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What are my insurance rights if I get hit while riding my bicycle?

December 18, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

I recently received a question on my blog about what insurance rights and legal protections does a bicyclist have if hit by a car in Michigan. It’s a good question and raises a lot of issues, especially since people who ride bikes are so vulnerable, and at the mercy of drivers who often look at people riding bikes in streets as annoyances. This is assuming car drivers even see someone on a bike, which often they don’t. Thus, the reason so many bicyclists are hit by cars every year.

Hope my answer helps.

Q. Can someone who does not own a vehicle buy No-Fault insurance to cover themselves while riding a bicycle or walking for both liability to others and injuries they could suffer in a bike-car accident? I’m wondering because many bicycle car accidents seem to be hit and run.

A. Unfortunately, only the owners and/or registrants of cars or trucks registered in Michigan can purchase No Fault insurance.

However, the good news here is that even though a pedestrian or bicyclist is not covered by their own personal No Fault auto insurance policy (because they do not own a car), this does not preclude a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a car accident from receiving No Fault insurance benefits. As I note in my blog post, “Who pays No Fault benefits for pedestrians and bicyclists?,” the injured pedestrian or bicyclist may be able to collect No Fault benefits under a spouse or resident relative’s policy or if that fails, then they can still collect no fault insurance under the policy of the owner, registrant or operator of the car involved in the crash.

Be careful here, because many lawyers, even personal injury lawyers, do not understand the priorities under the No Fault Law in Michigan, so it may be helpful to speak to an attorney who is familiar with the law and who has experience helping people injured in bike-car accidents.

Even in a “hit-and-run” accident situation, an injured pedestrian or bicyclist with no other source of No Fault coverage can collect No Fault PIP benefits by filing an application with the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility in care of the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility. For more info, take a look at my blog post, “Assigned Claims Facility now called the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF).”

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