March 28, 2022 | Ohio Law
Hitting a bike rider with your car in Dayton can be terrifying for you and catastrophic for the bicyclist. Car accidents involving cyclists often result in traumatic injuries for the bike rider. Knowing what to do after you hit a bike rider with your car can help you protect your legal options to defend yourself against civil and criminal charges.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is a Crime
Do not ever leave the scene of a bicycle accident. Ohio Revised Statute §4549.02 requires you to stop at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.
You must provide the following information to the police and the cyclist:
- Name and address
- Insurance information
- License plate number
- Name of the vehicle’s owner, if you’re not the owner
Fleeing the scene of a bicycle accident could result in criminal penalties for a hit-and-run conviction. A hit and run conviction with no injuries can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail. In addition, you could lose your driver’s license for up to three years.
If you leave the scene of an accident that caused serious injury, the maximum fine increases to $2,500 with up to one year in prison. Causing the death of a bicyclist and fleeing the accident scene could result in a third-degree felony charge. You could be fined up to $10,000 and spend up to five years in prison for a conviction.
A motorist could be charged with other criminal offenses related to a bicycle accident. For example, if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they could face one or more DUI/OVI charges.
You may also be charged with vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, or vehicular assault. You could be ordered to pay fines, serve time in jail, and lose your driving privileges.
Reckless driving offenses (“operation in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”) can result in fines and jail time. It can also result in four points against your Ohio driver’s license.
Even if the police officers at the accident scene do not charge you with a criminal offense, it doesn’t mean you will not be charged later. Therefore, it is always wise to consult with a Dayton criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options after a bicycle accident.
Steps to Take After Hitting a Bicyclist in Dayton, OH
If you hit someone riding a bicycle in Dayton, call 911 immediately to report the accident. Enlist help from bystanders and provide assistance to the injured rider until emergency responders arrive. If you are injured, you also need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries.
While waiting for the police officers to arrive, take pictures of the accident scene and ask the eyewitnesses for their names and contact information. When the police officers arrive, provide as much information as possible about how the accident occurred. However, you do not need to admit fault to tell the officer what happened.
Civil Consequences of a Bicycle Accident
Drivers have a duty to take reasonable care to avoid hitting a bike rider. However, bike riders also have a duty of care to avoid causing accidents with motor vehicles.
Many of the traffic laws that apply to motorists also apply to bicyclists. Bicycles are considered vehicles under Ohio law. Therefore, bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motorists unless a specific bike-specific law states otherwise.
Therefore, a bicyclist could be at fault for the cause of a bicycle accident. If so, you might not be liable for civil damages in a personal injury lawsuit, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Contact an Attorney if You Hit a Bike Rider With Your Car in Dayton, OH
If you hit a bicyclist with your car in Dayton, Ohio, the best way to preserve your legal rights is to contact an attorney. If you’re facing criminal charges associated with hitting the bike rider, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that they can start working on your defense. You could be facing jail time and hefty fines. Having an attorney in your corner will help you mitigate your penalties and get you the best possible outcome.