Bike Accidents

Ken takes it personally when a fellow cyclist is needlessly injured!

Greater Cleveland's Bike Advocate Attorney champions recovery for bicyclists injured in car vs bike accidents caused by unsafe drivers.

- -

Call Ken now at 216 228 7200 or click

Bike Attorney Kenneth Knabe: Experience, Dedication & Results Matter!

Attorney Kenneth Knabe is Greater Cleveland's Bicycle Advocate Attorney. He is an avid cyclist who now devotes his legal career to representing and championing recovery for cyclists injured or killed by careless drivers in car vs bike accidents. Ken is the former president of the Cleveland Academy of Trial Lawyers, an Ohio Super & National Top 100 Lawyer with over 35 years of trial experience. He lectures and publishes articles on bicycle and injury law. He also supports and sponsors many local bike organizations and race teams including Spin-Litzler and VeloFemme, a women's cycling & educational team. He is an author of the bikecleveland.org “BIKES AND THE LAW" section. He provides safety tips with a review of cyclist's rights at many local bike clubs, including the Lake Erie Wheelers, Heights Coalition, the Akron Bike Club, Bike Lakewood and Bike Euclid and others.

Ken knows personal injury law and bike law. He teaches bike accident law to Ohio Lawyers and has written many legal articles on cycling law and safety. He is a successful Trial Lawyer. An avid cyclist himself, he truly cares about cyclists and takes it personally when a fellow cyclist is hit by a careless driver. If you are in a bike accident, don't settle for less than a True Bike Lawyer: an experienced personal injury lawyer with the highest peer and top 100 National Attorney rating who knows the law and bicycles and who actually supports and interacts with the bike community. He will personally handle your entire bike accident case from start to finish and can actually take your case to trial! No junior or inexperienced lawyer will ever handle any part of your important bike accident injury claim. Experience, dedication & results matter! Don't be fooled by a personal injury lawyer with a bike landing page who has never ridden a bike, knows nothing about cycling and has never given a dime to support cyclists. Go with a True Bike Lawyer. Call Ken at 216 228 7200!


Contact Ken today:

Phone: 216-228-7200

Email: knabe@brownandszaller.com

We proudly sponsor several race teams and bicycle organizations.

Attorney Kenneth Knabe of Knabe, Brown & Szaller is a co-sponsor of the Spin-Litzler road race teams, as well as VeloFemme, a women's organization dedicated to promoting women’s cycling and education. He is co-author of the "BIKES AND THE LAW" section for bikecleveland.org - a grass roots bicycle organization promoting bicycle access, education and rights. He also speaks about safety and cyclists' rights and responsibilities to many cycling clubs, including the Lake Erie Wheelers, the Akron Bicycle Club, Ohio City Bike Co-Op, Bike Friendly Lakewood, Bike Lakewood, Bike Euclid & Heights Coalition. He also provides the night ride advisory for NEOCycle.

Jackie Palmer, RN

" "I hired Ken Knabe to represent me when I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. We met several times. He was very thorough and up-to-date with all my doctors. I received an excellent settlement. Even my doctor was impressed by his preparation and knowledge of my injuries. Ken is honest, aggressive and a very good lawyer. I would highly recommend him."

See the firm's testimonial section for many other reviews by injured bicyclists successfully represented by Attorney Knabe. "

Bike Accident Help Center for bicyclists injured by careless drivers

Our Bike Accident Help Center provides important information for cyclists regarding road safety, including bike riders rights and responsibilities, and what to do if you are injured in a bike accident caused by a careless driver.

  • What is the history of bike accidents and the law?

    In the 1890s, the bicycle evolved to its modern form with the pneumatic tire and chain drive creating a bicycle boom. Cyclists then first asserted a legal right to use the road setting up the first battle between the cyclist, horses, horse drawn carriages and pedestrians. An 1887 NY State law established that bicycles are “carriages” entitled to the same rights and restrictions on the road as carriages.

