Cyclists on the road.

Bicycling is a much-loved activity for many Nebraskan residents. It’s a great way to exercise, spend time with family, or commute to work.

Sadly, year after year, there are far too many bicycle accidents involving other vehicles. It is important to recognize that both bicyclists and drivers share responsibility for roadway safety. Much can be done by both parties to mitigate the risk of a serious accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to someone else’s negligence or careless act, you may be able to pursue compensation for what you have gone through. The Nebraska personal injury lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop are adept at handling such claims.

Learn what our bicycle injury lawyers can do for you. Call us today at (402) 241-5020 or complete our online form for a free case review.

How Bicyclists and Motorists Can Safely Share the Road

Under Nebraska state law, bicyclists essentially have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers – with few exceptions. When a rider obeys the traffic laws, his or her actions are predictable to others on the road, improving the safety of everyone on the streets and highways.

By being cautious and attentive, drivers and riders can work together to promote a safe environment on Nebraska roadways.

The driver’s responsibility on the road

Safety precautions do not fall solely with the cyclist. Motor vehicle drivers need to respect a bicycle rider’s space and share the road.

When driving alongside bicyclists, motorists are expected to take certain actions and precautions. They should:

  • Give bike riders room. Allow sufficient space between your vehicle and the rider. Always pass with caution, and only when you can move into another lane to do so. 
  • Yield to bicyclists as you would to other drivers. By properly yielding to an oncoming cyclist and not underestimating his or her speed, you will avoid cutting the rider off when turning at an intersection or into a driveway.
  • Look for bicyclists when turning right on red. Before turning, stop completely and look to the right and behind to avoid hitting an approaching cyclist. 
  • Obey the speed limit. Reduce your speed when necessary and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a bicyclist. 
  • Continuously check your surroundings for bicyclists. Be aware of cyclists in parking lots, at stop signs, and when opening your door after parking on the side of the road.
  • Stay out of the bicycle lane. The bike lane is for cyclists only and is in place to keep them safe. Never pause or park in this lane, and refrain from using it to make a right turn.

By taking such precautions, Nebraska drivers can do their part to promote roadway safety and safe biking conditions in their communities.

The bicyclist’s responsibility on the road

When riding a bicycle in Nebraska, it is important to know and obey the rules of the road. This will help you stay safe and prevent accidents.

Safe habits and rules for bicycle riders include:

  • Staying in the bicycle lane: This lane is for your protection. If there is no bike lane, ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible.
  • Remaining alert at all times: Distracted riding can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. Do not use headphones or weave in and out of traffic. Be aware of sidewalks or bike lanes that end suddenly.
  • Using hand signals and yielding to others: When entering or leaving the roadway, a bicyclist should clearly signal his or her intentions. Yield the right-of-way to all other vehicles.
  • Avoiding cutting off oncoming vehicles: Beware of oncoming vehicles, and never ride into the path of a car that will not have time to stop.
  • Yielding to pedestrians: If you ride on a sidewalk or crosswalk, you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
  • Riding in the same direction as traffic: By cycling with the flow of traffic, drivers will be more likely to see you and anticipate your movements.
  • Slowing down when approaching intersections and driveways: Look for cars backing out of driveways or turning. Be prepared to stop if necessary.

Remember that bicyclists have rights and responsibilities unique to themselves. Riders often have the right to share a busy roadway with motorists. However, it is wise to be sensible about your routes and movements, always considering your own safety and that of your community.

Further Precautions Nebraska Bicyclists Can Take to Promote Road Safety

When heading out, cyclists can take several additional steps to ensure their safety when sharing the road with other vehicles.

Basic safety precautions include:

  • Riding a bike that is the correct size: If your bicycle is too big for you, it may be difficult to control.
  • Make sure your bike has proper lights and reflectors: When riding at night, you are required to have a front light visible from 500 feet and a red reflector on the rear. 
  • Making sure your brakes work properly: Having good brakes is essential for preventing bicycle accidents.
  • Wearing protective equipment: While Nebraska has no state law requiring helmets, some cities and municipalities have their own ordinances. Nonetheless, bicycle helmets, bright clothing, and reflective gear protect you and make you more visible to others while riding.
  • Keeping your hands on the handlebars: Unless signaling, it is wise to keep both hands on the handlebars. This helps you stay in control and take defensive action if necessary.
  • Planning your route in advance: When possible, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. If there is an option to ride on a bike path separate from the main roadway, take it.
  • Improving your bike riding skills: Safely riding a bicycle in traffic requires practice and experience. Prepare for riding alongside vehicles by first riding in a safe environment that is not congested. You may begin by riding in a park, along a path, or in an empty parking lot.

Riding safely and responsibly can go a long way in preventing serious bicycle crashes, as well as pedestrian accidents. Always be attentive to your surroundings and work to ensure that other drivers can see you.

Reach Out to Nebraska Bicycle Accident Lawyers for Advice

Even after taking multiple precautions, vehicle accidents involving cyclists will still happen. A serious crash may leave you hurt physically, emotionally shaken, and financially unstable. If this is your situation, you deserve empathetic and knowledgeable legal advice.

The team of experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop are the advocates you need to hold those responsible accountable for your losses. With more than 233 years of combined experience behind us, our attorneys have the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to handle your case.

After a serious bike injury, you may be overwhelmed by the idea of pursuing a claim or taking legal action. At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, we can do the legal legwork for you so that you can focus on your recovery. We understand that your future well-being is at stake. Our goal is to help each and every client regain his or her quality of life after the accident.

Please don’t wait. Learn what your legal options are today. Call us at (402) 241-5020 or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation. A member of our legal team is standing by to take your call.

by Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop
Last updated on - Originally published on

Posted in: Bicycle Accidents