Bicycle Accidents and Injury in Connecticut
Negligent or reckless drivers injure hundreds of people every year in Connecticut. And unfortunately, due to the large difference in size and weight between a bicycle and a car, bicyclists are much more likely to sustain severe injury and trauma in the event of an accident with a motor vehicle. While there are many laws and statutes that have been enacted to accommodate bicyclist safety, it’s important to know what to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident with injuries.
Specialized, experienced legal services in Connecticut
We are specialists who focus solely on personal injury law, including bicycle accidents
A skilled personal injury lawyer will fight to receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. In a bicycle accident case, you can receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
It is important to partner with a lawyer with extensive experience handling personal injury cases and not handle a bicycle accident case on your own. The legal process can be confusing and uncertain. Although we work for individuals rather than insurance companies, we have extensive experience working on the insurance side of the personal injury business so we know how to best navigate your case.
Bike Laws in CT
Bike laws in Connecticut, like many other states, give bicyclists the same rights as motorists. Basically, you must adhere to the same rules of the road as if you were driving a car:
- Travel on roads with traffic
- Drive in the same direction as traffic
- Obey all traffic signals
- Make a complete stop at stop signs
- Use hand or mechanical signals to signal turns
- Use lights and reflectors during times of low light
Motorists also have their own set of statutes to adhere to when it comes to sharing the roadways with bicyclists. In 2008, Connecticut created General Statue Section 14-232 that requires motorists to allow at least three feet of separation when passing or overtaking bicyclists.
In 2014, Connecticut passed the Vulnerable User law that imposes a fine of up to $1,000 for any at-fault driver involved in a careless motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or serious injury of a pedestrian, cyclist, wheelchair user or other vulnerable people who were acting within reason. This law holds negligent or reckless drivers accountable for their damages, even if there is no evidence of them being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While Connecticut’s bicycle laws are similar to other states, there are some ways they differ. For example, Connecticut adheres to more vigorous safety laws than other states. In Connecticut, children under age 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bike; although it is highly advised for everyone riding a bicycle to wear a helmet. It’s important to know that parents cannot override and allow children to violate this statute; all children under 16 must wear a helmet.
During times of low light, such as the early morning, dusk or late at night, reflectors and lights must be used on your bike. According to Connecticut law, your bike’s front lights must be visible from 500 feet and rear lights must be visible from 600 feet.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
If you or a loved one is involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, what you do directly following the accident is critical to not only your well-being but your legal case as well.
Step 1: Call the police immediately. You and the driver involved in the accident are legally obligated to stay at the scene. Law enforcement will create a police report that will include all the details of what happened during the accident, including any injuries you sustained and the personal information of all those involved. When the police arrive, ask for the business cards and contact information of the officers creating the police report.
Step 2: Exchange information with all parties involved. Exchange personal information such as the driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, license number and insurance policy number. It’s also important to obtain the name and telephone number of any bystanders who witnessed the accident.
Step 3: Seek medical attention. Oftentimes, victims who are involved in an accident may feel fine leaving the scene, but wake up the next morning and realize they have sustained injuries. Even if you sustained minor injuries, it’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible following the accident.
Step 4: Keep a record of all documents. Take photos of your injuries and your bicycle. Collect all documents involving your accident, including the police report, for your record.
Step 5: Talk to a personal injury attorney. Protect your health and legal rights by contacting a personal injury attorney after an accident as soon as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer can assess your case to determine the compensation you are rightfully owed, such as diminished quality of life, lost wages, medical bills and rehabilitation costs.
We do not recommend contacting your insurance company before contacting a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for using statements against people in court to undervalue your case. An expert personal injury attorney is experienced in handling and negotiating claims with insurance companies and knows how to maximize a case to receive the rightful compensation.
Common bicycle accident injuries
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are while riding your bicycle, you always need to be aware of others around you, as the biggest factor in a bicycle accident is often negligence. Head injuries are one of the most common bicycle injuries so it is important to wear a helmet. In fact, The CDC states that up to 85% of cyclists’ head injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
In addition to head injuries and trauma, common bike accident injuries include:
- Eye injury from debris
- Broken and fractured bones
- Dental fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Road rash
Seeking immediate medical attention is critical to ensuring you did not sustain any internal injuries, even if you feel okay.