A Newport News, Virginia (VA), bike rider went to the hospital with injuries after getting hit by a car on the morning of July 14, 2017. Police responded to the report of a collision at the intersection of Main Street and River Road a little after 7 am.
Investigators did not release information on how the crash happened directly across from Hilton Elementary School. They did tell reporters that the bicyclist was an adult man who suffered injuries to his chest and that he should recover.
Main Street and River Road come together at a T intersection, with drivers facing a stop sign on Main. This indicates that they must yield right of way to vehicles on River Road and to pedestrians or bicycles in the crosswalks at all three corners.
Paved bike paths also run some distance in all directions from the intersection. Under Virginia law, a bike rider could legally use either a bike path or the roadway, provided the bicyclist stayed to the far right of the lane of travel and went in the same direction as cars and trucks.
While it is unclear from news reports whether the car’s driver caused this crash in Newport News, failing to yield right of way or passing the bike rider in an unsafe manner would make her liable for settling personal injury claims. Regarding passing a bicycle on the road, section 46.2-839 states:
Any driver of any vehicle overtaking a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at a reasonable speed at least three feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle and shall not again proceed to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle [emphasis added].
Beyond meeting these legal duties, drivers should do many things to share the road safely and respectfully with bicycles. The Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department offers this list:
- Turn on vehicle headlights at dusk
- Be vigilant in looking out for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
- Yield to pedestrians and cyclists when turning.
- Look before opening your door.
- Be careful when passing stopped vehicles.
- Allow three feet when passing bicyclists.
When his health allows, the injured Newport News bike rider could benefit from speaking with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer. Insurance company representative tend to work very hard to assign blame for wrecks on bicyclists. Having a legal ally who will counter the allegations of the insurance reps can significantly increase the odds for having medical bills paid.