Minneapolis Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Cycling has many economic, environmental, and health benefits for riders who share the roadways with larger, heavier cars and trucks. It’s the responsibility of both riders and motorists to ensure the safety of bicyclists in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.
Whether commuting to work, riding to stay in shape, or cycling for pleasure, you have the legal right to use Minnesota’s roadways safely.
Where do most bicycle accidents occur in Minneapolis?
By 2014, Our Streets Minneapolis reported that the city had invested in more than 226 miles of bike lanes and paths and boasted a bike share nonprofit, making it one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. Unfortunately, the more cyclists there are on the road, the greater the potential for bike accidents.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas, such as Minneapolis-St. Paul. More than a quarter of those fatalities take place at intersections.
Information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety indicates that the number one factor in bike versus vehicle crashes is failure to yield the right of way. Many of these accidents are blamed on driver inattention and distraction due to electronic devices such as cell phones.
What Are Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents?
According to the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, bicycle riders are involved in less than one percent of traffic accidents, yet they are more likely to die than any other group on the roadway. A bicycle’s lighter frame and lack of safety restraints mean their riders are more likely to experience grave accident outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control found that injuries caused by bike accidents contribute to approximately 1,000 deaths and 130,000 injuries in the United States each year.
The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation lists the following most common injuries associated with bicycle crashes:
- Soft tissue injuries (cuts and bruises)
- Abrasions or “road rash”
- Broken bones
- Muscle strains
- Trauma to internal organs
- Penetrating wounds from handlebars
- Traumatic brain injury
Injuries to the head, neck, and spinal cord are the most significant contributors to long-term disability and death. Wearing a bicycle helmet and other protective equipment and clothing can help prevent more serious outcomes in bike crashes.
Minnesota Bicycle Laws
Twin Cities Biking offers resources for cyclists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The following are the laws by which bicyclists in Minnesota must abide:
- Follow all regular traffic laws set forth by the state.
- Cyclists are not required to use bike lanes. They may use any lane on any street except for prohibited highways and freeways.
- Travel in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey traffic lights and stop signs.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, sidewalks, and other shared spaces.
- Signal intentions when changing lanes and before turning.
- Keep right except to pass or turn left.
- The use of front and rear lights or rear reflectors is required.
- Up to two bicyclists may ride side-by-side in a single lane so long as it doesn’t disrupt the flow of traffic.
- Riding on sidewalks is prohibited in business districts or where otherwise posted.
- Only one person per bike unless it’s equipped to carry an additional passenger.
For their part, drivers of motor vehicles are required to exercise caution and pass bicyclists at a distance of no less than three feet. Cars, trucks, and SUVs are also prohibited from stopping, parking, or driving in designated bike lanes.
Can I sue for my bicycle accident injuries?
Minnesota is a no-fault state, meaning drivers must submit claims to their insurance companies to cover the cost of injuries they sustain, regardless of who was at fault for the collision.
However, injury victims and their family members can file a lawsuit to recover compensation when the resulting injuries are particularly severe.
Possible defendants in a bicycle accident suit may include:
- A driver who failed to yield or was distracted at the time of the accident
- The bike manufacturer or retailer when it’s shown that a defect contributed to the accident
- The municipality responsible for the maintenance and repair of potholes, broken pavement, poor signage, dangerous intersections, or improperly marked lanes
- Bicycle repair business if faulty brakes fail or malfunction
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred
Along with bike versus motor vehicle collisions, road and weather-related hazards such as neglected road surfaces also play a role in bicycle accidents, with improperly maintained roadways a significant contributor.
How is Liability Proven in a Bicycle Accident Case?
Personal injury lawsuits rely on showing that another party was negligent in their actions or inactions and, therefore, liable for the injured party’s damages. Having evidence that proves negligent behavior can help build a case for liability.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, keep the following in mind:
- File a police report as soon as possible.
- Get the other driver’s personal information.
- Gather contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Keep careful records of your injuries and expenses.
- Preserve video footage of the accident that may have been captured on nearby cameras.
- Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and property damage.
- Hire a bike accident attorney to represent your interests.
What Damages are Available in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
The American Family Physician estimates that Americans spend $8 billion annually in medical expenses related to bicycle accidents. In addition, lost wages, property damage, and loss of potential future earnings can financially devastate a family.
Along with economic damages, some defendants are awarded noneconomic damages, such as compensation for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the accident. Compensation for damages should be fair and enough to cover expenses so that a victim doesn’t face financial ruin.
How long do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Minnesota?
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Minnesota is two years from the time an accident occurred. However, there are exceptions, and it’s strongly recommended that you speak to a Minneapolis personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline to file a claim.
How can a personal injury attorney from Milavetz Law help me after a bike accident?
A personal injury lawsuit can be a marathon. You want someone by your side who won’t settle for a rushed judgment but will fight to get you the compensation you’re owed.
The lawyers at Milavetz Law P.A. have a successful track record of securing favorable verdicts for their clients, many of whom have shared their experiences in the hopes of helping others evaluate their options for legal representation.
With offices in Brooklyn Center, Edina, Coon Rapids, Roseville, Eagan, Forest Lake, Delano, Minnetonka, and St. Cloud, their legal team has secured million-dollar settlements for clients, including:
- School Bus Accident in Minneapolis: $1.4 million
- Motorcycle driver struck and injured by pickup towing a boat: $1.25 million
- Multi-vehicle collision near St. Cloud, MN: $1 million
Discuss Your Legal Questions With A Member Of Our Team
Minneapolis Office Location
305 North 5th Avenue, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Content Reviewed by:
Alan Scott Milavetz