Michigan Bicycle Accident FAQs | Lee Steinberg Law Firm

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Michigan Bicycle Accident FAQs

With the popularity of bicycle riding increasing, the number of Michigan bicycle accidents have unfortunately increased as well. Although cities and towns have built bike lanes and motorists are more aware of bikers, accidents happen. If you have any questions about bicycle injury or a bicycle crash case, the bicycle accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are here to help. We can sit down with you and answer any questions you have.

A bicycle accident is not very different from a car or truck accident. There is a lot going after a bicycle crash, but there are important things to do.

  • Call the police and 911. Make sure you have a chance to talk to the responding police officer to give your side of the story. Also make sure you get checked out by medical personnel. Go to the hospital if necessary.
  • Exchange information with everyone involved in the bicycle crash. This includes names, telephone numbers, insurance information and license plate numbers.
  • Take pictures and video of the accident scene. Take photos of the vehicle damage and bike damage. Get the license plate number of every car. This could be your only opportunity to get evidence of the driver’s fault.
  • If necessary, go to nearest hospital or medical facility. It is important to get checked out. What could appear to be a minor injury could actually be much more serious.

Calling an experienced personal injury attorney can also help east the stress of your recovery after a serious bicycle accident. 

The driver and owner of the vehicle are responsible for paying the pain and suffering you suffered from the bicycle accident. However, you have to prove the driver was at least 50% at-fault for causing the crash.

Medical treatment is required under Michigan law to get compensation. And under the Michigan no-fault law, a person has to prove they have a “threshold injury.” Things are not simple in Michigan. That is why it is very important to contact and experienced and professional Michigan bicycle accident law firm if you or anybody you know has been injured.

Yes, so long as a motor vehicle (a car or truck) was involved in causing the accident, a person injured while using a bicycle can file a claim for Michigan no-fault PIP (personal injury protection) benefits. This is the case even if the bicyclist does not have auto insurance of their own.

If the bicyclist does not have auto insurance, then he or she turns to the auto insurance company of a resident relative, like a spouse, child, parents or sibling they live with. If there is no auto insurance in the household, then an application must be filed with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP). Under the MACP, the Plan will assign an insurance company to pay all medical expenses up to $250,000.

Just like a regular car crash, an injured bicyclist is entitled to the same benefits as a driver of a car. This includes:

  • payment of medical expenses (up to the applicable PIP coverage limit)
  • 85% of lost wages for 3 years
  • replacement services or household chores for up to 3 years
  • payment of out-of-pocket costs and prescriptions and
  • attendant care.

Yes, even if you are partially at-fault for causing the crash you can still make a claim for pain and suffering. For example, if you were not wearing a helmet, riding on the wrong side of the road, or did not have lights, you still may be able to file a lawsuit.

However, under Michigan law, the at-fault vehicle must be at least 50% at-fault for causing the crash. If the bicyclist is deemed more than 50% at-fault, then the bicyclist is not entitled to any pain and suffering compensation. 

Just like in a car wreck, an injured bicyclist has to prove a few things to obtain pain and suffering compensation for his or her injuries.

  1. Negligence – that the driver was more than 50% at-fault for causing the accident;
  2. Causation – the negligence of the driver caused the injuries;
  3. Injuries – the bicyclist was injured; and
  4. Threshold Injury – the bicyclist sustained a “threshold injury”, which usually means showing the car accident generally changed the injured person’s ability to lead his or her normal life. This is called a serious impairment of body function.

Proving a threshold injury is not automatic. That’s why it is important contact a Michigan bicycle accident lawyer who is familiar with the law and knows what it takes to win.

Also, because Michigan is a no-fault state a person who is put at-fault for causing the crash can still get no-fault benefits (payment of medical bills, lost wages, etc.). So just because the bicyclist caused the crash does not mean they are entitled to various benefits under Michigan law.  

Yes. Under Michigan law, a person riding a bicycle must follow the same direction as traffic. So it is not permissible to ride against traffic. MCL 257.634. In addition, the bicyclist must ride on the right half of the roadway to allow for vehicles to pass. This means you must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

There are certain exceptions to this, such as when making a left turn or the conditions on the right-hand edge are unsafe. MCL 257.660a.

Actually there is no requirement under Michigan law that adults must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. However, our bicycle accident lawyers highly recommend that every person wears a properly fitted helmet each time they ride a bike. Bike helmets prevent the vast majority of brain and head injuries.

Yes, Michigan law requires the use of hand signals when turning. For right hand turns, a cyclist must extend the right arm straight out or extend the left hand and arm upward. For left turns you must extend your left arm straight out to the left. Signal stopping or slowing by extending your left arm straight down with the palm facing rearward. See MCL 257.648.

However, even if you did not use a hand signal, the driver of a motor vehicle has obligation to use due care and caution when driving and to see what is around him or her. If the bicyclist was already in the act of turning then the driver of the car must take this into consideration before driving through an intersection or turning themselves.

Most people have three (3) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver for the injuries he or she caused. However, the statute of limitations can be shorter for governmental agencies and longer for cases involving a minor. That is why it is important to contact a Michigan bicycle crash law firm that has handled hundreds of bike crash cases.

The time limit is shorter for a PIP claim. A person only has one (1) year to file a PIP no-fault claim against the proper Michigan automobile insurance carrier. If a person does not file a notice of a claim in writing within the one year, they forever lose their right to no-fault benefits.

Under Michigan law, there is no requirement that a person riding a bike is required to use a bike path. This is true even if the bike path is present. MCL 257.660(3). However, it is highly recommended a bicyclist use the bike path. The failure to use the bike path can still be used as evidence against you if a with a car or truck crash occurs.

Yes. Under Michigan law, at night a bike must be equipped with a lamp on the front that emits a while light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear. The specific rules for this can be found at MCL 257.662.

A driver must always operate their car in a careful manner and at a prudent speed given the traffic conditions. The driver must also ways use due care and caution when passing another vehicle or a bicycle. Motorist are required to have their vehicle under control when following a bicyclist. This includes leaving enough room to safety stop.

The most common injury from a bicycle crash are head injuries. However, by wearing a helmet a person reduces their chance of a severe head injury or traumatic brain injury up to 85%. Other bike injuries from a car crash include broken arms, elbow injuries, fractured or broken legs, road rash and back pain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 130,000 people are injured in bicycle crashes that occur on roads in the United State every year. About 1,000 bicyclists die from these accidents. The medical costs for bicycle injuries is more than $23 billion each year. This includes the costs of medical care, lost work and estimates for lost quality of life.

In Michigan, there were 1,248 bike crashes involving a motor vehicle in 2021. This resulted in 999 injuries and 99 fatalities.

More than two-thirds of bicyclist deaths occur on sections of road that are away from the intersection. This is because higher speeds lead to worse outcomes. Only a quarter of all bicycle deaths involving a car or truck occur at an intersection. 

Alcohol plays a role in about one-third of all crashes that result in a bicyclist’s death.

Call the Best Michigan Bike Injury Lawyers

The Michigan bike accident injury lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm have been fighting for and winning cases on behalf of bicycle riders and their families for over 40 years. We handle all types of cases throughout the state. Call us for a free phone consultation at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We are happy to share our knowledge and understand your situation.