The first step in determining liability in bicycle accidents is understanding the traffic laws applicable to both bicyclists and drivers. Bicycles are generally considered vehicles, and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.
This means obeying traffic signals, signs, and lane markings. When accidents occur, the same legal principles that apply to car accidents are typically used.
In most cases, determining fault revolves around the concept of negligence. Negligence means failing to exercise a level of care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances.
Bicyclists and drivers owe a duty of care to each other, as well as to pedestrians. If either party breaches this duty, they could be found negligent and, therefore, at fault.