After a long, cold winter, many Wisconsin residents who enjoy riding bicycles are happy to be able to hit the road as the weather warms up during the spring and summer. Riding a bike on the open road can be an exhilarating experience, and it can provide great exercise while serving as an efficient method of transportation. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous. While bicyclists take many measures to stay safe, including by wearing helmets and other safety equipment, making sure their bikes are well-maintained, and following the rules of the road, they may be placed at risk of serious harm through no fault of their own. When sharing the roads with motor vehicles, bicyclists can be seriously affected by the negligent or aggressive actions of drivers, and these actions may lead to severe or fatal bicycle accidents.
Violations That May Lead to Bike Accidents
To protect the safety of bicyclists and ensure that everyone can share the road, the state of Wisconsin has implemented a number of laws that drivers of motor vehicles are required to follow. These include:
Sharing the road – Bicycles are considered to be vehicles, and they have the right to travel in a lane of traffic along with cars, trucks, or motorcycles. Drivers must follow the same rules when a bicycle is in their lane as they would for other vehicles. This means that a driver should not follow too closely behind a bicycle, since if a bicyclist would need to slow down suddenly for a red light, a stop sign, or a person or vehicle that is crossing the road, the driver will need enough room to come to a complete stop and avoid striking the bicycle from behind.
Avoid passing too closely – Since bicycles travel more slowly than most motor vehicles, drivers who are following a bicycle may become impatient, and they may try to pass a bicycle at the first available opportunity. However, drivers must always leave at least three feet of room between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing. If a lane is too narrow to pass a bicycle while leaving enough room, a driver must change lanes when passing.
Watch for bicycles when making turns at intersections – Bicycles can sometimes move more quickly than expected, so drivers should be aware of bicycles when making turns. When turning left at an intersection, a driver should watch for any bicycles that may be approaching in the opposite direction. When making a right turn at an intersection or into a driveway, a driver should check to make sure no bicycles are attempting to pass them on the right.
Do not open a vehicle’s door into the path of a bicycle – Wisconsin law prohibits drivers or passengers from opening their doors in a way that will interfere with the movement of traffic by other vehicles, including bicycles. Those who fail to look for bicycles that may be traveling in a bike lane or a normal traffic lane may cause “dooring” accidents that could throw a person from a bicycle and cause them to suffer serious injuries.
Contact Our Milwaukee Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bike accidents can cause multiple types of severe injuries, including broken bones, brain trauma, or damage to the back and spine. Drivers who violate the laws and cause these types of accidents may be held liable for a victim’s damages. Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP provides legal help and representation for bicyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers, and we work with them to seek full compensation for the injuries they have suffered. Contact our Milwaukee, WI bicycle accident lawyers today at 414-271-1440.