What are my rights and responsibilities as a cyclist?

Bicycle Accidents Dan - March 28, 2018


If you are asking this question, you are in good company. In a survey conducted by Bicycle Indiana, half of all Hoosiers admitted they were unaware as to whether bicycles are even allowed on Indiana roadways. Worse, they are oblivious not only to the rights and responsibilities of cyclists, but also the responsibilities of drivers when sharing the road with them.

If this sounds scary to you, it’s for a good reason. Bicycle accidents in Marion County alone have increased by 50 percent since 2011. Experts blame the higher volume of cyclists and general uncertainty about the rules of the road.

One example of confusion centers on Indiana’s “dead red” law. Because they weigh too little to trigger red-light sensors – bicycles, mopeds, and even motorcycles are permitted to go through a red light after waiting two minutes. For obvious reasons, it is important that motorists are aware of this. A split second of shock or confusion when seeing a bicycle enter an intersection on red can make the difference between smooth traffic flow and a tragedy.

Responsibilities for cyclists

When riding a bicycle on Hoosier streets, compliance with the law matters. For one thing, violations of bicycle traffic regulations constitute a Class C offense. No one wants tickets and fines to ruin their bike riding experiences.

Legal compliance also matters in an accident. Violating traffic laws can mean that if you are injured by a vehicle, you have no case against the driver. For example, running a red light is an obvious violation. A court is likely to have difficulty awarding you compensation from a driver who collided with you because you ran a red.

Knowing specific laws is important, however. If you were crossing the intersection legally because of the dead red law and the driver was speeding, the court may award you compensation.

Other than specific exceptions, bicyclists must follow the same traffic regulations as vehicles while operating on the streets. Cyclists are prohibited from riding on highways.

The law requires cyclists in Indiana to have lamps and reflectors when cycling within 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise. A lamp with white light must be visible on the front of the bike and a red light must be visible on the rear. Both lights must be visible at 500 feet.

Brakes are mandatory. When the brakes are applied, bicycles must be able to stop on dry, level, clean pavement.

Cyclists must also travel with care in regard to pedestrians.

Cyclist rights

Cyclists have the same rights as motorists. If struck, cyclists may be entitled to compensation. For example, a speeding driver striking a cyclist cannot avoid responsibly by claiming the bicycle should not have been in the road. Cyclists are protected just like motorists in all cases.

Cycling is a great way to exercise. It’s also a fantastic incentive to the reduction of pollutants emitted by car engines. Unfortunately, cyclists are at a disadvantage when it comes to collisions with vehicles, so it’s important to know the cyclist rights. Cyclists experience much more severe injuries, and insurance companies fight hard to minimize payouts. For this reason, injured cyclists need experienced legal counsel to fight for compensation. If you have suffered a cycling injury, call the attorneys at Blackburn & Green.

For more on our South Bend Bicycle Accident Lawyers please visit our site.

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