    Same today! Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibility as automobiles except where the law specifies otherwise. The law requiring riding on the right edge of the Roadway dates back to necessity when the horse and cart took up the entire lane.

    New York City’s first bicycle/car accident occurred in 1896. The first bicycle/car accident death occurred in NY in 1899. (Note: First car accident occurred in Ohio in 1891.)

    The Good Roads Movement was started by cyclists in the 1880s and lead to our present day roads and highways.

    Today, bicycling is the fastest growing recreational sport in the country. Unfortunately, many cyclists are hit by cars in almost epidemic proportions.  50,000 accidents per year happen around the United States. The National Governors Highway Safety Association reports that bicyclist deaths increased 16% between 2010 and 2012.

  • What types of cyclists are on our roads?

    All kinds of cycling cultures exist in the greater Cleveland urban area: green revolution and sustainability cyclists; commuters, messengers, urban hip, social, racing and recreational. Bicycling is very popular in the Greater Cleveland area for a number of reasons: alternative transportation, social and physical benefits and the increasing bicycle lane proliferation and access. Cycling in our  urban area is seen as a positive quality of life enhancer! More reason for motorist’s to share the road.

    Biking is making a big comeback in the Greater Cleveland area, the USA and internationally. Whether you are a casual or an avid cyclist, knowledge of Ohio bike law promotes awareness and safety!

  • How do most car vs. bicycle accidents happen ?

    Most bicycle crashes occur when a driver:

    1. Turns left at an intersection into an oncoming cyclist;
    2. Turns right at an intersection and “hooks” a cyclist proceeding straight through the intersection;
    3. Fails to see a cyclist and hits the cyclist from behind;
    4. Fails to see the cyclist when pulling out from a stop sign, side street or parking lot; and
    5. Passes and sideswipes a cyclist by failing to allow a safe distance when passing. Cleveland has a three foot safe passing distance rule (Cleveland Ordinance §431.03). On April 13, 2015, House Bill 154 was reintroduced to require the three foot rule be passed as a state law. The bill has previously failed in the Legislature. Contact your state representative or senator to show your support.

    Lessons learned:

    1. Drivers should keep a much better look out for cyclists.
    2. Motorists should look THREE ways before proceeding from a stop sign, turning left or right on red. Look both ways for cars and scan for bicycles!
    3. Cyclists should do everything in their power to stay visible by wearing reflective and contrasting clothing. Also, cyclists must have a  rear red reflector, front white light and rear red light as required by Ohio Revised Code §4511.56 from dusk until dawn.

     

  • Why do drivers hit bicyclists?

    Drivers hit cyclists for the following reasons:

    1. They simply don’t see them to due any number of factors like not paying attention, age, poor eyesight, distraction or impairment. All cyclists should stay as visible as possible with front and rear lights/reflectors and  contrasting/reflective clothing
    2. Distracted drivers are those on their cell phones talking or e-mailing or texting. Ohio law prohibits texting or emailing while driving, subject to some exceptions. A minor with a temporary or probationary driver’s license is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving (ORC§§4511.204 & 4511.205). Many local Ordinances also prohibit or restrict texting, emailing and cell phone usage.  Cleveland Municipal Ordinance §433.09 Text Messaging While Driving, prohibits anyone from text messaging and emailing via a wireless handset.
    3. Impaired drivers are those that have been drinking or taking drugs in violation of Ohio Revised Code section §4511.19.
  • What should I do if I am in a bike accident?

