Missouri Bicycle Accident Laws & Claim Information

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

Abigail Walquist, Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident with another vehicle, you may be eligible to recover compensation if the driver was negligent. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for most bike-accident lawsuits is 5 years which means you have 5 years from the date of your bike accident to file a lawsuit or your lawsuit will be forever barred.

How is Fault Determined in a Bicycle Accident?


To recover damages for a bike accident, Missouri law requires us to prove that the other party acted negligently. To prove this, you must show:

  1. The driver owed you a duty of care;
  2. The driver breached their duty;
  3. The driver caused the collision (or most of it); and
  4. Due to the collision, you suffered financial, physical and/or emotional losses.

In Missouri, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with the “highest degree of care,” i.e., they must drive in a “careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person…” Thus, to prove that a driver breached their duty, the bicyclist must show that the driver failed to exercise the highest degree of care, for example, disobeying traffic lights and/or signs or texting while driving. Actions like these may constitute a breach of their duty. Further, the bicyclist must be injured as a result of the driver’s breach. It is not enough that the driver failed to exercise the highest degree of care. Rather, the bicyclist must prove that the failure caused the accident, resulting in injuries.

Poor Road Conditions

In some cases, the collision may be caused by other factors such as poor road conditions. Municipalities have a responsibility to ensure the streets, bike paths, and walkways are passable and safe for those traveling through. When a defective or poorly maintained road increases the risks of an accident, government entities may be held accountable for their negligence. Poor road conditions most likely to cause damage to your bike include:

  • Potholes
  • Missing barriers and guardrails
  •  Shoulder drop-offs
  • Poorly maintained ice and snow
  •  Poor road design
  • Wheel ruts
  • Unsafe construction zones

Defective Bike Parts

In other situations, bicycle accidents may be caused by defects or faults with the bike parts or the bike’s design. If your bicycle accident was due to a defective product, the manufacturer, distributors, and retailers may be held responsible for the injuries and harm their defective or dangerous products have caused. Both bicycle and motor vehicle manufacturers are required to design and manufacture safe products. If a safety hazard arises, recalls must be issued, and the failure to do so may result in liability upon the manufacturers.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is used to calculate the amount of compensation a person may receive for damages caused by an accidental injury. If a person has any responsibility for causing the accident that resulted in the injury, any compensation owed to the victim is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to that person for causing the accident.

For example, a bicyclist is injured in a traffic collision with a car. After a trial, the jury determines that the driver of the car is 80 percent at fault for causing the collision and the bicyclist is 20 percent at fault. If the bicyclist’s damages total $100,000, the maximum amount the bicyclist may receive for the injury claim is $80,000 (total damages less 20 percent assigned fault).

Missouri Bicycle Laws

In Missouri, there is a common misconception that bicyclists do not share the same rights to the roadways as motorists. However, traffic laws followed by a vehicle must also be followed by a bicyclist. Bicyclists must stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians, use a turn or hand signal to indicate turning, and ride on the right-hand side of the road and in the same direction the vehicles are required to drive. Further, bicyclists must refrain from riding on the sidewalk and bike lanes must not be obstructed by any parked motor vehicle or any stationary object. While bicycles and vehicles generally share the same rights on the roadway, there are certain situations where the rules differ. For example, bicyclists are not permitted to travel on interstate highways and specific areas designated as prohibited by local law.

When it comes to bicycle equipment laws, Missouri requires lights and reflectors to be used from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Additionally, the front-facing lamp must emit a white light that is visible from 500 feet and a rear-facing lamp visible from 600 feet (no stipulation on color).

Lastly, it is important to remember that while Missouri has no statewide law requiring bicyclists to wear a helmet, most cities and counties within Missouri require them.

Insurance Coverage for Bicycle Accidents

Since Missouri is an at-fault state for bike accidents, auto liability coverage only pays if the driver was negligent or at-fault. Thus, if you are hit by a car, the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage may pay for the majority of your medical expenses and losses incurred and the cost to repair or replace the bike. However, if these expenses exceed the policy limits, you may have to take legal action to receive compensation for your medical care and related costs. In some cases, the cyclist’s car insurance may also be used to cover expenses.

Recovering Compensation After a Bicycle Accident

If you can successfully hold a negligent car driver responsible for your bicycle accident, you could potentially recover a range of compensation depending on the severity and permanence of your injuries. The most common compensation recovered from bicycle accidents include:

  • Physical injuries
  • Scarring/disfigurement
  • Property damage expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rental vehicle

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, get help from a lawyer at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm. Getting started with your case is easy. Request a free case evaluation online or get help from our legal team by calling us at 888-795-0694 for a free consultation.


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