Bicycle accidents are frequent in Louisiana. No less than 923 bicycles were involved in crashes in 2017, and 22 bicyclists lost their lives. Many of these accidents occurred in Baton Rouge. Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable traffic participants and the ones who incur the most serious injuries in case of accidents. When the unfortunate happens, it is in their best interest to request the help of an experienced Baton Rouge bicycle accident lawyer.
Since bicyclists are the ones who incur the most serious injuries and damages in accidents, it goes without saying that everyone will try to blame them. This is done in an attempt to avoid being found at fault, which results in being liable for compensating the injured party. The best strategy for the bicyclist is to show that they know Louisiana bike laws by heart and they obey them at all times. Because of this, the other party was at fault for the accident. This is easier to accomplish with the help of an excellent accident attorney.
Under Louisiana laws, bicyclists who are injured or incur property damage have the right to seek compensation for their losses. However, their mission will not be easy. According to the pure comparative fault rule, all the parties involved in a bicycle accident in Baton Rouge can share fault for it. They will be liable for a corresponding amount of damages based on the percentage they were found at fault.
Louisiana Bike Laws
A bicyclist may be held liable for the accident they were involved in if the other party can prove that they violated any of the bike laws in force throughout the state or in Baton Rouge. Those who know they violated the law, or are not sure if they did, should discuss their case with a bike accident attorney.
The lawyer will help them understand the laws in force and evaluate their fault in the incident. They will propose strategies to avoid liability and secure the compensation they deserve. Here are the most important bike laws in force in Louisiana and Baton Rouge:
Louisiana Revised Statutes Section
32:197 – Bicyclists should ride as close to the right side of the roadway as possible, paying special attention when they pass vehicles stationed or proceeding in the same direction. The exceptions to this rule are when bicyclists overtake or pass bicycles or vehicles moving in the same direction, they prepare for left turns, or they have to avoid moving objects, vehicles, animals, pedestrians, or other road hazards. When preparing for left turns on roadways with two or more traffic lanes following the same direction, bicyclists should ride as close to the left curb or shoulder as possible. On roadways, bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast. They can do so on roadways designated for exclusive bicycle use.
32:203 – Motor vehicles should not ride in bicycle lanes except within 200 feet from an intersection at which they take a turn, when entering or leaving the roadway, and when entering or leaving a parking space near the bike lane. When operating their vehicles in bike lanes, drivers have to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclists using that lane. Those operating motorized bicycles have the right to use bike lanes. But, they must drive at reasonable speed, pay attention to visibility and traffic condition, and do not put bicyclists at risk. Motor vehicles may use bike laws in emergency situations, in order to protect themselves and others from harm.
We Respect & Defend Bicyclist Rights to the Road
32:76.1 (Colin Goodier Protection Act) – Motor vehicles operators overtaking or passing bicycles that proceed in the same direction should exercise reasonable care and keep a safety distance of minimum three feet until they have safely overtaken the respective bicycle. In no-passing zones, motor vehicle operators will pass bicycles traveling in the same direction only when they can do it safely. Those violating this section are subject to fines of up to $250. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will always check to see if the driver at fault for their client’s accident received any previous fines for violating this section.
32:106 – Bicyclists have to signal their intentions in traffic using their hands and arms from the left side of their vehicle.
Proper Arm Signals for Bicyclists Are:
- holding their arm horizontally with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for left turns and when pulling from the side of a highway or curb
- extending their hand and arm upward at a 45-degree angle from their shoulder or elbow with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for right turns
- extending their hand and arm downward at a 45-degree angle from their shoulder or elbow with their hand open and orientating the back of their hand towards the rear for stopping or slowing down.
Bicyclists do not have to signal their intentions continuously if they need their arm or hand to control the bike. As a result, those who failed to signal their intentions in traffic and got into an accident should give their bicycle accident lawyer all the details.
32:329.1– When operated at night-time, bikes should be equipped with the following:
- front white light lamp visible from a minimum of 500 feet.
- rear lamp emitting steady or flashing red light visible from a minimum of 500 feet.
