Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle vs. car accidents can produce devastating injuries for the cyclist and often do not involve any injuries for the driver of the vehicle. Head injuries account for about 75% of all serious injuries and fatalities from bicycle accidents. While collisions with cars account for only one 33% of all bicycle accidents, they account for the majority of catastrophic injuries and deaths. For answers to bike and/or pedestrian accident questions, please see the Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Questions.


Like motorcycle accidents and scooter accidents, most bicycle accidents are caused by drivers failing to see cyclists. Drivers pull out in front of cyclists, turn in front of oncoming cyclists and merge into lanes occupied by cyclists. While cyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as drivers, many drivers treat cyclists as a mere nuisance on the roadway often tailgating them, passing too close or failing to yield the right of way to cyclists. Proving that the driver was the negligent party can often be a difficult task in a bicycle vs. car collision.


Oftentimes police officers will not write a narrative report or assign blame in a traffic accident. This is especially true if they do not cite either of the parties. In these cases proving liability may come down to your word against the driver’s. As your lawyer, I will fully investigate your accident to give us every advantage in court. This includes personally going to the accident scene, shooting video, taking photos of the scene, the damage and your injuries, hiring expert witnesses when appropriate, and personally interviewing all the witnesses.


It has been my experience that on small dollar accident cases, insurance adjusters deny liability first and interview witnesses only when challenged by an attorney. Most injured people do not seek the help of an attorney and just accept the insurance company’s judgment that the accident was their fault. That is why ignoring cycling victims remains cost effective for insurance companies. In the past this was especially true because it was not worth an attorney’s time to represent cyclists or other victims on small cases, especially when liability was at issue. The legislature then passed a statute that allows for attorney fees when damages do not exceed $10,000. This statute made it worthwhile for attorneys to pursue cases that in the past would not be cost effective. Even so, insurance companies play the game of denying liability without fully investigating cases and many attorneys still cannot be bothered with cases that are “too small.”


One of the goals of my practice is help individuals who have been injured or victimized and are unable to help themselves. That is why a large part of my practice is based on representing crime victims. In furtherance of that goal I also represent accident victims who have been unfairly denied compensation by insurance company adjusters. Many of these cases are as small as $1,000 in damages. It is important for insurance companies to learn that it is going to be more expensive for them to deny these “nuisance” claims than it is for them to do their due diligence and pay them in an appropriate manner.


There are a lot of cyclists in Portland and there are a lot of “bicycle attorneys” available to help them. Some of these attorneys insist that you should hire a “bicycle attorney” that actually rides regularly. However, the most important criterion is that your lawyer has actually been to trial and knows what he or she is doing in a courtroom. If you insist on a lawyer that rides, give me a call and I will refer you to attorneys that ride and that have actually tried and won cases. Your lawyer may race bicycles or commute to work every day, but if he is afraid to try cases, insurance companies will know it and simply will not pay you adequately for your injury. Only by trying cases are lawyers able to get insurance companies to pay what their clients deserve.


I have tried over 100 jury trials and approximately one third of my practice involves cyclists. There are specific laws pertaining to bicycles in Oregon that most cyclists and many lawyers are not aware of. For instance, for purposes of personal injury protection on your auto insurance a cyclist is considered a pedestrian. Why does that matter? Because if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian your own auto insurance policy will pay for your medical expenses until there is a determination of liability in the accident. I have had people come to me after they refuse medical treatment because they do not have health insurance and do not understand that their own auto insurance will pay at least the first $15,000 in medical expenses whether they are in a car, on a bike or on foot. In those cases I was able to get them covered by their insurance until the negligent driver’s insurance accepted liability and paid the cyclists.


If you or someone you know was involved in a bicycle accident, it is imperative that you immediately contact The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. to begin protecting your rights.


Call 503-546-0461 or email Josh at jpl@pdxinjury.com to schedule a free consultation regarding your case. I handle all bicycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that I do not get paid unless you get paid.


Common bicycle accident related injuries: Road rash, Traumatic brain injury, concussion, scarring, broken bones / fractures, separated shoulder, pneumothorax, spinal cord injury, vision and hearing impairment.


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