Bicycle Laws and Negligence in Oklahoma

Bicycle Laws and Negligence in OklahomaThousands of Oklahomans use their bikes to get around, especially during pleasant weather days. Cycling is great exercise, fuel-efficient, and fun. However, biking can also be dangerous if cyclists and motorists don’t understand how (or simply refuse) to share the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2018. The NHTSA also reports the following statistics about bike accidents (data from 2017):

  • Bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6:00pm and 9:00pm
  • Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (75%) compared to rural areas (25%)
  • Bicyclist deaths were eight times higher for males than females
  • Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes

They also point out that both cyclists and motorists have the same responsibilities to each other while driving or riding.

Cyclist responsibilities

Under Oklahoma law and the Oklahoma City Bicycle Ordinance, bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as drivers. Bicyclists are also subject to additional rules, including:

  • Traffic regulations. Cyclists must yield to stop lights, stop signs and right-of-way directions.
  • Lane restrictions. Cyclists can be limited to riding in certain lanes.
  • Speed restrictions. Cyclists must ride at a “reasonable speed.”
  • Restrictions on riding on sidewalks. In Oklahoma City, cyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in business districts.
  • Safety devices. Bicycles must have adequate brakes and front and back lights when riding at night.

Violations of the Oklahoma City Bicycle Ordinance are considered to be a Class “A” offense. Class A offenses carry fines of up to $500, plus court costs or fees.

Motorist responsibilities

With more bicycles on the road, more cyclists are riding side-by-side with cars and trucks on local motorways and streets. Motorists are also subject to rules of the road regarding cyclists, including:

  • Ensure there is adequate space when passing a cyclist; at least three to four feet
  • Slow down when approaching or passing a cyclist
  • Give cyclists the same right-of-way given to motorists
  • Remember to check for cyclists when parking or opening car doors
  • Pay attention to a bicyclist’s signals for left turns, right turns, and stops

Additionally, intersections can be the most hazardous spots for bicycle accidents.

Bicycle laws and negligence per se

Bicycle laws are meant to protect the public from unsafe or inexperienced riders who cause accidents. If you are injured by a bicyclist who violated Oklahoma City’s riding laws, you may be able to claim damages based on negligence per se. Under negligence per se, a person who violates a statute and causes the harm that statute was designed to prevent is presumed to be negligent.

Bicycle accident cases in Oklahoma City

Typically, bike accidents fall into three types:

  • Automobile versus bicycle. When a vehicle as heavy and large as a car hits a bicycle, the aftermath can be catastrophic or even fatal to the cyclist.
  • Bicycle versus bicycle. A collision between two bikes can be as disastrous as an accident with a car, depending on the circumstances.
  • Single-bike accident. This type of accident can happen from defective bike parts, inattentive or negligent pedestrians, or road defects.

Smart and strategic injury attorneys investigate the cause of your accident and injuries to find the negligent party and ensure they are held accountable.

At Cunningham & Mears, our experienced Oklahoma City bicycle injury attorneys are here to help when you’re hurt in an accident. We provide reliable and honest representation, and work to secure you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team by calling (405) 232-1212, or we invite you to reach out through our contact form to tell us your story.