August 7, 2013
Indiana, like most states, has its own set of laws that apply to the use of bicycles within the State’s boundaries. Indiana’s bicycle laws are utilized as an attempt to ensure public safety for all those on the road: bikers, pedestrians, and automobiles alike. For that reason, Indiana has adopted a statute that requires anyone on a bicycle to have a bicycle bell installed on his or her bicycle. Specifically, Indiana Code § 9-21-11-8 provides, “A person may not ride a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred (100) feet.”
Many bicyclists, even veteran ones, are not aware of the requirement to make sure their bicycle has a bell or other device. As you might imagine, the purpose of the Indiana legislature requiring the use of a bicycle bell is to promote public safety. Specifically, bicycle bells are useful in situations where you are trying to pass another cyclist or pedestrian or to give warning to a passer-by that you are approaching. Without the use of an audible device like a bell, the person you are attempting to pass may make a sudden movement or lane change at the same time you are attempting to pass them, which can lead to a bicycle collision with potentially serious injuries as a result.
Indiana Code § 9-21-11-8 goes on to also provide that “A bicycle may not be equipped with and a person may not use upon a bicycle a siren or whistle.” Clearly, there are safety hazards that are associated with both sirens and whistles. Sirens can be so loud that they may cause another biker to become startled and make a sudden movement, which could result in a bicycle crash. Whistles would necessitate a bicyclist to use his or her hands to lift the whistle to his or her mouth, which is a clear distraction hazard. Our bicycle accident lawyers recommend you simply purchase a small bell that will easily attach to your handlebars, as this will ensure a safe and law-abiding ride.
So, what is the consequence of riding a bicycle without a bell or other audible device? Other than jeopardizing your safety and the safety of other cyclists, if a law enforcement officer were to notice, you would commit a Class C infraction, which would result in a monetary fine. Additionally, if you were to be involved in a bicycle accident in Indiana without a bell or other audible device, and it was determined that this was a possible factor in causing the accident, you and your lawyer may find it difficult to prove liability on the part of the at-fault driver, cyclist, or pedestrian. This does not mean you do not have a case against the at-fault and/or his automobile insurance company, but it may have an effect on the distribution of liability since Indiana is a modified comparative fault state.
Caress Law Group’s Indiana Bicycle Lawyers want to make sure that you are safe and also protected when it comes to legal representation should you be involved in an Indiana bicycle accident. For the reason, we recommend you make sure your bicycle is equipped with a bell as required by Indiana law. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle crash, you want to speak with an attorney who specializes in bicycle litigation in Indiana. We devote a portion of our practice to assisting victims of bicycle accidents and have over 20 years of handling such cases. We are happy to help by providing a free, easy, and informal consultation, just give us a call at 317-255-5400 or submit an online inquiry by clicking here. We look forward to hearing from you!