Pennsylvania is open for business once again, and people are starting to emerge from their homes and continue on with a new normal. That means that more people are out on the streets, and that includes bicyclists. Cyclists are at great risk when they are on the road and even when wearing a helmet, they are at great risk for sustaining injury.
As you get ready to head out on your bike this summer, it is important to know what laws apply to you and motorists. Complying with the laws will help you avoid being involved in an accident, and will shield you from claims of liability in case a crash occurs.
Bicycles are Considered Vehicles Under State Law
According to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, bicycles are considered vehicles and as such, they have the same right to use the roadway as cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Cyclists must also obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals when using the road, just as drivers do. Any time a motorist or cyclist violates traffic laws and causes an accident, they can be held liable for paying damages to accident victims.
Bicycle Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania
While many states have universal bicycle laws, Pennsylvania does not. Under Pennsylvania law, only cyclists aged 12 and under are required to wear a helmet. Other cyclists are not. All cyclists should understand the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet while riding. Still, failing to wear one does not qualify as comparative negligence if the cyclist becomes hurt during a crash.
Where to Ride a Bicycle
Pennsylvania law does not prohibit riding a bicycle on sidewalks, except within business districts. However, cyclists should know that when on a sidewalk, pedestrians have the right of way. If someone on a bike causes a crash with a pedestrian by riding carelessly on a sidewalk, they can be held liable.
Bicyclists are also allowed to use the roadways, although they should never travel on highways. When riding on a road, cyclists should keep as far to the right as possible, with exceptions for certain situations. These include when turning left, when overtaking a vehicle going in the same direction, or when there is an obstacle that requires the cyclist to navigate around it.
Cyclists should also always travel in the same direction as traffic. When riding in a group, cyclists should be no more than two side-by-side, unless in an area strictly reserved for cyclists. Under the law, bicycles should only carry the number of riders they were intended to. The exception to this is adults that are carrying a child in a sling or other carrying pack.
A Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Allentown Can Help After a Crash
Even when motorists and cyclists both know the law, accidents still happen. If you have been hurt in a crash, our Allentown personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can help you claim the damages you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.