What to do if I was riding my bike and the woman in front of me came to a rather quick stop and I didn’t hit her directly but my bicycle did scratch up the rear passenger side of her car?

There was no damage to my bike and no injuries to me but the woman wants me to cover the damages to her car. Am I responsible for these damages?

Asked on October 3, 2015 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you would most likely be liable or financially responsible for the damage you did the scratches, and if she were to sue you, she'd most likely win.
1 The rear vehicle and a bike is a vehicle is held resonsible to maintain a safe following distance, so you can stop or swerve in time to avoid an accident. There is a presumption that the rear vehicle was at fault.
2 A bike, being much lighter, can stop faster than a car so if she slammed on brakes, you should hae been able to stop behind her without hitting her. Factually, if you could not come to a full stop in time, you were almost certainly either too close or were not being sufficiently attentive and reaching as quickly as you ought.


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