Proving Liability for a Car in a Right Turn Bicycle Accident

When a car turning right strikes a bicyclist, it's often referred to as a "right hook" accident. This commonly happens when a cyclist is riding on the right shoulder of the road or in the bike lane alongside a car. In these types of accidents, it's usually the driver's fault, but to prove that they were liable for your injuries you must present proper evidence of their negligence.

How Right Turn Bicycle Accidents Occur

The most common ways right turn bicycle accidents occur are below.

  • When a bicyclist and a car approach an intersection and the car turns right: in this scenario, the driver often fails to see the bicyclist until it's too late.
  • When a bicyclist goes to overtake a slower moving car and passes on the right, unintentionally putting himself in harm's way when the car turns right.
  • When a bike and a car are waiting at a light, and when the signal allows traffic to move, the car turns right, cutting off or hitting the cyclist.

Liability for a Right Turn Bicycle Accident

To prove that the driver was primarily at fault for causing the right turn accident and not the cyclist, several types of evidence will be necessary. A police report will detail the accident scene and the events as described by the officer responding to the call. It will also include notes of any citations issued to the driver or the cyclist.

Eyewitness accounts are perhaps the best type of evidence as they can reveal what the bike and the car were doing prior to the collision.

A driver can be proven negligent and thus liable if s/he was doing one or more of the following.

  • Speeding
  • Failed to use a turn signal
  • Abruptly changed lanes

Likewise, if witnesses say the bicyclist was acting in one or more of these negligent manners, they may be used as a defense in a bike accident claim, by the driver.

  • Swerving between lanes
  • Riding too close to vehicles
  • Ignoring a traffic control device

You may also want to see if anyone caught video or pictures of the accident scene. Many intersections have traffic cameras that could have captured the incident on tape, and some nearby businesses could have surveillance cameras that caught the crash.

Avoiding Right Turn Bicycle Accidents

When riding near a vehicle try to keep a safe distance behind, so you can anticipate when the vehicle is turning or changing lanes. As you approach an intersection, check your mirrors for nearby vehicles.

Avoid passing a car on the right unless it's necessary to do so. When moving past a car, make sure there is enough empty area to the right of your lane in the event you have to swerve out of the way of a right-turning car.

When a Right Turning Car Causes a Crash, We're Here to Help

Walker, Billingsley & Bair is here to help injured Iowans seek justice when another's negligence causes them harm. If you were injured by a right-turning vehicle while on your bicycle, call (888) 435-9886 or fill out our online contact form to find out about your legal options for recovery of damages.

Corey Walker
With over 20 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.