    If you are a cyclist who is hit by a car, follow these twelve commandments:

    1. Remain calm;
    2. Get to safety out of the way of moving traffic!
    3. Call 911, if injured;
    4. Call the police, file a report and obtain the officer’s name and badge number. Record the information on your cell phone if you have no other means. Even if you do not feel hurt at the moment, when the adrenaline wears off, you may feel pain later, so follow through on the police report.
    5. Look for witnesses to corroborate driver error and obtain their full names and cell numbers. Make sure they wait and talk to the police.
    6. Obtain the full name, address, telephone number, license plate and insurance company name of the driver that hit you.
    7. Take cell phone photos of the plate of the car that hit you.
    8. Have someone photograph the crash scene and your position on the road when struck.
    9. Photograph any cuts, scrapes, bruises and bicycle damage.
    10. If you are seriously injured, contact your car insurance company and  make a claim for uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage if the driver hits and runs or has minimal or no insurance.
    11. Do not give the driver’s insurance company a statement until you have talked to an experience cyclist injury attorney.
    12. Do not plead guilty or waive any citations that the police may issue to you until you consult with experienced cyclist attorney.
  • What can one do to avoid getting hit by a car while riding a bicycle?

    A cyclist can help avoid getting hit by a car by following these ten rules:

    1. Ride in the direction of traffic (Ohio Revised Code §4511.25).
    2. Obey traffic rules of the road. A bicycle is defined as a vehicle under Ohio Law (Ohio Revised Code 4501.01 (A) and 4511.01(A)).
    3. Ride as if you were a motor vehicle (i.e. stop at stop signs, red lights and yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk). Cyclists who follow these two rules are in 75% less accidents.
    4. Stay visible by wearing contrasting and reflective clothing.
    5. At night, you must have a white light in front and a red in the back beginning an hour before sunrise and sunset (Ohio Revised Code §4511.56).
    6. Keep vigilant – avoid using headphones.
    7. Try to make eye contact with the driver to make sure the driver sees you before pulling out in front of you.
    8. Don’t hesitate to yell or use a bell to make your presence known.
    9. Ride to the right of the lane unless a dangerous or hazardous condition exists (Ohio Revised Code §4511.55 (A) & (C)).
    10. Don’t be afraid to take the entire lane when there is insufficient room in the lane for the driver to pass you safely.

     

     

     

  • When do cyclists have the right of way?

    Cyclists have the right of way or the ability to proceed uninterrupted when the cyclist follows these seven rules:

    1. Obeys the traffic rules applicable to vehicles;
    2. Obeys the traffic rules specifically for bicycles;
    3. Rides in the flow of traffic;
    4. Stops at a red light and proceeds on green;
    5. Stops at a stop sign and  proceeds in order;
    6. Uses hand signals (Ohio Revised Code §4511.40); and
    7. Rides to the right of the lane in the flow of traffic unless it is dangerous or unsafe due to a hazard (Ohio Revised Code §4511.55(A) & (C)).

    A cyclist does not have to stop at every intersection or street to make sure a driver won’t hit them. When the cyclist is moving in the direction of traffic and obeying the traffic laws, the driver must give the cyclist the right of way and yield to the cyclist. Even so, keep vigilant and always try to make eye contact with the driver.

  • Can a city require a cyclist to only ride on the sidewalk?

    No. Ohio prohibits local authorities from requiring cyclists to only ride on the sidewalk. Cyclists have a right to ride on the road unless its a Freeway. (Ohio Revised Code Section §4511.711 ). See also:

    • 4511.07(A)(8) … no such (local) regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the uniform rules of the road prescribed by this chapter (Ohio Revised Code)
    • 4511.07(A)(8) … no such (local) regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway [except freeways]
  • When can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk and what laws apply?

    Although Ohio law permits cyclists to ride on the sidewalks, many municipal codes limit that right. For example, Cleveland prohibits riding on the sidewalk in a business district. (Cleveland Ordinance § 473.09). A ‘business district” is defined in Cleveland Ordinance § 401.07

  • What are the bicycle hand signals and when should I use them?

    Cyclists’ turn signals are required under Ohio Revised Code §4511.40 as follows:

    • left turn – left arm extended to the left
    • right turn – hand and arm extended upward at elbow
    • stop – arm down to the rear

    A cyclist does not have to continuously signal. Once is often enough. You do not have to jeopardize your own safety and balance by continuously signaling.

  • Do bicyclits have to wear helmets?

    Although state law does not require helmets , many local city ordinances require minors to wear helmets. Very few cities in Ohio require adults to wear helmets.

