Cyclists are more at risk from traffic accidents than people in motorized vehicles. They have a greater incidence of serious injuries and fatalities than car drivers and their passengers, for instance.
One of the most common accidents that happens to cyclists regularly is being forced off the road. Sometimes it is a deliberate act of road rage and other times it is because a driver hasn’t seen the cyclist or has failed to give the cyclist enough space.
Cyclists who are forced off the road may be badly injured, even if they are not directly hit by another vehicle. Injured cyclists should consider making a personal injury claim against the driver who forced them off the road if they have details of the accident. It may be better to discuss the accident with a personal injury attorney before filing a claim.
Scenarios That Cause Cyclists to Be Forced off the Road
Most cyclists prefer to use cycle lanes if they are available, but cycle lanes don’t always stretch as far as a cyclist wants to go and as often as not, they are actually part of an existing road and cyclists are then forced to share the same road as other vehicles. The most common reasons for a cyclist being forced off the road include:
- The cyclist is not seen by the driver who forces them off the road;
- The road is narrow, but a driver still tries to pass when there is insufficient space for both vehicle and bicycle.
- A passing driver misjudges the distance between their own vehicle and the cyclist;
- A driver just doesn’t like cyclists and deliberately tries to intimidate the cyclist;
- A driver swerves to avoid an obstacle or another vehicle and comes too close to a cyclist forcing the cyclist to take evasive action.
In most of these scenarios the vehicle driver is acting in a negligent way. There is no reason to force a cyclist off a road. Failure to see a cyclist or be patient is no excuse for causing potentially fatal injuries to another human being.
Injuries Caused From Being Forced off the Road
The range of injuries from an accident of this type vary from minor emotional shock through minor scratches and bruises to major injuries such as broken bones, dislocated joints, sprains and head injuries. The severity of these accidents depends on whether the cyclist is actually hit, the size and speed of the vehicle, how much space there is off the road and whether there is somewhere soft to fall on or hard and coarse like gravel.
Obtaining Compensation After Being Forced off the Road
In most cases where a cyclist is forced off a road and injured, the driver of the vehicle that was involved acted in a negligent way. Getting stuck behind a slow cyclist on a narrow, windy road is no excuse for getting annoyed and forcing the cyclist off the road.
If you can prove that the accident was caused by negligence and have evidence to back up your claim, then you may have a good chance of obtaining compensation from the driver involved. You will need to know who the driver was, what his or her registration was and insurance provider.
It will help enormously if you have eye witnesses who stopped or were in the vicinity and saw what happened and are prepared to make a statement supporting your version of the accident. If you have an undamaged cell phone, or can borrow one, you may be able to take photos of the vehicle that forced you off the road and your injuries or damage to your bicycle. If police attend the accident scene, you should be able to get a copy of their accident report.
How an Attorney Can Help With a PI Claim
Making a claim after being forced off the road is not easy. It will help to discuss legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney before filing a claim. To do so, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page!