The warm weather and beautiful natural scenery of Las Vegas make it a great city for cycling. However, cycling in Las Vegas can also be risky. Cyclists have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road, but even responsible cyclists can become victims of accidents caused by irresponsible motorists.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Las Vegas bicycle accident caused by negligence, you have legal rights. At the Cottle Firm, our Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers help injured cyclists fight for the financial compensation they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.
What Are the Most Common Types of Bicycle Accidents?
There are many different ways a bicycle accident can happen, including single-vehicle accidents involving only the cyclist, accidents between cyclists and motor vehicles, and accidents involving pedestrians.
Here are some of the most common types of bicycle accidents our Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers see.
Dooring happens when someone in a parked vehicle opens their door as a cyclist is passing the vehicle. If the cyclist does not have enough time to react to the opening door, they may collide with it.
Motorists have a legal duty to check their rearview mirror before opening their doors to ensure that no cyclists, vehicles, or pedestrians are at risk of getting hit. When a cyclist gets hit by an opening car door and suffers injuries, the owner of the vehicle could be considered negligent and held liable for damages.
Right-cross accidents happen when a cyclist is traveling with the flow of traffic on the right side of the street and a car pulls out from a driveway or side street, either striking the cyclist directly or causing the cyclist to strike them.
Cyclists have the same legal rights as all other vehicles on the road, which means that drivers are required to yield the right of way to them. If a right-cross accident happened due to a failure to yield, the motor vehicle driver may be considered negligent.
A left cross accident happens when a cyclist is moving with the flow of traffic and an oncoming driver makes a left-hand turn directly in front of them. This type of accident commonly happens to both cyclists and motorcycle drivers. Left cross collisions often happen because the driver either did not see the cyclist or underestimated how fast the cyclist was traveling.
Right hook collisions occur when cyclists are riding on the right side of a road and a motor vehicle passes them on the left, but then quickly makes a right turn in front of the cyclist, cutting them off. The driver may not have realized that the cyclist was in their blind spot or may mistakenly think that they are far enough ahead of the cyclist to make the turn.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Las Vegas
Many accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles occur due to negligence by the vehicle driver. Cyclists and motorists both have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles as safely as possible and failing to meet this obligation constitutes negligence.
Some of the most common forms of negligence in bicycle accident cases include:
- Speeding – Speeding drivers have less time to react to the unexpected, such as a cyclist that they did not see until the last second. High-speed collisions are more likely to cause severe injuries, but even low-speed collisions between vehicles and cyclists can be devastating.
- Distracted driving – Many collisions between cyclists and drivers happen due to the driver being distracted behind the wheel and failing to see the cyclist. Common forms of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, and eating.
- Failure to yield – Bicyclists have the same rights as cars, which means that there are many situations in which a motorist is required to yield to a cyclist. If a cyclist expects a driver to yield and they do not, an accident can happen.
- Failure to give cyclists enough space – Motorists are required to leave enough space between their vehicle and cyclists. A motorist who follows a cyclist too closely or who does not provide enough space on the side can cause an accident.
- Unsafe lane changes – Motorists need to be extremely careful when changing lanes. Careless lane changes, such as merging into a bike lane without checking for cyclists, often lead to accidents.
- Weaving through traffic – Drivers who recklessly weave through lanes of traffic often cause accidents with other vehicles and cyclists.
- Turning without checking for cyclists – Drivers are required to check for cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles in their blind spots before making turns. Failure to do so can lead to easily preventable accidents.
What Are the Most Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Bicycle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from relatively minor ones that heal within a matter of days to severe injuries that leave cyclists permanently disabled. Some cycling injuries can even be fatal. According to the National Safety Council, preventable cyclist deaths increased by 44% between 2011 and 2020.
Head and Brain Injuries
When cyclists get into an accident, they are often thrown from their bicycles. This often results in collisions with the roadway and blows to the head. This is why cyclists should always wear helmets to protect themselves.
A blow to the head can cause several serious head and brain injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or cracked skull
Cyclists who suffer blows to the head should always seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they were wearing a helmet and have not noticed any symptoms. Head and brain injuries sometimes have delayed symptoms, and waiting for symptoms to appear could lead to a more difficult recovery process.
Back and Neck Injuries
If a cyclist hits the pavement after a collision with a car, they could suffer serious back and neck injuries. Common back and neck injuries suffered by cyclists include pinched nerves, herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, and even spinal cord damage. Severe back and neck injuries involving the spinal cord can leave cyclists permanently disabled or even paralyzed.
Helmets offer cyclists head protection, but their faces are often left exposed. When a cyclist’s face hits the pavement, a vehicle, or another object during an accident, the cyclist could suffer broken facial bones, contusions, lacerations, or broken teeth.
Even when wearing protective gear, cyclists are highly vulnerable to broken bones during collisions with motor vehicles. These fractures vary in severity, from fairly minor hairline fractures that heal quickly to compound fractures that require long and difficult recovery periods.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Bicycle Accidents?
In most bicycle accident cases, liability is assigned to one or more parties involved in the crash. Nevada is a comparative negligence state, which means that multiple parties may each be assigned a percentage of negligence based on the role they played in the accident.
When a motorist strikes a cyclist, that motorist may be held liable if they are found to be negligent. The plaintiff must prove that the motorist breached their duty of care and that this breach caused the cyclist’s injuries. The motorist could also be held liable under the concept of “negligence per se” if they broke a law during the collision, such as running a red light.
In some cases, third parties can also be held liable for bicycle accidents. For example, if the crash occurred due to a defectively designed bicycle malfunctioning on the road, the bicycle manufacturer could potentially be held liable via a product liability lawsuit.
Las Vegas Bicycle Accident FAQ
Can I File a Bicycle Accident Claim If I Was Partially At Fault?
Yes, you can file a bicycle accident claim even if you were partially at fault, provided that your percentage of fault was less than 50%. For example, if you were improperly riding your bicycle at the time of the crash, such as riding on the wrong side of the road, the motorist could still be held liable if they were deemed to be at least 50% at fault.
However, you should note that your total award will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. So if you were deemed 25% at fault and the driver’s insurance provider offered a $10,000 settlement, your total settlement would be reduced to $7,500.
Can I Sue the City of Las Vegas For Bicycle Injuries?
If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by the negligence of a city employee, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the city. For example, if you crashed while cycling near a city construction site because an employee failed to clean up debris, you could potentially have a case for a lawsuit. However, suing the city is complicated, so you should consider seeking legal guidance from an experienced Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyer.
Contact Our Las Vegas Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Have you recently suffered injuries during a bicycle accident in Las Vegas? If your accident occurred due to the negligence of a motorist or another party, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Contact the experienced Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers of the Cottle Firm today to learn more about your legal options.