Question – Leaving the scene of an accident

I’m curious about this: In an injury accident involving two cyclists, with one seriously injured and the other not, is it illegal for the uninjured cyclist to leave the scene? For motor vehicle drivers the law is pretty clear that it is illegal. Aren’t bicycles considered vehicles and the operator a driver so that law would also apply to cyclists?

1 Reply

KenH, February 1, 2018 at 8:57 am

Morally I think it is clear that you need to stay until the injured cyclist receives medical help and the police have a chance to talk to you. The exception would be if the injury is relatively minor, you exchange information, and the other cyclist tells you it is okay for you to leave.

Legally the correct answer probably varies by state and local cyclists and law enforcement may not fully understand how and if motor vehicle law applies to cyclists in this occasion. There could be general laws that cover the case however since people to injure others in accidents of all kinds every day.

I was stunned to find out that last year the state of Illinois had passed a law declaring that cyclists using the roads were considered motor vehicle operators with all the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the same. I thought that had been true all along. The reason for the passage of this law was even more stunning when I dug into it. Yes, when it comes to obeying the rules of the road we had always been considered the same as motor vehicle operators. But when it came to those features of the law that govern rights, duties, and responsibilities in the event of a road accident the matter was open to interpretation. Most Illinois judges held that they applied to cyclists and motorists equally. A few judges however had let motorists off the hook in accidents with bicycles because a bicycle is not a motor vehicle and cyclists therefore could not claim the protections the law afforded to motor vehicle operators. Thankfully that loophole has now been slammed shut but this illustrates how complex the law is.


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