Kentucky does not require adult bicyclists to wear a helmet, but it is a good idea to wear one for your own safety. According to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Report, approximately 300 annual motor vehicle collisions in Kentucky involve a bicycle. Over half of those accidents result in injury, and approximately four people are killed per year in bicycle-motor vehicle accidents.
Because bicyclists are not protected from the force of impact, they typically sustain more serious injuries than vehicle passengers. Head injuries are particularly common for individuals who do not wear a helmet. Even a moderate impact with a vehicle, road, curb, or other object can cause traumatic brain injury, changing how your brain operates. Such injuries are very serious and can result in lifelong health issues.
Do Bicyclists Have to Follow Traffic Laws in Kentucky?
When riding your bicycle on the road in Kentucky, you must follow local and state traffic laws, just like a motor vehicle. This includes stopping for stop signs and red lights, signaling turns, and obeying right of way laws. If you are on the sidewalk or a crosswalk, different rules may apply, depending on the local laws.
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Can I Ride a Bicycle on the Sidewalk in Kentucky?
Kentucky allows you to operate your bicycle on sidewalks and crosswalks, but local ordinances may differ. If you are planning to bike in a city, town, or other municipality, be sure to check the local laws before you ride.
If you legally ride on sidewalks and crosswalks, you should be treated as a pedestrian by motor vehicles, which means that you have the right of way on crosswalks, driveways, and other areas where a pedestrian has legal right of way. However, you should match the speed of surrounding pedestrians when present and show caution when you approach a crosswalk. In addition, you should always yield to pedestrians on the crosswalk or sidewalk.
Do I Need Special Equipment to Ride a Bicycle at Night?
Pursuant to 601 KAR 14:020, bicyclists must use lights and reflective equipment when driving on a highway during inclement weather and the period between dusk and dawn, defined in KRS 189.030(1) as the time from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
Safety equipment bicyclists must wear during low visibility periods includes:
- One headlight, which can be mounted on the bicycle or rider. The light must be visible from 500 feet and illuminate objects up to 50 feet away.
- One red rear reflector or light that can be seen from 100 feet away.
- One flashing or non-flashing rear red light that can be seen at least 500 feet behind the bicycle.
How Much Space Should Motorists Allow When Passing a Bicycle in Kentucky?
KRS 189.300 states that slow-moving vehicles, which include bicycles, should keep as far to the right as possible so that vehicles can pass on the left. A 2018 amendment expanded the statute to require that drivers allow a minimum distance of three feet when passing a bicyclist on the road, as long as there is sufficient space to do so. In addition, passing vehicles should exercise reasonable care when overtaking bicycles.
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What Do I Do If I Have Been in an Accident While Riding a Bicycle?
If you are in a bicycle accident, be sure to seek medical assistance. Even if you are not in pain, bicycle accidents can cause significant injuries to the head, neck, and spine that may not be readily apparent.
If you are able to do so safely, take photos of the accident scene and obtain contact information from witnesses and the driver of the motor vehicle. Avoid making any statements that imply that you are at fault for the accident, and contact a Kentucky bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. You may be able to file a claim for compensation if your accident was due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Bicycle Accident in Kentucky?
Per Ky. Rev. Stat. § 304.39-230, you have two years to file a claim for a vehicle accident in Kentucky. This time can vary significantly depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, so it is important to speak with an attorney to ascertain your legal deadlines. An attorney can also help you gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and file a lawsuit, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Kentucky Bicycle Accident Claim?
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in Kentucky, you will probably hear from the at-fault party’s insurance company soon after the incident. While the initial settlement they offer may seem sufficient, insurance companies rarely offer enough to cover all the expenses incurred due to an accident.
A Kentucky bicycle accident attorney will know how to negotiate with the insurance company for all the losses you experienced, including:
- Medical costs
- Bike and equipment replacement
- Loss of income due to injury
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Contact Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Evaluation
If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s actions, the bike accident lawyers at Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers are here to help. Reach out to our legal team today for a free consultation. We will analyze your claim and help you determine your legal rights for compensation in Kentucky.