Many people ride bikes for fitness, as a competitive hobby, or as a means of transportation. However, this means there is a large number of cyclists on Missouri roadways, posing a greater risk of collisions between cyclists and motor vehicle drivers.

These crashes can have devastating, long-term consequences for the bike rider. If you or a loved one were struck by a negligent motorist while riding your bicycle, you should seek guidance from a qualified injury attorney. A Maryland Heights bicycle accident lawyer could help you recover financial compensation for your losses.

Missouri Laws Regarding Bicyclists

Cyclists have as much right to be on Missouri roadways as motor vehicle drivers as Missouri Revised Statutes § 307.188 explicitly states that cyclists enjoy the same rights and must adhere to the same laws as others on the road. However, the law also addresses certain obligations that directly apply to bike riders and vehicle operators.

Duty of Vehicle Operators

Given their size, other vehicles on the road can inflict severe harm to bikers. With that in mind, the state has codified several duties of drivers to maintain safe roadways, found at Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 300.411, 304.012, 304.016.2(4) & .3, & 304.678. These statutes require motorists to:

  • Give all others on the road, including cyclists, the highest degree of care
  • Treat bicycles like any other vehicle
  • Pass cyclists at a safe distance
  • Avoid squeezing past a bicycle
  • Refrain from passing when there is limited sight, such as on a curve or up a hill

Violating these rules may result in misdemeanor charges for the motorist and penalties, including loss of driver’s license, fines, and jail time. Local attorneys familiar with bike accidents may use such infractions as evidence of driver negligence when negotiating a settlement or arguing an injured party’s case in court.

Duties of Bicyclists

Safe roads require everyone’s cooperation, so there are also distinct duties imposed on cyclists. Missouri Revised Statutes sets forth these requirements in sections 300.347, 304.285, 307.183, 307.185, 307.190, and 307.191. Bikers are required to:

  • Not ride their bicycles on sidewalks in business districts
  • Follow all intersection control devices (traffic lights, walk signals)
  • Maintain a working braking system
  • Equip the bike with lights and reflectors for night-time riding
  • Keep to the right when traveling slower than the flow of traffic or the posted speed
  • Travel in the same direction as traffic – on the shoulder is allowed but not required

Breaches of these and any other legally imposed obligations may subject those operating bikes to fines between five and twenty-five dollars. Furthermore, it could be evidence of comparative fault.

Could a Bicyclist be Partially At-Fault for Their Injuries?

Drivers and their insurance companies frequently attempt to blame the accident on cyclists. Proof of inappropriate or negligent behavior by the bike rider can have a significant, adverse impact on the compensation received.

Missouri applies a pure comparative negligence theory to apportioning fault and assigning damages. This rule reduces an injured party’s compensation by the percentage of fault attributed to that person. In other words, if the plaintiff is 30 percent liable, they may receive only 70 percent of the total damages established. In a pure negligence state, like Missouri, plaintiffs who bear the majority of the blame may still receive compensation, even if the defendant’s percentage of guilt is as low as one percent (i.e., the plaintiff’s share of fault equals 99 percent).

By working with a seasoned bicycle crash attorney in the area, injured riders may be in a better position to minimize their assigned percentage of fault and maximize the dollar amount they collect.

Reach Out to a Maryland Heights Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

After a bike wreck, the struggles you face do not need to be compounded by a legal fight over damages. Our experienced Maryland Heights bicycle accident lawyers may help smooth the way to a just settlement or a successful appearance in court. We are ready when you are, so please do not hesitate to call us.