In cities like Indianapolis, biking in the downtown area is often a faster and cheaper way to travel than driving a car. Places for Bikes ranked Indianapolis #52 out of 484 cities, for best place for biking. The ranking system considers factors like traffic injury statistics, details on bike commuting, bike specific infrastructure investments, etc. With the increasing popularity of bicycles, drivers and cyclists need to be aware of each other.
Cyclists should be aware of their responsibilities and dangers when riding. Open bike lanes allow bicycles to cruise past congestion and offer shorter travel time. Bicycles ridden on the road are subject to similar traffic laws as motor vehicles; follow traffics signals and signs, yield to pedestrians, and avoid unsafe lane changes. Cyclists are in a vulnerable position, surrounded by faster, metal vehicles. Indiana does not require, but suggests cyclists wear protective head gear when riding.
Drivers have a lot to be aware of while operating their motor vehicle, like e-scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians. Driving distracted creates additional dangers for others and increases the risk of accidents. Drivers are responsible for yielding to bicycles, staying out of the bike lane, and keeping a 3-foot distance from bicycles while passing.
Bicycle vs. Motor vehicle
Liability in these types of accidents usually follows the same standard as car accidents, negligence. Typically, if a driver or cyclist commits a traffic violation which results in injuries to others, they are considered negligent. A majority of states follow comparative negligence systems, which allocates a percentage of fault to each party. If both parties are negligent, a plaintiff can only recover for their injuries if they are less than 50% at fault.
To prevent injuries and protect themselves from liability, it is important that both cyclist and drivers follow the law. Distracted driving is a leading cause to accidents and can happen to anyone. While on his phone, a Missouri police officer struck a man on a bicycle. The officer was suspended after the accident and the cyclist sustained only minor injuries. Though had the officer been traveling as fast as most vehicles do in downtown Indianapolis, the injuries could have been more serious.