Bicycle Accident Liability: What It Is and How It Affects Compensation

Bicycles can be a convenient and environmentally-friendly way to get around while getting some exercise! However, they also leave you vulnerable on the road as you ride beside large motor vehicles. Unfortunately, accidents happen.

Bicycle accidents in bustling neighborhoods are all too common. Bicycle accidents can be traumatic events, especially if you suffered substantial injuries.

Victims of bicycle accidents deserve compensation, which requires established liability on the other party.

 We visited the personal injury site of, and we compiled some information to create this guide that will help you understand liability in a bicycle accident so you get the compensation you deserve.

What Is Liability?

The legal definition of liability is the responsibility for an accident. The legal liability in an accident applies to civil and criminal law cases. The person the liability falls on will have to answer for the crime and pay any associated compensation or fines. The individual making a claim must establish or prove liability.

How Is Liability Determined In a Bicycle Accident?

In a bicycle accident, it is typically the cyclist making a claim and seeking to put the liability on the motorist who hit them.

There are other possible scenarios, like a bicycle accident where the cyclist injured a pedestrian or damaged property. But for the sake of this article, we will be focusing on accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles.

The cyclist tries to prove the driver was negligent, making them liable for the accident and any injuries or financial expenses caused by the incident. So why is the driver always responsible for a bicycle accident?

When an individual gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, they must act with a certain level of care for others, as are cyclists, but it’s more serious when a motor vehicle is involved.

Ways to prove negligence and establish liability include:

  • If an involved party was going the wrong way down a one-way street
  • If an involved party did not obey traffic laws
  • If an involved party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Exercised reasonable care

The plaintiff must have suffered injuries or property/financial damages to establish liability. An act of negligence must be directly connected to the accident and result in damages for the victim.

Types of Liability In a Bicycle Accident

Below are two types of liability to understand.

First Party

First-party liability is when the driver or individual who caused the accident is held liable. In these situations, the plaintiff must prove five things:

  • The defendant had a duty to act with care and ensure the victim’s safety.
  • The defendant violated this duty.
  • The accident would not have happened if it weren’t for the defendant’s actions and negligence.
  • The negligence led to the victim’s injuries or damages.
  • The victim suffered damages or injuries as a direct result of the accident.

Usually, proving these five elements in a bicycle accident case entails proof of the violation, distinct causation, and evidence of damages.


Third-party liability is a bit more complicated.  In certain accidents, someone other than the driver, cyclist, or anyone directly involved in the accident may be responsible. Usually, the third-party responsible is the employer of the driver.

Below are the two situations where a third party can be liable for damages that occurred from the accident:

Negligent Entrustment: A driver’s employer may be liable if they neglect to monitor and supervise their employee correctly.

Respondeat Superior: The driver acted within their employment terms, which hold the employer responsible. This means the driver is contractually protected from liability. 

Bottom Line: How Liability Plays Into Your Compensation

When trying to get compensation for your damages, liability is everything. Without established liability, you may not receive the compensation you deserve. The presence of a duty of care paired with a traffic violation or negligence is the key to receiving appropriate compensation.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand liability and how to prove it so you can be duly compensated.


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Written by Virily Editor

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