whilst it is always a great idea to wear your helmet when you are riding a bicycle, you may not be aware of the fact that there is actually no law which states that you must do this. We often see in legal cases that drivers believe that they are in the clear if they have caused an injury, because of the fact that the cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet. The reality however is that you have no legal obligation to do this. We must stress of course that a helmet can play an important role in keeping you safe from harm.
Taking The Lane
So many people believe that a cyclist has to stay on the far right of a lane and share it with other road users. Whilst this is true, it is only true when there is enough space in the lane to accommodate a motor vehicle and a bicycle. If you feel that the lane is not big enough for you to safely ride alongside another vehicle and share the lane, then you should ride in the center of the lane, as this is the safest approach.
Very often we see cyclists passing other vehicles on the road by taking the right hand side and passing slower vehicles. This however goes against what the law states about the passing of slow moving traffic. If you are on your bicycle and you want to pass another bicycle or a car, you have to pass on the left hand side. If you are involved in a collision and you have been passing a vehicle on the right hand side, you may very easily find that you are the one at fault.
As a cyclist on the road you are obliged to indicate using your hands before you make a maneuver. Whilst it can be difficult to prove in some cases, if you have not used your hand to indicate your intentions and then you are involved in an accident it could well be that you are the guilty party, which is why you should always look to use your hands to notify other drivers of what you are doing.
Any further questions about your legal requirements as a cyclist, feel free to get in touch.