Are Bicyclists Ever Liable for Traffic Accidents?

Madeleine Jones
September 10, 2019

When it comes to collisions between cars and bicycles, most people can believe that the driver was to blame – but this is not always the case. Any number of factors can lead to a collision – and depending on the facts of your case, a cyclist can certainly be liable for a traffic accident. However, you will need to prove the cyclist’s liability to the court or insurance company.

Cyclists Must Follow the Rules of the Road

Under Nevada state law, cyclists must obey the rules of the road in addition to motor vehicles. Cyclists must adhere to traffic signs and signals, obey the right-of-way, and refrain from engaging in reckless cycling, such as weaving in and out of traffic. However, not all cyclists obey these rules – and accidents can occur.

If you are in an accident with a cyclist who disobeyed a traffic law, leading to your accident and injuries, you could hold him or her liable. However, you will need to establish that the cyclist caused the accident.

Nevada’s Contributory Negligence System

Car accidents can occur for a number of reasons, especially between a cyclist and a motor vehicle. While the cyclist may have disobeyed a traffic law, you may also share a portion of fault, and vice versa. Under Nevada’s contributory negligence system, you can still claim compensation even if the question of liability is complicated. In addition, you can reduce the amount that the cyclist is holding you liable for.

Contributory negligence assigns a proportion of fault to each person involved in the accident. For example, say that you receive a $100,000 settlement, but the court finds you 45% responsible for the accident. You will only receive $55,000.

You cannot be more than 50% liable for the accident to receive damages. If you are 51% responsible or higher, you will receive $0. However, if the court finds that the cyclist is more than 50% responsible, you will not have to pay for his or her damages.

How to Prove a Cyclist’s Liability in a Traffic Accident

If you are suffering from injuries due to a collision that you believe that a cyclist caused, you may encounter certain issues when filing your claim. The insurance company or court may favor the cyclist’s story over yours since the narrative of most cyclist collisions put the motor vehicle at fault. However, you could prove the cyclist’s liability with the assistance of an attorney.

To prove liability in a traffic accident and to receive a settlement in your case, you and your attorney will need to establish the following four elements.

  • First, you will need to prove that the cyclist owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. Since traffic laws do apply to cyclists as well as motor vehicle operators, you can claim that the cyclist had a duty to follow the rules of the road.
  • Next, you will need to prove that the cyclist breached his or her duty of care to you. This will likely involve proving that he or she broke a traffic law at the time of the collision. Your attorney can help you investigate this claim by reviewing traffic footage, speaking to witnesses, and reconstructing the accident.
  • Third, you will need to prove that the cyclist’s breach of duty of care led to the accident and your injuries. Under the contributory fault system, the cyclist’s breach does not have to be the sole cause of the accident for him or her to share a portion of the liability. However, you do need to prove that the cyclist was at least 51% responsible.
  • Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages in the accident that you can claim in your settlement. These damages can include medical expenses for injuries, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and lost wages during recovery.

If you believe that a cyclist’s negligence or recklessness led to your traffic accident, contact a car accident attorney as soon as you can. Your attorney can provide the resources and investigative experience necessary to prove the cyclist’s liability in an insurance claim or lawsuit with the help of a Las Vegas bicycle accident attorney. If you can establish liability, you may be eligible for compensation for property damage, medical expenses, and more.