“Drifting” Into Bicycle Lanes Can Be Deadly

72016Bicycle lanes are somewhat hit-or-miss in Maricopa County. In some areas, these lanes are heavy and can be found on nearly all major routes of travel. In other locations, bicycle lanes are sparse or absent and can make riding more challenging for cyclists. However, it is clear that these lanes are growing in number and that their popularity is increasing as greater numbers of Arizona residents choose to travel by bike every year.

With the increased presence and use of bicycle lanes should come a greater understanding of their purpose and effect among motorists. Unfortunately, that has not been the case to date with many drivers woefully ignorant as to the laws that govern these lanes. As a result, countless drivers are engaging in behavior that is threatening to their own safety and to the safety of those riding bicycles near them – often without realizing their mistakes.

Designated bicycle lanes in Arizona are marked for use by bicycles only. This means that other forms of motorized vehicles, including cars, trucks, and vans, cannot use the lanes to travel except in unusual or extreme circumstances. Despite these regulations, there are drivers in the Phoenix area who drift into bicycle lanes daily and some of those drivers cause bicycle accidents that result in injuries or even death to the riders.

Drifting even inches into a bicycle lane is a risky and dangerous action. As bicycles tend to travel at much slower speeds than passing cars, drivers may be lulled into a sense of comfort if they do not notice cyclists near them. However, bikes can enter and exit a street at any moment, requiring all drivers to be alert and cautious at all times.

Drifting into a bicycle lane is not only dangerous but may be a traffic violation that can lead to serious fines and penalties. The punishments only increase if an accident takes place and someone is injured as negligent drivers can be held liable for the totality of their damages, including any personal injuries that result.

Bicycle accident victims who are hurt in Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, and Queen Creek have the right to seek compensation for their damages when their accidents were caused by another person, driver, company, or municipality. It is also their right to work with a personal injury attorney to ensure their interests are protected and that they obtain the relief they deserve. If injuries stem from a crash, relief may be possible to pay for medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages, pain and suffering, future damages including future medical needs, and any other harm that a rider suffered. In the truly tragic event where someone loses their life while riding, that victim’s surviving family members may be entitled to obtain relief for their damages though no amount of money can ever be considered adequate to compensate a family for such a loss.

Bicyclists have rights when it comes to their personal safety in Arizona. If your rights were affected in a traffic collision, make sure you take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your family from further financial harm.

Prior Blog Entry:

Concern Raised over Some Harley-Davidson Brakes, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 14, 2016.