Bicycle riding has always been a popular activity, but it has recently become even more common as newer generations use it not just for recreational purposes but also for commuting to live more sustainably and affordably. Unfortunately, this means bicycle accidents have increased as well.
According to the CDC, an average of 1,000 cyclists are killed in traffic accidents every year, and over 130,000 are injured. Not only is this devastating, but the accidents can also lead to costly medical expenses and other damages for those injured and their loved ones.
And of all the things that lead to Kentucky bicycle accidents, right hook maneuvers are the most common.
What Is a Right Hook Bike Accident?
So, what is a right hook bike accident?
The most common kind of right hook accident is when a vehicle and a bicyclist are on the road headed in the same direction—with the bicyclist to the right of the vehicle— and the vehicle attempts to turn right, crossing directly in the path of the cyclist who was headed straight. This can happen at an intersection when the vehicle turns right onto another road or when a car turns right into a driveway or a place of business.
No matter how it occurs, it typically involves a vehicle that turns right in front of a bicyclist traveling straight. And in most cases, it is the driver’s fault, even if the cyclist was in their blindspot and they didn’t see them.
Kentucky Bicycle Traffic Laws
Generally, most bicycle laws require that vehicles treat bicycles on the road like other vehicles. And as the law also requires cyclists to ride on the right-hand side of the road (unless they need to merge over to turn left), this means that vehicles must treat bicycles as if they were another vehicle driving on their right. This means that turning right in front of them is illegal.
For example, if you were driving in the left lane and another vehicle was in the right lane, you wouldn’t suddenly turn right in front of that vehicle. This same concept applies to bicyclists as well. Even if the driver doesn’t see the bicyclist, it is their responsibility to check before turning to make sure they have the right-of-way.
Overall, Kentucky bicycle law requires bicyclists to stay on the right side of the far right lane or in a designated bike lane except when:
- Making a left-hand turn
- Passing a slower vehicle or moving around an obstruction in the roadway
- The lane is too narrow
- Avoiding parked cars
- Avoiding a hazard
Other vehicles also have rules or laws to follow where bicyclists are concerned. They must:
- Share the road with bicyclists and treat them like other vehicles on the road
- Pass only when they can allow three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle
- Before passing, check to see that there isn’t something that might cause the cyclist to divert their course to the left
- Check before turning right and may only do so if the path of the bicyclist will not be obstructed
- Check for cyclists before opening their car door
Common Right Hook Bike Accident Injuries
Just as with a car accident, the type of injuries that occur with a right hook bike accident can vary. However, as cyclists have less protection for their bodies, they tend to sustain more severe injuries when struck by a larger vehicle, even if the car is not moving that fast. This is why it’s crucial for drivers to take extra precautions around bicyclists and for cyclists themselves to wear a helmet and ride defensively if needed to avoid getting hit.
Some of the most common injuries that can occur from a right hook accident or any type of bike accident include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- Road rash
- Bruising and lacerations
Pursuing a Right Hook Bike Accident Settlement
To file a personal injury claim and recover compensation for a right hook bike accident, the cyclist will need to prove that the driver that turned in front of them was at fault and thus liable for the harm caused. As drivers have a responsibility to check for cyclists in the right lane before turning, and as they are only allowed to turn right if they do not obstruct the path of the cyclist, they will most likely be the one at fault if they did, in fact, turn directly in front of the cyclist.
Once fault is determined, there are then various factors that will be taken into consideration when determining how much the injured cyclist should be awarded. And every case is unique. So the total amount of a bike accident settlement can vary.
Factors that can play a role in how much the settlement is worth include:
- Medical expenses
- Insurance policy limits
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Trust McCoy & Sparks—Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Central Kentucky
In most right hook accident cases, or with any bike accident case, it is best to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. It is not uncommon for drivers to blame the cyclist or for insurance companies to try to offer reduced settlements. But with an attorney, you will have someone who knows how best to argue your case and defend your rights to ensure you get the full and fair settlement you deserve.
Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks represents thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service. Our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs to help achieve the best possible outcome.
You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our right hook bike accident attorneys today.