Bicycles and Road Hazards = Bad Combination

With warmer weather upon us and summer just around the corner, it’s a perfect time of year for bicyclists to get out and enjoy the local roads.  But if you decide to hop on your bike, be sure to pay special attention to some of the potential dangers – especially road hazards.

Bikes, because of their thin tires and since they are fairly unstable, tend to be susceptible to accidents caused by road hazards.  Some of the most common hazards are:

  • Potholes – Usually are caused by either poor repair work done by local municipalities or as a result of long-term wear and tear that has caused the road to crack and become unstable in certain spots.
  • Sewer grates – Grates that run the same direction as traffic can be very dangerous to cyclists since it is easy for a tire to wedge between them.  While many cities and counties have made improvements to sewer grates or changed the direction the gates run, there still are many dangerous grates on roads.
  • Railroad or trolley tracks – Much like sewer grates, the direction that rails or tracks run is vitally important.  If they run in the direction of traffic or if they angle or curve across the roadway, they have the potential to be dangerous to cyclists.  Tracks that run perpendicular to the roadway tend to not be as dangerous.

Determining whether a local government or public entity is responsible for injuries caused by a road hazard depends on a number of factors such as how long the hazard existed and what, if any, steps were taken to reduce the danger or warn cyclists of the danger.  In general, West Virginia law requires municipalities to maintain their streets, sidewalks and alleys open and in repair to all sorts of traffic, including bicycles.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to bicycle accident caused by a road hazard, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your situation.


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