- rear red reflectors facing outward mounted on each side and visible from distances between 100 feet and 600 feet when directly exposed to motor vehicles’ headlights
Do Your Part to prevent accidents by using proper signals and equipment
Bicyclists are not allowed to install red lamps and reflectors on the front side of bikes. White lamps and reflectors on the rear side are also not allowed. Bicyclists in violation of this section who get into an accident will most likely share fault for it. However, an experienced Baton Rouge bike accident lawyer may be able to defend them. They may prove that the accident did not occur due to their negligence. Also, they may argue that the other party was more at fault than they were.
32:199 – Bicycle operators younger than 12 years of age have to wear a bike helmet. Also, passengers weighing less than 45 pounds or shorter than 40 inches should be secured to an adequate restraining seat. Any violations of this section may qualify as a contributory fault and make the bicyclist who violated them partly liable for the accident. Again, it is important to discuss the details of your specific case with a bicycle accident lawyer.
32:283 – All persons opening the door of motor vehicles on highways should take precaution to make sure their action does not impede traffic or endanger other persons or vehicles. It also prohibits leaving motor vehicle doors open while on highways for more time than necessary for someone to get in or out of the vehicle. Thus, if a bicyclist incurred injuries or had their bike damaged after running into a vehicle door someone left open while on the highway, a bike accident lawyer should be able to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. This will allow them to obtain fair compensation for their client.
Share the Road! Bicycles have the same rights as cars!
32:201 – It is strictly prohibited to taunt, harass or intentionally throw objects at a bicyclist. Those who do that and whose actions cause the bicyclist to fall, injure themselves, and damage their bike can be held liable for their actions. However, violations of this section are rather difficult to prove. That’s why it is best to leave such cases in the hands of an experienced bike accident lawyer.
32:193 – Regulations referring to bikes apply for all bicycles operated upon highways or paths designated for bicycles.
32:194 – All persons riding their bicycle upon Louisiana highways have all the rights and duties applicable to vehicle drivers.
This provision is critically important in defending victims of bicycle accidents. Your bicycle accident lawyer will know that bicyclist have the same rights as other vehicles. They will fight to defend your rights and obtain fair compensation for you.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:229 – When parking their bicycles on the roadway, operators should lean them against the curb. When parking on sidewalks, they should use dedicated racks or lean the bike against a building so as to avoid obstructing traffic. Those who park their bicycle on the roadway in violation of this section and find it damaged by a vehicle will have a hard time obtaining compensation for the damage to their bike. However, they should still request a free case evaluation from a bike accident lawyer.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:230 – Within the business district, riding bicycles upon the sidewalks is prohibited. Those riding their bikes on the sidewalk outside the business district should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. They also must announce their intention of overtaking or passing pedestrians through audible signals.
Baton Rouge City Code 11:222 – All bicyclists should obey traffic control signals, signs, and rules applicable to vehicles. The only exception is if a police officer directs them otherwise. When dismounting from their bicycles, operators have to obey pedestrian traffic rules.
Bicyclists who violated one or several of the above laws may not be able to recover all the losses they incurred as a result of their bike accident. However, they should not give up the idea of seeking compensation. Discussing their case with a bicycle accident lawyer is the only way to truly know if they have a claim. Depending on the circumstances, the bike accident attorney may be able to prove that the other party was more at fault. If so, the victim can still obtain some compensation.
We Can Help You!
A.L.L. Law Firm offers FREE case evaluations. Those who are not sure whether they have the right to seek compensation for their bike accident have nothing to lose by discussing their case details with us. They will receive the advice of an experienced and dedicated Baton Rouge bike accident attorney and guidance on how to proceed with their case.
No Upfront Fees. No Out of Pocket Costs.
A.L.L. Law Firm has a history of obtaining consistent compensations for our clients involved in bike accidents. The claims we prepare cover both economic and non-economic damages. They also take into account not only the losses the client already incurred but also potential future losses. Here is a brief overview of the types of damages a bike accident compensation claim can cover.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Bike repair or replacement costs
If the damage to the bike is minor, it may be possible to bring it back to a functional state with repair works. If the damage is significant, the bike may need replacement. When that happens, the bike owner or their bicycle accident lawyer will have to prove the value of the bike.
