Alarming series of bicycle accidents in Cleveland, Ohio

An alarming trend is happening in Cleveland, Ohio, between motorists and bicyclists. A bike advocacy group called Bike Cleveland has reported that there were eight car versus bicycle collisions in June. The extent of the injuries to the bicyclists ranged from relatively minor to brain trauma and debilitating bone fractures. This recent spate of injuries comes on the heels of a fatal May accident wherein a 36-year-old mother of five kids perished.

One explanation for the cluster of bike-related accidents is that there are actually just more bicycles on the road. Yet another theory is that motorists are ignorant of bike laws. Some drivers still believe that bikes are supposed to ride on the sidewalks and aren't allowed to share the road with them.

Some cyclists live in fear of the dreaded "right-hook". That is when a motorist will pass a bike that is riding on the side of the road near an intersection and then make an abrupt right turn directly in front of them. In 2009, that type of maneuver caused the death of a woman who was struck by a truck driver. The defendant was later found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide, sentenced to three years in prison and is permanently banned from obtaining an Ohio driver's license.

A 2012 city ordinance in Cleveland attempted to address the problem. That law requires that motorist keep a three-foot minimum distance between their vehicles and bicycles. It also contains provisions which bans blocking or parking in bike lanes. Rules regarding intersection safety are also addressed by the law.

Victims of bicycle accidents should know that there are legal ways to recover medical expenses and lost wages if they become injured by a negligent driver. A motorist who is distracted from the use of electronic devices, or otherwise impaired by drugs and alcohol may be a viable target for a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Www.cleveland.com, "Cluster of bike-car crashes has Bike Cleveland pressing for stricter enforcement of traffic laws,"July 2, 2014

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