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Can bicyclists be at fault in an accident?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Bicycling is a fun and eco-friendly way to get around, but an accident quickly takes the joy out of any ride. When a bicycle and car collide, questions may arise about who is at fault.

It is important for both bicyclists and drivers to understand their responsibilities on the road to prevent accidents and ensure everyone’s safety.

Following traffic laws

Just like drivers, bicyclists must follow traffic laws. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights, yielding to pedestrians and using hand signals when turning and stopping. Failure to obey these laws can result in accidents for which the bicyclist is responsible.

Negligent behavior

Sometimes, bicyclists may engage in negligent behavior that contributes to accidents. This could include riding against traffic, weaving in and out of lanes unpredictably or not paying attention to their surroundings. Such actions can increase the risk of collisions and may lead to the fault on the part of the bicyclist.


Visibility is key when riding a bicycle, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Bicyclists are responsible for ensuring that they are visible to other road users by wearing reflective gear and using lights on their bicycles. Failing to do so can make it difficult for drivers to see them, increasing the likelihood of accidents for which the bicyclist is responsible.

Contributory negligence

In some cases, both parties involved in a bicycle accident may share fault. This is known as contributory negligence. For example, if a bicyclist fails to signal a turn and a driver fails to yield the right of way, both parties may be at fault for the resulting collision.

While bicyclists are often perceived as vulnerable road users, they can still be at fault in accidents under certain circumstances.