Cycling is a fun activity for those who do not have the luxury to own a car or to get to your destination in more efficient manner, especially in urban areas. However, just like motorists have their own laws for how to operate their vehicle, cyclists are also required to follow certain laws in order to being hit by another vehicle are accidentally running into a pedestrian.
If you would like to learn more about the traffic laws for bicyclists in Charleston, reach out to a knowledgeable attorney today. A lawyer could explain the bicycle laws, helmet laws, and how following the law could impact an injury claim. Schedule a consultation today to get started.
How Do Traffic Laws Apply to Cyclists?
Cyclists are usually allowed to be on the road and are to travel using the bike lines and the sides of the roads. Unfortunately, some drivers may be under the impression that bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists do not belong on the road and may drive like they do not owe a right of way to them. Other drivers may be uninformed about the laws allowing cyclists on the road and could potentially collide with a cyclist due to their lack of awareness. Several metropolitan areas in the South have taken strides to create more bike lanes in order to make it safe for cyclists to travel on the road.
Are Traffic Laws Different for Bicycle Riders than they are for Drivers?
Everyone using roadways to reach their destination owes a duty of care to everyone else sharing the road. For motorists, since their vehicles weigh 2000 pounds or more, they have a heightened duty to look out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other hazards since the potential damage that could be inflicted upon their vehicle will not be nearly as significant in comparison to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Just like motorists, cyclists are also responsible for observing the rules of the road when using crosswalks, caution when crossing the street, and following traffic signals.
What are Charleston’s Helmet Laws?
For both motorcyclists and bicyclists, there is no mandatory helmet law for anybody over the age of 21. Sometimes there may be an ordinance from a municipality that requires some type of helmet when riding a bike or skateboard for certain age groups. The laws across the state and counties and municipalities vary, but the general rule is that there are not strong enough or tough enough helmet laws in South Carolina in my view. Although the laws are vague regarding helmet requirements, riders should always wear a helmet in the event of an accident.
Although wearing a helmet may not prevent and accident from occurring, it could protect individuals from sustaining catastrophic or fatal injuries. A person’s head is extremely sensitive to heavy impacts, and a person’s skull is oftentimes not enough to protect someone from serious injury. However, by having a helmet on, individuals are decreasing the likelihood for serious injury in the event of an accident.
How is an Injury Case Impacted by a Bicyclist’s Ability to Follow the Law?
Therefore, if a bicyclist is not following the rules of the road and an accident occurs, it opens up the opportunity for the defense to claim that they are partially negligent. Although the cyclist in this scenario may not be 51 percent or more negligent and did not directly cause the accident, the defense could take this opportunity to rid themselves of guilt, decrease the level of guilt, or block the claim altogether. Additionally, for whatever percentage the plaintiff is found to be at-fault, their compensation award would also be decreased by that percentage. For example, if a cyclist is found to be 10 percent at-fault for an accident worth $10,000 in damages, their total compensation award would be worth $9,000.
To Learn More, Schedule a Consultation Today
Traffic laws are created to protect all individuals using the road to reach their destination. Just like motorists owe a duty of care to everyone using the road, cyclists also owe a duty of care by following the rules of the road, traffic signals, and exerting caution when crossing an intersection. Cyclists who followed these rules and sustained injuries due to the careless actions of another will find it easy to prove negligence against the at-fault party. However, if it is found that they also did not follow the traffic laws for bicyclists in Charleston, they could have their damage award potentially decreased by the level of their fault.
If you have been injured and would like to know how certain traffic laws may impact your ability to recover monetary damages, be sure to get in touch with a trusted attorney today.