Brown & Szaller’s lead experienced personal injury attorney Kenneth J. Knabe is also an avid cyclist who has devoted his legal career to championing the rights of fellow cyclists injured or killed by careless drivers. If you, or someone you love, has been injured by a driver while riding a bike - contact attorney Knabe at Brown & Szaller today.
Attorney Kenneth Knabe is an avid cyclist and personal injury lawyer who lectures and publishes articles on bicycle and tort (injury) law. Ken is past president of the Cleveland Academy of Trial Lawyers and an Ohio Super Lawyer with 35 years of trial experience. He supports and sponsors many bike organizations and is co-author of the bike and law section for bikecleveland.org. If you are a cyclist hit by a careless motorist, Ken knows the law, how to protect your interests and obtain the compensation you deserve. He takes it personally when another cyclist is hit by a careless driver. He will be in your corner from start to finish. If you are in a bike accident, don't settle for less than the highest rated experienced personal injury bike lawyer!
Contact Ken today:
Attorney Kenneth Knabe of Brown and Szaller LPA. is a major sponsor of the Spin-Litzler and Case Western Reserve University 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 bike law section for bikecleveland.org - a grass roots bicycle organization promoting bicycle access, education and rights. He also is a member of many cycling clubs, including the Lake Erie Wheelers, the Akron Bicycle Club, Ohio City Bike Co-Op and Bike Friendly Lakewood.
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. "
Our help center provides important information for cyclists regarding road safety, including rights and responsibilities and what to do if you are a victim of a bicycle accident caused by a careless driver.
What is the history of bicycling 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.
Cycling is making a big comeback in Cleveland, the USA and internationally. Whether you are a casual or an avid cyclist, please read on since knowledge of Ohio bicycle law promotes power and safety!
How do most car vs. bicycle accidents happen ?
Most bicycle crashes occur when a driver:
Why do drivers hit bicyclists?
Drivers hit cyclists for the following reasons:
What should I do when I am in a bicycle accident?
If you are a cyclist who is hit by a car, follow these twelve commandments:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.