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New Bern is a beautiful place to bicycle, especially with numerous bicycle trails throughout the area and laws that treat bicyclists like any other driver on the road. However, bicycle collisions with other motor vehicles do happen, and the results can be devastating. If you or your loved one are involved in a bicycle accident, especially if another motorist struck you, you may need the help of a New Bern bicycle accident lawyer. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

How Common are Bicycle Accident?

Each year in the United States, there are numerous bicycle crashes causing serious injuries and even fatalities. In fact, in 2015 more than 1,000 bicyclists died and roughly 467,000 bicyclists suffered injuries in accidents. Bicycle accidents are less common than car accidents, but bicyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries during a collision. As a New Bern bicycle accident lawyer knows, injuries are costly, totaling approximately $10 billion in medical costs and productivity losses throughout the lifetimes of victims, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Understanding Applicable Traffic Laws

Traffic laws in New Bern treat bicyclists like any other driver or motorist. Bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers, and other motorists must treat bicyclists as they would other vehicles. The purpose of these laws is, at least in part, meant to reduce bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles, since cars may not push past bicycles in the traffic lane.

Like the rest of North Carolina, New Bern also maintains bicycle helmet laws that apply to minors age 16 and under. Parents must make sure their children are wearing bicycle helmets at all times. Adults do not have to wear a bicycle helmet, but failure to do so may affect their ability to recover compensation if they suffer an injury because of another vehicle, due to North Carolina’s strict negligence laws.

What is New Bern’s Negligence Doctrine?

North Carolina remains one of only a handful of states that operates under the rule of strict contributory negligence, which bars victims from recovering compensation if they are partially responsible for contributing to their own injuries – even if they are less than 50 percent at fault.

This means that even though there are no bicycle helmet laws in place for adults if an adult bicyclist suffers an injury while not wearing a helmet, the courts could find that the so-called contributory negligence of the bicyclist choosing not to wear a helmet invalidates their claim against the other motorist.

Consult with a New Bern Bicycle Accident Attorney

Whatever led to your bicycle accident, a skilled New Bern bicycle accident lawyer could consider the circumstances of your crash and determine which party may be responsible for your injuries. Given the state’s adherence to strict contributory negligence doctrine, anyone who believes they may have played a small role in bringing about their injuries may need the immediate assistance of a skilled bicycle accident attorney. You may be able to recover compensation for your damages, including reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, physical therapy costs, and other damages.