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Pennsylvania Bike Accident Lawyers and Philly’s Bike Share Program

As a follow up to a previous post, Philly.com has reported that the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share program has been postponed until the Spring of 2015.  Our initial blog post on the program can be found here.   Although we will have to wait another year for Philadelphia’s bike share program to debut, local riders have already begun to take advantage of the nice weather here in the Delaware Valley.

Thus, it may be a good time to review some of Pennsylvania’s bicycle laws:

  • A person shall not ride a pedalcycle upon a sidewalk in a business district unless permitted by official traffic-control devices, nor when a usable pedalcycle-only lane has been provided adjacent to the sidewalk.  Chapter 35, Section 3508 (b).
  • A pedalcycle may be operated on the shoulder of a highway and shall be operated in the same direction as required of vehicles operated on the roadway.  Chapter 35, Section 3505 (b).
  • No person shall ride a pedalcycle on a freeway.  Chapter 35, Section 3511 (a).
  • Any person operating a pedalcycle upon a roadway which carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.  Chapter 35, Section 3505 (d).
  • A person under 12 years of age shall not operate a pedalcycle or ride as a passenger on a pedalcycle unless the person is wearing a pedalcycle helmet meeting the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Snell Memorial Foundation’s Standards for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling or any other nationally recognized standard for pedalcycle helmet approval.  Chapter 35, Section 3510 (a).

Naturally, the warmer weather brings with it an influx in bicycle accidents.  Here are some useful tips to consider if you are in a bicycle accident:

  • Obtain the driver’s insurance information.  Even if you are not hurt, your bike may be, and sometimes it is difficult to assess bike damage while at the scene.  Injuries may also begin to manifest themselves sometime after the accident.
  • Take pictures.
  • If you are involved in a hit and run accident, notify your automobile insurance company immediately and report the incident to the local police department.  Under Pennsylvania law, you must promptly report the incident to your insurance company (within 30 days) and the local police department in order to make an uninsured motorist claim.
  • The last point highlights the importance of maintaining adequate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.  Motor vehicle versus bicycle accidents often result in very serious injuries.  If the person responsible for the accident leaves the scene, the absence of uninsured motorist coverage may leave you without any recourse.  Likewise, as Pennsylvania only requires drivers to maintain $15,000 per person in liability coverage, maintaining no or little underinsured motorist coverage can leave you without enough coverage to adequately compensate you for your injuries.  We recommend that our clients maintain $100,000 per person/$300,000.00 per accident in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, at a minimum.
  • If you or a resident relative does not own a motor vehicle, you can still cover yourself through dedicated bicycle insurance, which is becoming more popular in recent years.  Renters or homeowners insurance can also come into play in certain situations.   A more in depth discussion on this point will follow in upcoming weeks.  But, an attorney at DiSandro and Malloy is always available to discuss your situation and how the applicable insurance coverages interact with each other.

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident in the Philadelphia area, DiSandro & Malloy has the experience and expertise to handle your property damage and personal injury claims.  Contact us at any time for a free consultation.