Whether you are using your own bicycle or one of the many new ridesharing bicycles now available on Oklahoma City streets, you are required to obey the same rules of the road as any other vehicle. That means that other vehicles are required to obey the same rules when they see you pedaling along the side of the street. Be careful, it is all too easy to be involved in rent-a-bike left and right-turn accidents.
There are a few laws for bicyclists in Oklahoma that differ from regular traffic laws, designed to make riding easier and safer for cyclists. Unfortunately, unless you are paying close attention, they can also make it easier for you to be hit by a car with a careless driver.
If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident while riding a rideshare bicycle, contact the Oklahoma City rent-a-bike attorneys of Abel Law Firm at (405) 239-7046 today. We can review the facts of your case and discuss how we can help you get the compensation you need.
Bike Laws and Turn Lanes
Because you cannot be expected to maintain every speed limit while on a bike, and because there may be hazards in the roadway that a car could easily avoid or ignore that would be deadly to a bicycle, Oklahoma legislators have made some specific changes to the rules of the road to keep everyone safe on the streets.
- 47-11-202. This statute allows a cyclist to proceed through a red light that is solid red, if the light is broken, or has a trigger that may not sense the weight of the bike. If you are not careful, you could be placing yourself in the way of a driver in the opposite lane making a left turn against the light. Despite the statute allowing you to do so, only proceed through the light if you are certain no cars are turning left in front of you.
- 47-11-1205. This statute sets out how far a bicycle must stay to the right of the road. In general, you must stay as far to the right as is safe unless you are passing another vehicle, you are entering the main roadway to make a left turn, or there is debris or another hazard that would prevent you from staying to the right.
- 47-11-1208. Cyclists must be given at least three feet of clearance by other vehicles. If it is not safe for a car or truck to pass the bicycle, the car must remain behind the bicycle until there is space for it to do so safely. The most current update to the law allows cars to cross the solid yellow line to pass a bicycle if they can do so safely.
You Have the Right-Of-Way, But Don’t Insist On It
As a cyclist, you are supposed to be given equal access to the road, and the same courtesy drivers extend to other drivers. Theoretically, if you have the right of way, it should be given to you. Practically, as a smaller vehicle, you should pay attention to what is going on around you and be alert to drivers who may not see you or are intentionally trying to harm you, because unfortunately, that does occur. If you’ve suffered such an accident, do contact us immediately.
If you are making a left turn, you must move into the center of the roadway. Obey all traffic signals and pay attention to anyone who may have the green light in the opposite direction (approaching in front of you). Watch out for those who may be running the red light in the direction of your turn (approaching on your right).
Left-turn accidents are especially hazardous because you must place yourself in the center of the intersection. Even in the best of conditions, bikes are hard to see. If there is a median, stay close to the curb, and turn with the signal if there is one. If there is no left-turn arrow, do not attempt to cross on the yellow since people tend to run that light.
Because of the rule requiring you to remain to the right, your biggest concern is people who fail to check their blind spot before merging into a bike lane, or to the right, before a turn. Pay close attention to your surroundings and stay as far to the right as possible.
At intersections, stay back from the corner if you are proceeding through the intersection with the light. Because of your small profile, cars rushing for the light or the corner may not see you sitting at the corner and can easily hit you. Do not run the light or swerve into the pedestrian crosswalk.
If You Are Injured
Getting hit in rent-a-bike left and right-turn accidents will leave you in the middle of the road. You should try not to move, mainly because being hit in this manner while on your bike puts you at high risk for neck/back, or even a traumatic brain injury. Also, your location on the road may help determine how you were hit.
If the paramedics are called, you should not move until they decide whether you should be transported. You should have a friend take photos of the scene, if you can, before everything is removed from the location. Try to note what part of the car struck you and what damage it suffered. It will make a difference to any insurance claim or lawsuit if you recall they had left headlight and left quarter-panel damage when they are claiming you turned left in front of them.
If you are using a rideshare bicycle, be sure to follow their accident reporting requirements. You may want to consult legal counsel to ensure you have done everything necessary to comply with their conditions. Rideshare companies have their own collision insurance in most cases. But you will be covered only when you comply with their terms.
How We Can Help
Being involved in rent-a-bike left and right-turn accidents is confusing. Beyond the accident itself, there are insurance companies to contact, forms to fill out, and rideshare agencies to track down and explain things to. All this when you are trying to recover from being injured.
At Abel Law Firm, we understand that you need time to sort all this out. Call us at (405) 239-7046, and we can review your case, gather your paperwork, and talk to the companies that are asking questions- we’ve all the proven experience you’ll need. Give us a call today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.