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Can Bicyclists Be Liable for Traffic Collisions?

Posted by Freeman & Freeman | Oct 10, 2023 | 0 Comments

Cyclists are held to the same laws as any other vehicle driver on the road, according to the law. When it comes to personal injuries and bicycle accidents, pinpointing negligence is the same as any collision, whether the other vehicle is a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.

The problem with this rule is it does not take into account that cyclists are exposed, leaving them vulnerable to serious – even fatal – injuries. Even still, law enforcement will not “cut slack” or make exceptions for cyclists.


If a cyclist decides to cross an intersection at a red light or blow past a stop sign, he or she can be liable for causing an accident. When trying to explain the incident to a police officer, the officer will first consider who had the right of way at the intersection. In cases such as the one above, the cyclist did not have the right of way, and may be considered at-fault.

These are some precautionary tips we advise to all cyclists:

  • Make use of hand signals and other defensive riding procedures
  • Obey all traffic lights and signs
  • Do not ride against traffic
  • Always keep a look out when approaching an intersection
  • Be visible—wear brightly colored clothing and attach reflective lights to your bike
  • Learn emergency riding maneuvers that can help avoid accidents

Most collisions with cyclists come at the intersections where there is a stop sign, where the cyclists must stop but cross traffic doesn't need to. Should an accident occur, the cyclist can be held liable. Another example of this is failing to yield to motorists when the motorist has the right of way.


All cyclists have a responsibility to follow the law. Riding against traffic, for example, is illegal and also poses great danger. Such an accident could result in serious injuries and possibly death. According to research, riding against traffic often leads to accidents with motorists.

As Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers, we encourage you to stay safe if you take to the road on a bicycle. Remember that you, as any other motorist, has the responsibility to ride as safely as possible, obey the laws, and practice safe riding habits.

For more information about cycling accidents or if you were hurt, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our Santa Rosa accident attorneys from The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman.

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