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Bicycle Accidents FAQ

The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued important safety reminders for all bicyclists, which include:

  • All bicyclists should wear a properly-fitted helmet each time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent any head injury from a bicycle crash.
  • Bicyclists are considered motor vehicle operators and are required to follow the same rules of the road as other motor vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signals, signs and lane markings.
  • Bicyclists should increase their visibility to motor vehicle drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly-colored clothing during both day and night.
  • To be noticed at night, a bicyclist should use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and retro-reflective tape, or markings on equipment and clothing.

1. When riding a bicycle in Massachusetts, what do I have to do?

  • Obey all traffic laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.
  • Use hand signals to let people know you are stopping or turning.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Give pedestrians an audible signal before overtaking or passing them.
  • If bicyclists are riding side-by-side, they must facilitate passing traffic. This means that each bicyclist must ride single file when faster traffic wants to pass, or stay in the right-most lane on a multi-lane road.
  • Keep one hand on the handlebars at all times.
  • If the bicyclist is 16 years old or younger, they must wear a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements on any bicycle, anywhere, at all times. The helmet must fit their hand, and the chin strap must be fastened.
  • Use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if they are riding anytime from ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour before sunrise.
  • At night, they must wear ankle reflectors if there are not reflectors on their pedals.
  • Notify the police of any accident involving personal injury or property damage over $100.

2. Do my passengers or I have any responsibilities to bicyclists in Massachusetts?

  • Motorist and their passengers must check for passing bicyclists before opening their door.
  • The motorist must stay a safe distance to the left of bicyclists when passing. A motorist is prohibited from returning to the right until they safely clear the bicyclist.
  • The motorist must pass at a safe distance. If the lane is too narrow to pass safely, the motorist must use another lane to pass, or if that is unsafe, the motorist must wait until it is safe to pass.
  • Motorists are prohibited from making abrupt right turns at intersections and driveways after passing a bicyclist.
  • The motorist must yield to oncoming bicyclists when making left-hand turns.

3. What types of damages can I recover if I was injured in a bicycle accident?

Damages include, but are not limited to payment for pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic loss.

4. How long do I have to bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible party if I was injured in s a bicycle accident?

Generally, there is a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, with limited exceptions. Which means, if you do not file a complaint in court against the proper party(ies), you will never be able to recover monies from them or their insurance company for your injuries. However, if the action is against the Commonwealth or a city and town, there are strict times-sensitive notice requirements that must be made long before the three-year statute of limitations. There are also many different notice and time requirements that may apply depending on the type of claim or the responsible party.

That is why it is critical to contact us immediately after a bicycle accident. Also, most of the time, we can resolve the claim with the responsible party(ies) insurance company long before the statute of limitations expires or the need to even file a lawsuit.

Let us show you what our knowledge, experience, and skills can do for you or your loved one. Your bicycle accident case will always be our top priority. Call or contact us today!