Pedestrian accidents involving people on bikes are an all too common scenario in western Pennsylvania. People who are hit while riding their bikes have a good chance of getting seriously injured or even killed because of the lack of protection they have. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, please call the pedestrian accidents lawyers at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. for a free consultation at 800-777-4081.
But what happens when the bicycle being ridden out in public isn't what police consider "street legal?" Pedestrian accidents involving bicyclists happen fairly often and those who are at fault is usually pretty clear cut. But when the accident involves someone who is driving a motorized bicycle that may or may not be a "street legal" vehicle, it begs questions about who is at fault.
The bikes in question are put together with a motor attached. The motor generally comes from a lawnmower engine. They're sort of a cross between a moped and a small dirt bike. Police are generally pretty lenient about people riding around on them, especially in rural parts of the state, but when riders fail to obey traffic signals, the results can be dangerous and deadly.
This past Tuesday, one of these motorized bicycle riders was driving the wrong way down a one-way street when he drove through an intersection without following traffic laws and was struck by another vehicle. The twenty-year-old man on the bike slammed into a car and hit the windshield. Witnesses say the man on the bike tried to get up and run, but that they kept him there as he went into shock. He was taken to a local hospital, treated for a broken leg, and released; but he has since been charged with a traffic violation.
The accident happened shortly before noon on Tuesday at the intersection of East Sixth Street and Ash Street in Erie. Erie police say that the bikes are indeed legal, but that if riders are going to share the road with other drivers, they must follow traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs and red lights and riding on the correct side of the road.
The laws guiding these types of vehicles are specific, but many pedestrians question how well those laws are enforced. In order to operate one of these homemade motor-scooters, the person must have a Class C driver's license, have the bike registered as a moped, and have a moped license plate. They must also have the vehicle insured.
Source: WICU, "Motorized Bicyclist Cited In Crash…Are These Bikes Legal?" 11 June 2014