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New law provides additional protections for cyclists

For bicyclists, the decision to get out on the roadway with other motor vehicles can be a nerve-racking one. Because of the vulnerability of bike riders on the roadway, it is obvious who is going to suffer more injury in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Not only that, but cyclists can't always count other motorists to respect their right to be on the road. In some cases, cyclists are met with impatience and aggressions by motorists who don't want to share the road.

A new law that went into effect last month has been helpful in giving cyclists extra protection on the roadway. Under the new law, vehicles are required to give cyclists a three-foot cushion when passing them on the roadway. Cyclists are also no longer required to use a side path as an alternative to the road when such a path is available. 

The new law does impose some safety restrictions on cyclists. For instance, groups of cyclists are not allowed to ride more than two-by-two unless they are on paths or roadways exclusively devoted to bicycle use.

At the end of the day, both motorists and bicyclists have rights and responsibilities on the road. For bicyclists, it is important to understand that they have the duty to follow the rules of the road the same way motorists do. For motorists, it is important to understand the cyclists have the same right to use the road as they do.

Bicyclists who have been harmed by a careless or negligent motorist, of course, have the right to pursue damages in personal injury litigation. Pursuing such litigation is not necessarily easy, though, and it pays to have a good advocate. 

Source: Wetzel Chronicle, “New West Virginia Bike Law Gives Cyclists Cushion,” Bruce Crawford, June 25, 2014. 

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