In a busy town like Billings, Montana bicycle accidents are an unfortunate reality. In any metropolitan area where pedestrians and motorists have to interact, lack of awareness of bicyclist safety and too many hazardous intersections can lead to tragic and often preventable bike accidents. These accidents may involve life-threatening injuries such as severe concussions and brain trauma. If you or someone you love has been in a bicycle accident in Billings recently, we want to hear from you at Ragain & Cook, P.C. Our bicycle accident attorneys may be able to help.
Bicyclist Rights and Responsibilities in Montana
Many bicycle accidents occur because of motorist negligence. Not just distracted drivers or those texting and driving, but those who drive recklessly around bicyclists out of anger and impatience. Some drivers try to intimidate bicyclists by following and passing too closely, overtaking them and then making a turn, or failing to give them the right of way. Although bicyclists are not as fast as motor vehicles, they have just as much right to the roadway in Billings, Montana.
It is every driver’s duty to drive with reasonable prudence and safety around bicyclists and to obey the rules of the road. Here are a few important bicycle laws in Montana:
- Montana’s roads and city streets are the territory of bicyclists as much as motor vehicle operators. The Department of Transportation encourages travel by bicycle. Bicyclists are allowed on any road or sidewalk unless local laws otherwise restrict use.
- No state law requires bicycle riders of any age to wear a helmet. In Billings, however, there is a municipal law that mandates bicyclists under the age of 16 wear a helmet. If someone breaks this law and has an accident, it does not always mean the bicyclist cannot obtain compensation.
- Two bicyclists are only allowed to ride side by side on roads with multiple travel lines. In any other instance, bicyclists must ride single file. Bikers should stick to the right-hand side of the road as much as possible, although state laws do allow them to travel to the far left when making a left turn.
- Bicyclists must have functional brakes, a white headlight visible from 500 feet, reflective gear visible from at least 300 feet, and a rear tail light or red rear reflector. Bicyclists must have one hand on the handlebars at all times, even if carrying items.
Failing to obey state and local bicycle laws as a bicyclist or a motorist can have repercussions in an accident. The insurance company or judge will look at any rules broken and weigh them in terms of whether they contributed to the accident.
In Montana, modified comparative fault rules make it possible to receive compensation as an injured bicyclist even if you were partially responsible for a crash. Speak to the attorneys at Ragain & Cook, P.C., for more information about this law and how it may affect your case.
Trustworthy Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Billings
After an injurious bicycle accident, you may be able to settle your claim satisfactorily through the other driver’s car insurance company. However, insurance companies typically try to get accident victims to settle for as little as possible, to protect the financial status of the company. In the event of a bicycle accident, injuries can easily be catastrophic and require thousands of dollars in medical costs. Some victims may need to pay for ongoing treatments and rehabilitative therapies. To ensure you get a fair settlement offer after a bicycle accident, seek a lawyer’s advice.
The attorneys at Ragain & Cook, PC, are here to represent injured bicyclists in Billings, Montana and around the state. Please contact us to discuss your case during a free consultation with one of our experienced representatives.