02

Blog

Originally posted January 2012 & updated August 2017North Carolina Bike Accident Lawyer

Bike Law and laws are everywhere: First of all, every state has different bicycling laws, and within each state, some laws may vary from county to county. Although, the rules of the road are mostly state-wide and the county laws deal normally with other things that may affect cyclists – like loose dogs and where you can use a gun. Sidewalk cycling is a big topic of local ordinances; did you know Charlotte bans cycling on sidewalks only in very few areas, mostly in center city?

Bicycles are vehicles: North Carolina has very few laws related to cycling.  The few that do exist mostly deal with equipment – lights and helmets, for example.  Surprised?  The Department of Transportation book for cyclists and pedestrians cites tons of North Carolina cycling laws.  Go to the actual statutes cited; they are motor vehicle statutes.  In almost every instance, in this State, we have to look at the motor vehicle laws and figure out how they apply to us.  South Carolina is similar but has a great anti-harassment law, which we in North Carolina desperately covet.

Is it a crime? If you’re involved in a crash or some unpleasant interaction with another vehicle on the road, it is possible you may get to experience the criminal and the civil legal system.  If a police officer issues the at-fault driver (or cyclist) a ticket, that ticket is handled through the criminal system.  If the driver is charged with a crime, you could find yourself headed to a courtroom as a witness.  Since the State (or Prosecution) is bringing the charges and you would be a witness, at most, you do not necessarily need a lawyer for this proceeding.  However the prosecutor is representing the State, not you, so it is really helpful to talk with an attorney and, if the charges are serious enough, have an attorney (preferably a cycling attorney) in your corner.

It’s a crash, not an accident: If you or your bicycle is injured in this incident, you may also become involved in the civil legal system.  In other words, you may bring a claim against the driver who hit you.  You should always talk with a cycling attorney BEFORE talking with an at-fault driver or insurance company.  It may turn out you don’t need an attorney, for example, if your injuries are very minor.  But why not call or email one?  We’re really nice and sometimes we give you some nuggets you may not think of on your own.  Worst case scenario, we’ll have a nice conversation about cycling and make the world a better place.

If you have an attorney, the attorney will help you try to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company AND will help make sure all available insurance to cover your damages is discovered.  While the large majority of claims are resolved by “pre-lawsuit” negotiation, sometimes it is necessary to resort to the civil court system and if it is, you’d better make sure you have an attorney who knows how to find the courthouse!

Keep this civil/criminal difference in mind when we get to the more specific topics.  It’s important to know that the fact that police don’t issue the at-fault driver a ticket does not mean you don’t have a civil claim against the driver for your injuries.  In fact, police often won’t issue a ticket unless the officer him/herself has seen the rule violation. Or, for a very serious crash with serious injuries, law enforcement may perform an investigation with reconstruction to determine who is at fault.

 

Comments

AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
E Bike and insurance
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 01, 2019

Prologue  Last month, I rode across the Casco Bay Bridge to talk e-bikes and insurance with Bob O’Brien, the Vice President of Noyes, Hall and Allen Insurance in South Portland, Maine.  Although I have yet to invest in an e-bike for myself, I have been captivated by e-bikes and their potential to get and keep […]

Read More
Brooke Nelson
Danny Feldman Jul 01, 2019

Brooke Nelson has been the ride director of the Cheaha Challenge (www.cheahachallange.com) since shortly after the 2014 ride and in the past 5 years, ride participation has increased 188%.  Since 2017 when it became the only UCI Qualifier, Alabama’s biggest ride has become known nationally and internationally.  The 2019 ride had participants from 31 states […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Jun 20, 2019

Thanks to some outstanding advocacy efforts, both the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia have recently scored two important wins for cycling safety. Pennsylvania:  “Dutch Reach” in State Driver’s Manual The “Dutch Reach” method of opening a car door has finally been added to the State Driver’s Manual after many years of conversation. […]

Read More
Pat Brown Jun 20, 2019

ONTARIO BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Ontario. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the Province’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Pat Brown directly. Right to […]

Read More
Ladies on Spokes
Bruce Hagen Jun 19, 2019

Some people are in Book Clubs.  Others may have a green thumb and gravitate towards Garden Clubs.   Finding like minded people to share a common interest is an important part of being an active member of your community.   In Newnan, there is a group of women who have made their shared passions a vital […]

Read More
Load More