Other property damages
Bicyclists often carry backpacks with valuable goods. The may include a laptop or some other gadgets, jewelry, watches, smartphones, and more. When their possessions are damaged or lost in an accident, they have the right to receive compensation for them. Unfortunately, actually obtaining the compensation is not easy and will most likely take the skills and knowledge of a Baton Rouge bike accident lawyer. The claimant will have to prove that they actually had those objects on them. Additionally, the must prove that the objects were damaged in the accident. Finally, the actions of the other party must be the reason the items were damaged.
Treatment and rehabilitation costs
Bike accidents often result in serious injuries that take a lot of time and money to treat. When that happens, the victim has the right to recover the cost of their treatment and rehabilitation. This compensation can come from the party at fault or their insurer. In order to succeed, they will have to show that the injuries and complications they incurred were the direct results of the accident and that the other party caused them. Evidence of the costs incurred will be necessary as well. In such situations, many victims prefer to focus on their recovery and hire a bicycle accident lawyer to handle their compensation claim.
Pain and suffering
Sometimes, the injuries a bicyclist incurs in an accident are severe and very painful, preventing them from living a healthy life. Their injuries may also stop them from engaging in activities they used to love. This situation exposes them to physical and mental distress. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer may be able to obtain compensation for their client’s pain and suffering as well. This will not be easy and will most likely take relevant medical reports, expert witnesses, and citing case precedents.
Sometimes a bicyclist injured in an accident is unable to return to work for a specific time period and loses money. As a result, they have the right to compensation for the wages they lost. In order to obtain compensation, they or their bike accident attorney will have to prove the value of those losses. They will do this by providing income statements like pay stubs and using medical reports. A lawyer may even obtain testimonies from employers or work colleagues.
Loss of earning capacity
A bike accident can leave its victim disabled and unable to work or earn the same wage. In this case, their compensation claim can cover future lost income as well. However, it will take an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to estimate those and prove these losses. Then, they must convince the insurance company or the court to grant the claimed compensation.
Loss of companionship
In some of the worst cases, the injuries someone incurred in a bike accident affect their life to such an extent that their companion decides to leave them and file for divorce. In this situation, the compensation claim should cover the loss of companionship as well. Such injuries are usually difficult to prove and compensate. To do so, they require the skills and knowledge of a Baton Rouge bike accident lawyer.
Disability adjustments and home care costs
These losses usually come up when the victim of a bike accident is left disabled. Their disability may require home care or disability accommodation adjustments. For example, someone paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the accident will need a wheelchair and physical therapy. Additionally, they will have to install ramps and support bars in the home. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer may be able to recover such costs as well.
The best way to assess all of these factors is to work with a Baton Rouge bicycle accident lawyer. They will understand what types of damages a compensation claim can cover and be able to estimate their value. It is important to contact one as soon as possible. The deadline for filing civil actions referring to property damage and personal injury in Louisiana is only one year from the date of the accident.
While one year may seem a lot of time, even the best bicycle accident lawyers need time. They have to gather and organize evidence, prepare compensation claims, and follow legal formalities. Those who do not act in time will most likely lose their right to compensation.
Contact A.L.L. Law Firm Today to Get the Money You Deserve!
If you were injured in a bike accident in Baton Rouge, LA, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. Your best chance to actually obtain that compensation is to work with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Your lawyer will evaluate your case and tell you exactly where you stand and what options you have. If you decide to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, that lawyer will:
- Help you gather the necessary evidence to substantiate the compensation claim
- Prepare and file the claim on your behalf
- Negotiate a convenient settlement with the insurance company or file a civil lawsuit against the party at fault
- Defend your interests in court and obtain the compensation you deserve
Hiring A.L.L. Law Firm as your bicycle accident lawyer will allow you to obtain all of these benefits and more. The preliminary consultation will be free. You will only pay for our services after we win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. To find out more about what the experienced bicycle accident lawyers at A.L.L. Law Firm can do for your Baton Rouge bike accident case, contact us today to schedule a private, 100% Risk-Free Consultation.