With spring just around the corner, motorists all around Minnesota will begin to see the return of bicyclists to the roadways.  According to the Minnesota Department of Safety, 80% of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes that result in injury occur between the months of April and September.  While some cities, like Minneapolis, have provided greenways and bike lanes, in most areas, bicyclists and motor vehicles are forced to share the same roads.  This means that there will be bicyclists and motorists traveling within feet, and sometimes inches, of one another.  With this close proximity between bicyclists and motor vehicles, crashes are inevitable.

In order to improve the safety of bicyclists, MNDOT provides eight “rules of the road” for motorists and bicyclists:

•   Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted — such as interstates.
•   Bicyclists should ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
•   Motorists must at all times maintain a three-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist.
•   Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
•   Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right of way to each other.
•   Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.
•   Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark.
•   Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear.

Even with these “rules of the road,” the Minnesota Department of Transportation estimates that, between 2008 and 2010, 32 bicyclists were killed and over 2800 bicyclists were injured in bicycle-motor vehicle crashes.  If you are a bicyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, your rights to recover for your damages are going to depend on who was “at fault” for causing the collision.

If a bicyclist is injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and the driver of that vehicle was “at fault,” the cyclist can recover, from the driver’s insurance company, for past and future medical expenses, wage loss, and pain, suffering, and emotional distress.  The cyclist is also entitled to no-fault benefits of up to $20,000.00 in medical expenses and $20,000.00 in lost wages.

When bicyclists are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and the cyclist is “at fault,” they are still entitled to the same no-fault benefits of $20,000.00 in medical expenses and $20,000.00 in lost wages.  If you have a question about a bicycle-motor vehicle accident, feel free to contact the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC.