Bike and Bicyclist Personal Injury Laws and Rights in Virginia | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Bicycling is a popular activity in many areas of Virginia, especially in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake. Due to the higher-than-average numbers of bicyclists on busy roads and streets, there is a higher risk of an accident occurring between someone on a bike and someone operating a motor vehicle. In fact, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported that approximately 712 bicyclists suffered injuries and 12 bicyclists were killed in collisions with automobiles in 2014.

If you or a family member enjoy riding your bike, it is important to have an understanding of Virginia bicycle laws. If you have a better understanding of these rules, it could reduce the risk of being harmed in an accident with a large vehicle. on

Legal Rights and Duties of Virginia Bicyclists

Under Va. Code § 46.2-800, people riding bicycles on a road, street, or highway in Virginia are subject to the Virginia Code provisions on motor vehicles and have the same rights and duties that are applicable to motorists.

Crossing a Street or Road Through a Marked Crosswalk

According to Va. Code § 46.2-924, motorists must yield to right-of-way to a bicyclist crossing a roadway in any clearly marked crosswalk or any intersection with a speed limit less than thirty five miles per hour. Vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections must change course, slow down, or stop to allow the bicyclist to cross the intersection safely and expeditiously.

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Important Bicyclist Duties You Need to Be Aware Of

You are legally obligated to obey the following traffic regulations.

  • Comply with all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.
  • According to Va. Code § 46.2-833A, a bicyclist may proceed through a solid red light at an intersection only if they come to a complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter;
  • Exercise due care in the operation of your bicycle;
  • Treat traffic signals as stop signs;
  • According to Va. Code § 46.2-802, bicyclists are required to ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic.
  • According to Va. Code § 46.2-905, if a bicyclist is riding at less than the normal speed of traffic, then they must ride as close as possible to the right curb or edge of the roadway. exceptions to this rule are as follows:
  • Bicyclists may not ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction – this shall not apply if one lane is a separate or mandatory turning lane.
  • Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast. If bicyclists ride two abreast they may not impede the flow of traffic and must ride single file if being overtaken from the rear. Bicyclists riding on a road with lanes must ride in a single lane.

Riding Your Bicycle on a Sidewalk

You are permitted to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk or other shared use path. However, the governing body of any county, city, or town might prohibit bicycle use on sidewalks or crosswalks. You are required to comply with the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction where you are located.

If you ride your bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or crosswalk, you must yield right-of-way to pedestrians. If you overtake or pass any pedestrian, you must have an audible signal.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents and the Resulting Bodily Injuries

In many instances, a collision between a bicyclist and a motorist is due to the careless or reckless actions of the motorist. Here are some of the most common types of bicycle accidents that occur in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, and other areas of Virginia:

  • Left-turn accidents – A car makes a left turn at an intersection into the path of a bicyclist who was trying to go straight through the intersection from the opposite direction.
  • Right-turn accidents – A bicyclist is trying to go straight through an intersection when a car going the same direction turns right into the bicyclist.
  • “Dooring” – this happens when a bicycle is passing a line of parked cars on the side of the road and a motorist opens a door directly into the path of the bicyclist.
  • Driveway collisions: The bicyclist is passing a driveway when a motorist pulls out and hits the bicyclist.
  • Rear-end accidents – A bicyclist is rear-ended by a car. Although these accidents are less common than people suppose, they are more likely to cause serious injury or death when they do occur. Often, the driver responsible for the crash is either distracted, intoxicated, or both.

As you can see, a bicycle accident can leave you with severe bodily injuries, emotional trauma, and financial strain. It is quite common for a bicyclist hit by a car to suffer the following types of harms:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord damage causing paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments

Types of Financial Restitution You Can Pursue Through a Virginia Bicycle Accident Injury Claim

This is why you should pursue financial restitution through a bicycle accident injury claim. Types of compensation that a Virginia Beach bicycle accident lawyer may pursue for you after a crash include the following:

  • Medical bills, including past and future coverage for medical, hospital, surgical, and therapy bills, as well as bills for medications or medical devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, or braces.
  • Lost wages, including coverage for some or all of the wages the injured bicyclist would have earned if the injury had not forced him or her to take time off work. If the injury is so severe that the bicyclist cannot go back to work, compensation for lost future wages may also be sought.
  • Pain and suffering, which sometimes seems immeasurable, but an experienced attorney can help you document this type of compensation.

To learn more about your legal rights after a bicycle accident in Virginia, contact Shapiro & Appleton today to schedule a free case review.