    A bicyclist on the road should always wear a helmet for safety purpose. Two-thirds of bicyclists killed on the road were not wearing helmets!

    Ohio is presently considering a state law that all children under the age of 16 must wear helmets. See Senate  Bill 157.

  • How can I protect myself with insurance in case of a bike accident caused by a careless driver?

    Every cyclist who owns a car and has auto liability insurance, or is insured under an auto liability policy as a household/family member, should always insist on having uninsured motorist coverage (‘U’ Coverage). This covers you if you are hit on your bike by a careless driver who is uninsured or underinsured. Your U coverage should be at least $100,000.00. You have to ask your insurance agent or company specifically for U coverage, as there is no longer any requirement to automatically offer this coverage.

    If a cyclist is hit by a careless hit-and-run driver, U coverage will also apply if you have independent corroborative evidence, besides your word, that it happened. A witness would satisfy this evidence or it could be cumulative such as the police officer’s observations, bike damage with paint transfer, your statements made immediately following the crash, and medical records. A cyclist who is the unfortunate victim of one of the many hit-and-run accidents in the Cleveland area should always call the police and secure a witness name and contact info, if possible.

    Many cyclists ride with video cameras to document driver error and road rage.

  • Can I buy bike insurance seperately from my car insurance?

    Yes, you can insure your bicycle and yourself for theft, physical loss, damage, liability and some coverage when hit by an uninsured driver. Here is a link to an insurance backed company started by cyclists that I recommend:

    https://velosurance.com/

    If you have car insurance and elect  “U” (Uninsured/Under-insured) coverage and medical payments coverage, and also schedule your bike under your homeowners policy, you don’t need it.

    If you don’t own a car and are not a family member covered under an auto policy, this covers all the basics: up to $100,000.00 in liability coverage (e.g. you hit a pedestrian on your bicycle or another vehicle); medical payments coverage ( covers medical bills not covered by health insurance)  and physical contact insurance (acts as “U” coverage but only up to $25,000.00 which is inadequate if you are seriously injured by an uninsured driver. Coverage is provided if your bicycle is lost, stolen or damaged even if you are racing.

    No bicycle coverage for bicycle messengers though.

    Finally, no auto insurance covers an electric bike, so would be prudent to get this bicycle coverage if you ride one.

    Bottom line if you cycle on the road and own a car, please elect for “U” coverage Uninsured/Under-insured  coverage as high as you can afford. If you have no car and are not an insured under a household or family policy, it is probably wise to get bicycle coverage.”

  • What about the damage to my bicycle and equipment such as my helmet, jersey and shoes?

    Bicycles today can run from $50.00 to $15,000.00. You deserve full compensation for the reasonable value of your bicycle and its many components. Schedule your bicycle on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

    If your bike is damaged in an accident with a careless driver, we usually start at the bike shop of purchase and bring in the damaged item(s) or a photograph of it/them. Even if the bicycle or some components were purchased on the internet, a reputable bicycle shop can usually provide estimates for all the damage.

    Also, the damaged bicycle frame, components, cycling computer, ripped handlebar tape, ripped seat, torn clothes, scuffed bicycle shoes, and cracked, bloodied or broken helmet are evidence that corroborate the serious impact and your physical injuries.

  • What are my personal injury damages from a bicycle accident caused by an at-fault driver?

    You can recover for your past and future “specials”, i.e. medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, gas mileage to and from your medical providers; physical pain for each one of your injuries; mental suffering and loss of basic and pleasurable activities.

    Medical treatment should occur soon and stay consistent throughout the process. Attorney Knabe will help you document your physical pain, mental suffering, activity loss, medical expenses and lost wages.

    Do you have a concussion? A brain injury is serious and needs to be handled with care. Attorney Knabe has handled several concussion syndrome cases which takes significant time to resolve. Many times, treatment includes a neurological consult and speech, physical, occupational and psychological therapy. These therapies are often needed to recover from the devastating headaches and memory loss.

Top