Safety and the Law – Minnesota Bike Accident Basics
Yes, Minnesota is known as the land of ten thousand lakes, but did you know it’s also one of the top cycling states in the nation? According to cycling magazine, Minneapolis ranks as the #1 urban city in America to pump the pedals despite its frigid environment. And it’s not just Minneapolis that makes Minnesota such a great place to ride. Outstanding trails, scenic rides and majestic landscape can be found throughout the entire state.
As an active cyclist, I understand the love of cycling. There’s nothing like the feeling one gets after a great ride. But as a bike accident attorney with over 25 years of bike accident personal injury experience, I also understand the dangers. So let’s take a few minutes and explore how to stay safe and then talk briefly about bike accident law.
Stay Safe on Your Bike
-Be Visible: After years and years of working on bike accident cases, the one thing I hear more often than anything else is, “I just didn’t see ‘em!” The lesson here? Always assume the motorist can’t see you and do everything possible to be visible. Start with bright neon clothing and reflective material for jackets, helmets and your bike.
-Avoid Heavy Traffic if Possible: Okay, a bicyclist has the same basic rights on the road as motor vehicles in most instances, but a huge truck zipping by close enough to touch just doesn’t make me comfortable. Face it. When a bicyclist takes on a motor vehicle, the motor vehicle nearly always wins. Study your ride and look for a safe route or a designated bike trail. Let the odds always be in your favor.
-Prepare for Safer Riding: It makes a difference. Brush up on bike safety tips and take a class if necessary. The League of American Bicyclists provides these six excellent “Rules of the Road” for you to consider.
-Follow the Law: A cyclist has the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Always ride with traffic.
-Be Predictable: You want the motorist to have a good idea of what you intend to do. Use signals and look behind you before changing lanes.
-Be Conspicuous: See the above tips for proper clothing. Make eye contact with drivers and don’t expect them to know exactly what you are thinking.
-Think Ahead: Always bike defensively and try to anticipate what others may do next. Be careful in a car door zone and watch for road hazards.
-ALWAYS Wear a Helmet: Your brain is a precious organ, so protect it. Think about what happens to a melon when you drop it from shoulder height. Don’t let that be your head.
-Keep Your Cool: Road rage never seems to go well for the cyclist. Keep your cool in all situations.
Now let’s briefly address some basics regarding bike accident law. Remember this can become complicated depending on the circumstances, so if the need arises, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. None the less, these practice pointers are worth knowing.
Minnesota Bike Law Basics
Minnesota Bicycle Law gives bicyclists the same basic privileges as drivers of motor vehicles except for differences set forth in Minnesota Statute Section 169.222. Cyclists are obligated to know and understand the law.
-Ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when passing, preparing for a left turn or avoiding objects, other vehicles or pedestrians.
-Ride in the same direction as other traffic on the roadway.
-When riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shout out to them when preparing to pass.
-Ride no more than two side by side, and do not impede traffic.
Insurance for bike accidents can also be difficult to understand. But this summary will give you a general overview:
-No-Fault Insurance: If a motor vehicle is involved, you may be entitled to No-Fault insurance. No-Fault provides a minimum of $20,000 in medical benefits and $20,000 in lost wages and household services.
-Liability Insurance: If an at-fault motor vehicle is involved in the crash, the vehicles insurance will cover any property damage and provide at least $30,000 in coverage for injuries to the cyclist. s
-Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance: If the involved at-fault motor vehicle did not have insurance, a cyclist may be able to access the “uninsured” coverage on his or her own auto insurance policy. The state minimum is $25,000. However, I would encourage everyone to have at least $100,000 of uninsured benefits. If the at-fault vehicle did not have enough coverage to compensate the victim for his or her injuries, the cyclist can once again access his or her own coverage for “underinsured” benefits. The underinsured state minimum is also $25,000 and same goes for my recommendation to obtain higher limits of coverage.
With over 25 years of experience dealing exclusively with personal injury accidents, I’m proud to have had the opportunity to represent countless people throughout the state of Minnesota. I’m a senior civil trial specialist, have been awarded “Best Lawyers in America” and have been recognized by Thomsen Reuters as a Super Lawyer every year since the award designation began 12 years ago. If you have any questions regarding personal injury law, please reach out at 952.469.2288. You can also find legal updates by following me on Twitter at @artkos80. Stay safe.