Who Is At Fault In a Car vs. Bike Collision?

August 26, 2016 | Thomas L. Stroble
Who Is At Fault In a Car vs. Bike Collision?
Bicycle And A Helmet Lying On The Road With Hand Of Human, Accid

Many people simply assume that motorists are almost invariably at fault in accidents involving cars and bicyclists. After all, in these kinds of accidents, the person on the bike is usually much more seriously injured than the driver of the car, and bicycle enthusiasts are very vocal about the need for motorists to “share the road” with pedal-powered vehicles.

In reality, however, both bicyclists and motorists can be at fault in accidents. In determining fault, the law looks to whether either party’s negligence1 caused the accident. Negligence, in this context, refers to a party’s failure to conduct himself or herself with the degree of care that would ordinarily be exercised by a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances. Both bicyclists and drivers could potentially be negligent, so both could be at fault of an accident.

Both bicyclists and drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, and any violations could be the basis for determining fault in an accident. Some of the ways that both bicyclists and drivers could negligently cause and accident include the following:

  • Failure to maintain a lane
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Ignoring stop signs or stop lights
  • Failing to signal turns

What Happens if Both Parties are at Fault?

Sometimes, the negligence of both a bicyclist and a motorist contribute to an accident. Imagine, for example, a speeding motorist collides with a bicyclist who failed to signal a left turn across traffic. In this situation, who recovers?

Under Michigan’s comparative fault law,2 the damages of the party seeking damages from the other (the party who initiated the suit) will have his or her award reduced by the percentage they are deemed to be at fault. For example, if the total award is $100,000 but the plaintiff is deemed to be 10% at fault, he or she will receive $90,000 ($100,000-10%). If, however, the plaintiff is found to be more than at fault than the other party, the economic damages awarded will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault and no non-economic damages awarded at all.

Call Michigan Injury Lawyers Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you have been involved in an accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle, you should call an attorney as soon as possible. In some instances, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses, including your medical expenses, damage to your property, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and lost income. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Michigan personal injury attorneys, call our office today at 313-GET-HELP.


1 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence
2 http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(kagbtcauekjf3aurwvzn2pg5))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-600-2959

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Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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