Could the City Be Held Liable for Your Bike Accident?

LAS VEGAS, Nevada. Biking on public roads can be incredibly dangerous. Drivers may not always be aware of bicyclists. Bike lanes may not always be divided from the roadway. And, all it takes is one mistake, one missed turn, one swerve, to result in a biker being seriously injured. Anyone who has biked on city roads has had one or more close calls. In fact, one study found that when bike lanes aren’t protected, bicyclists might experience as much as one close call each week. These close calls usually happen because there are no bike lanes, there is no separation between bike lanes and the road, or because drivers are not punished when they hit bikers.

Closeup of a black mountain bike on a field

Yet, recent innovations in city design have made biking safer than ever.

New York City, for example, has installed barriers between car lanes and bike lanes. Plastic posts have been installed on streets where cars park to prevent drivers from parking in bike lanes. More space has been made for bikes, decreasing the risk that a biker will be hit by an open door, or turning car.

According to the Atlantic, the prevalence of these safety features is largely the result of advocacy, but also due to a book on street design that helped engineers better design cities. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials publish a manual that sets standards for how city streets should be designed. The book sets the standards for street lights and stop signs across the country. It’s why we don’t see different kinds of lights in each city. With more people traveling from city to city, standardization is incredibly important. In fact, standardization is so important that it protects cities from being sued by drivers. As long as cities abide by the standards for street design, the city has some legal protection from liability.

Yet, for many years, no standards existed for how cities should design their streets to accommodate bikes—until recently. Thanks to the new standard manual standards now exist for how bike lanes should be designed. It is why we are seeing more cities with protected bike lanes that give bicyclists the space they need to ride safely. The new standards may mean that bikers could potentially have more options in the future should they be hit by a vehicle. If a city has failed to install proper bike lanes that meet the guide’s standards, victims may soon be able to pursue lawsuits against cities and municipalities for failing to properly protect riders on particularly dangerous roads.

According to Fast Company, one innovative company allows cities to install temporary barriers for bike lanes before committing to more permanent ones. This allows the city to study the impact of the new lanes and better design the city to accommodate bikers.

With so many options to keep bikers safe, there really is no excuse for cities failing to put in proper bike lanes to protect riders. If you live in Las Vegas, Nevada and were injured in a bike accident, you may have important rights under the law. The Truman Law Firm, P.C. are personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada who work closely with bike accident victims. Our firm can help you seek damages for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We can identify all stakeholders and help you seek the recovery you may deserve. Visit us at http://trumanlawfirm.com/ to learn more.