Many people assume that when you strike a bicyclist with your vehicle, much like when you hit a pedestrian, the fault is entirely on you. Pedestrians and bicyclists tend to have more protections during most traffic interactions, and drivers must exercise more care when navigating around them.
However, bicyclists are not free of fault. In some cases, if you hit a bicyclist, it could be entirely as a result of their own recklessness. No matter how severe their injuries, you may not be liable at all. But when do bicyclists have right of way, and when must they exercise the same level of responsibility as drivers on the road?
Illinois laws are clear: on most roadways, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as any other motor vehicle driver. Everybody must respect each other’s right to be on the roadway, but there are a few extra laws and protections that are in place for bicyclists in the state:
- Bicyclists are not allowed on expressways and some limited-access highways
- Bicyclists must be traveling in the same direction as other motor vehicles
- They must ride as far on the right of the road as possible
- Drivers must yield to bicyclists as they would another vehicle, and must be at least three feet away from a bicyclist when passing
Ultimately, bicyclists have the right of way in the same circumstances a motorist would. Illinois drivers and bicyclists alike must exercise a reasonable level of respect and common sense when on the road. Check your surroundings and ensure your actions don’t put another person in danger. Every accident is different, and any party could be at fault – no matter the extent of the injuries.