Lexington Bicycle Accidents Without A Helmet
Many people look for the fastest routes across Lexington every day. But others turn to bicycles to provide exercise and a more green alternative to cars and SUVs as they move across the city.
Bicyclists must still contend with the rush of traffic when greenways aren’t available. They do their best to stay visible so that even distracted and careless motorists can’t miss them. However, Lexington traffic can turn anyone into a victim, and cyclists can take an awful fall and get seriously injured.
The at-fault driver should be liable for every medical cost the victim endures, but what if the bicyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet? Does that mean the driver gets to drive away with contributing a dime to recovery?
Kentucky Helmet Laws and Lexington Bicycle Accidents
Kentucky state law doesn’t require riders, no matter their age, to wear a bike helmet. Cyclists have the choice to travel without the safety device if they choose.
Helmets are, of course, a good idea for anyone on a bike, even if they never travel alongside vehicles. Consumer Reports documented data from trauma centers and emergency rooms across the nation. They found that bicycle injuries were much more severe for those who went helmetless. Just 12% of children who were admitted with injuries were wearing helmets in their crashes. 21% of injured men reported using a helmet. 28% of women who were seen in emergency rooms wore helmets.
What’s more, the vast majority of bicycle accident victims suffering head and neck injuries weren’t protected by a helmet. 78% percent of adult cyclists and 88% of young riders suffering these injuries were not wearing protection. A bicyclist isn’t breaking any laws when he or she rides with a bare head, but it’s always a good idea to put a helmet on no matter where you ride.
Bicycle Accidents and Liability for Drivers
No matter how and where riders travel, drivers still owe bicyclists a “duty-of-care.” It’s a basic legal obligation to show caution around anyone on a bike. That “duty” is in place due to the unprotected nature of a bicyclist when compared to a driver or passenger in a car. Bicyclists are extremely vulnerable in any impact with or without a helmet on.
A driver can still be held liable and their insurance provider can be petitioned for compensation when riders get hit. This is true even if the cyclist is not riding where they should be or in the right direction. However, reckless choices by a bicyclist or the lack of a helmet can affect how much compensation an injured cyclist may receive.
Comparative negligence and Bicycle Accidents
Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state and this legal concept can make a big difference for injured bicycle accident victims. It means that drivers and cyclists can share blame for an accident. For accidents where both riders and motorists were negligent the percentage of responsibility can be divided up.
- Bicyclist Liability – For example, a rider may have suffered a head injury in a collision and it may be shown that a helmet would have greatly reduced the damage. A cyclist might have to accept 25% of the fault for the injury suffered. A bicyclist may also have been traveling the wrong direction in traffic and have to accept a greater percentage of fault.
- Driver Liability – A cyclist might have been riding someplace he or she was not permitted to be when a collision occurs, but perhaps the driver was exceeding the speed limit to also contribute to the accident. And as mentioned, a driver can always be held liable if they don’t take reasonable action to avoid a cyclist no matter the circumstances. A driver might have to accept 75% of the liability in an accident.
In these examples, riders could still earn substantial compensation for injury recovery. However, whatever they were awarded would have their share of the blame deducted. In the above case, 25% might get subtracted.
Contact a Lexington Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Drivers should proceed with extreme care when any cyclist is nearby. It’s the law, but not every motorist will show that extra caution. When a driver’s mistake leaves you with serious injuries and the incredible costs of medical care, don’t hesitate to contact a Lexington Bicycle Accident Attorney.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, advocate for safe bicycling in Lexington and across Kentucky. We also want to protect victims who have been hit and are in need of financial support as they heal. We want to be there for you through recovery and through the day you are finally able to return to your bike. To discuss your case in a free case evaluation, contact Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today, by clicking here.