Are Bicyclists Ever Liable for Car Accidents in Kansas City?

It is a common misconception that bicyclists will never be legally responsible for car accidents since they can suffer more serious injuries in a collision. In Kansas City, bicycles are vehicles under law. Bicyclists must, therefore, obey all the same roadway rules as motor vehicle drivers. They can also be liable for car accidents. Drivers and cyclists should work with a K.C. bicycle accident lawyer to handle these complex types of claims.

Bicyclist Rules and Rights in Kansas City

Vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians must still obey traffic laws when traversing the streets and sidewalks of Kansas City. Being more at risk of personal injuries does not necessarily mean more rights to the road than other motorists. Every road user has a responsibility to do his or her part to make the streets safer. This includes bicyclists obeying the rules of the road that apply to them.

  • Bicyclists must ride in the road if no bike lane is available. It is against the law to ride a bicycle on the sidewalks of metropolitan Kansas City.
  • Bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers must ride in the same direction. Bicyclists cannot share a lane or lane-split two abreast with a motor vehicle.
  • Bicyclists must obey traffic laws and signs. These include red lights, stop signs, yields, rights-of-way and speed limits.
  • Bicyclists cannot ride drunk. It is against Missouri and Kansas’ drunk driving laws to operate a bicycle with greater than a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
  • Bicyclists must have the proper equipment. Cyclists in Kansas City need working brakes, as well as front lamps to ride at nighttime. They do not lawfully need to wear helmets.

Just like other drivers, if a bicyclist breaks any traffic laws or breaches a duty of care, he or she could be liable for a resultant accident. Being a bicyclist does not give an individual the power to evade liability for a collision he or she caused – even if the bicyclist suffers more severe injuries than the vehicle driver.

Bicyclist Liability for a Car Accident

How to file an insurance claim for a bicycle accident in Kansas City depends on which side of the state line the crash happens. Missouri is a fault-based state, while Kansas is a no-fault state. In Kansas, injured accident victims do not need to determine fault. They will seek benefits through their own insurance companies regardless of which party caused the crash. In Missouri, however, injured victims will need to determine fault before filing insurance claims. If the biker caused the accident, he or she may bear liability for related expenses, including vehicle damage repairs.

When proving fault for any type of auto accident in Kansas City, the claimant must prove through a preponderance of evidence that the other party owed a duty of care, breached this duty and caused the collision. If the bicyclist’s actions fit the definition of negligence or a breach of duty of care, the biker could be legally responsible for the crash. If the cyclist was a minor under the age of 18, his or her parents may be vicariously liable instead. A bicyclist who is liable for a collision may have to pay for his or her own medical bills and property repairs, as well as the driver’s vehicle repairs, through an auto insurance policy or out of pocket.

Many bicycle accident claims in Kansas City involve shared liability, or the fault of both the driver and the cyclist. In Kansas City, Missouri, a victim can be partially at fault for a bicycle accident but still recover some compensation. If the biker was 80% responsible for running a red light but the driver was 20% at fault for failing to yield when making a left turn, for example, the bicyclist could still recover 20% of a compensatory award from the driver’s insurance company. Missouri does not place a cap on its comparative fault laws, but no victim may be more than 49% responsible to receive compensation in Kansas. Get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss getting compensation if you are injured and involved in a bicycle accident.