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What Are Your Legal Rights in An Ohio Bicycle vs Car Accident?

bicycle passes through pedestrian strips

As a cyclist, you’ve probably experienced some of these harrowing but all-too-common events: narrowly avoiding being “doored” by parked cars, encountering aggressive drivers, or cars cutting into your path without yielding.

While cities across Ohio have launched initiatives aimed at improving infrastructure and raising awareness about bike safety, accidents still occur. In Cleveland alone, 550 cyclists and pedestrians were hit by cars in 2023

Whether you’ve been in a bicycle accident recently or are simply preparing for the possibility, it’s important to understand your legal rights and protections in an Ohio bicycle vs car accident. Here are some must-knows. 

The Basics of Bicycle Law in Ohio

Ohio law treats bicycles as vehicles, which means that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers. In other words, cyclists can use the roads rightfully and are expected to obey traffic laws, including signaling turns, obeying traffic lights, and riding with the flow of traffic.

Learn more about the common causes of bicycle accidents in Ohio

Bicycle vs Car Accident: Your Legal Rights


If you’re injured in a bicycle accident caused by a driver’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages, including: 

  • Medical expenses: Recovering from a bike vs car accident can be long and painful. The costs can include immediate needs like ambulance rides, emergency room care, and hospital stays, as well as ongoing expenses such as surgeries, medications, and physical therapy sessions. 
  • Lost wages: Being injured might mean time away from work, which can be stressful if you’re worried about your financial stability. You have the right to claim compensation for the income you lost during your recovery. If you’re unable to return to your previous employment or work in the same capacity, you may also be compensated for future lost earnings. 
  • Property damage: Your bicycle and any personal belongings damaged in the accident represent more than just financial loss—they can also signify a loss of independence and mobility. You can seek compensation for repairing or replacing your bike and any other damaged items, such as your helmet, clothing, or smartphone. 
  • Pain and suffering: This includes the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve endured because of the accident. It’s not just about the immediate pain but also the ongoing discomfort and the way the injuries have impacted your day-to-day life, your mental health, and your ability to enjoy previously cherished activities, like biking. 

Determining Liability

Determining who is at fault is a major aspect of any accident claim. In Ohio, this involves establishing that the other party—the driver—acted negligently or violated a traffic law, directly causing your injuries. For example, did the driver fail to yield the right of way? Were they texting and driving

Keep in mind that Ohio follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if you are found partially responsible for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any compensation from the other parties involved.

Statute of Limitations

In Ohio, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file your claim within this period, you lose your right to seek compensation through the courts—that’s why it’s so important to reach out to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer familiar with bicycle vs. car accidents. 

Assert Your Rights With Slater & Zurz

Cyclists often face unique challenges in accident claims. There’s a common bias that can influence how witnesses, insurance adjusters, and even law enforcement view the actions of a cyclist in an accident. It’s important to have strong legal representation to ensure your side of the story is accurately presented, and your rights are vigorously defended.

Were you or a loved one involved in a bicycle vs car accident? There’s no need to navigate this confusing time on your own. Contact Slater & Zurz’s bicycle accident lawyers at 330-762-0700 today for a free consultation.