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Who is at fault when cars and bikes crash?

With their larger size and powerful motors, it's easy to assume that cars cause more accidents with bikes than the other way around. Some studies do indicate that that's true, such as one out of Hawaii that said cyclists only caused 16.5 percent of the crashes, with drivers causing the other 83.5 percent.

However, who is at fault may depend a bit on where you are. For instance, a report out of Washington D.C. once claimed that cyclists actually caused more accidents than drivers. It is worth noting that biking and driving are far different in a city like D.C. than on the tropical Hawaiian islands.

In many studies, though, things are much closer to an even split. One man in Arizona looked just at fatal crashes and determined that drivers caused 56 percent of the wrecks, while cyclists caused the other 44 percent. He also found that the most common accident happened when a car came up behind a bike and ran into it, though it is technically possible for either party to be at fault in that situation.

Another study done by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety put things even closer, blaming cyclists in 49 percent of the accidents and drivers in 51 percent. They found that most wrecks happened when someone who was supposed to give the other party the right of way failed to do so.

This gives you a good sample of accidents all over the country, and it does show that cars are generally responsible for more crashes than bikes, even when it's close. If you've been injured in such an accident, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: NPR, "When Bikes And Cars Collide, Who's More Likely To Be At Fault?," Eliza Barclay, accessed Dec. 13, 2016

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