Ken has over 35 years of experience as a highly qualified personal injury trial lawyer, a former President of the Cleveland Academy of Trial Lawyers and is an Ohio Super & National Top 100 Lawyer. Ken is also an avid cyclist across numerous disciplines. His legal practice now focuses on protecting Greater Cleveland cyclists. He represents cyclists who are needlessly injured, or worse, by unsafe drivers. 1. P — Police: call the police and insist on a report, no matter what! KEN'S BIKE COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND SPONSORSHIP
WHAT TO DO IN A BIKE ACCIDENT: “P.H.O.N.E.”
2. H — Healthcare: seek immediate medical treatment for injuries.
3. O — Observation: get the driver’s contact and insurance info, and names of all witnesses, or make sure the police obtain this vital information.
4. N — Notify: call a bike injury attorney (Ken 216-272-8595) BEFORE you talk to a liability adjuster. The adjusters are pros for the insurance agencies – hire a pro for yourself!
5. E — Evidence: don’t let the at-fault party move their car or your bicycle! Keep all damaged property including bike, cracked helmet, ripped clothing and damaged accessories.
1. P — Police: call the police and insist on a report, no matter what!
KEN'S BIKE COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND SPONSORSHIP
Ken supports the bike community through membership in, and corporate sponsorship of Bike Cleveland and author of its BIKES and THE LAW section.. However, his involvement in the cycling community goes beyond himself and support of Bike Cleveland. He co-sponsors several local bike race teams including Spin-Litzler and VeloFemme-Litzler, a woman’s cycling team focused on education and opportunities for women cyclists. He is a member of the Lake Erie Wheelers, the Akron Bicycle Club, Ohio City Bike Co-Op, Bike Friendly Lakewood, Bike Lakewood, Bike Euclid & Heights Coalition, among others. He has authored the night ride advisory for NEOCycle, is a Kilo Level sponsor of Cleveland Velodrome and an Advocate sponsor of the League of American Bicyclists. Finally, he is active with the City of Cleveland Vision Zero Legislation with the goal of zero deaths and serious injuries for all road users with a widespread systems approach.
Jackie Palmer, RN
" I hired Ken Knabe to represent me when I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. We met several times. He was very thorough and up-to-date with all my doctors. I received an excellent settlement. Even my doctor was impressed by his preparation and knowledge of my injuries. Ken is honest, aggressive and a very good lawyer. I would highly recommend him. "
The information on this site is not, nor is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
What is the history of Ken's bike law practice?
I’ve been a Trial Lawyer for 39 years, and like many of us I have enjoyed bike riding since childhood. Since starting cycling with friends and then joining larger cycling groups, cycling is a big part of my life. I continue reaping the physical and psychological benefits and enjoying the challenge, camaraderie, the fresh air and freedom of the open road. I have ridden many Century Rides including the Death Valley 100 pictured above. I ride the road solo or with friends three to five times a week in decent weather. I ride indoors in the winter on my Wahoo trainer. My bike collection includes a Diverge, a Roubaix and a Raleigh.
An avid cyclist, I protect and support Ohio cyclists in numerous ways including, and beyond representing injured cyclists. Sponsorships include:
• Bike Cleveland Corporate Sponsor: a grass roots bicycle advocacy group in NE Ohio
• Bike Cleveland/Bike to School & Bike to Work events
• Team Spin/Litzler: an amateur male racing team in Lakewood, Ohio
• Team VeloFemme-Litzler: an amateur female racing team in Cleveland, Ohio
• Cleveland Velodrome Kilo Sponsor: a bicycling and racing complex in Cleveland, Ohio
• League of American Bicyclists Advocate Member
• H2O’s Bikes & Bands event sponsor
Publishing and lecturing on bike accidents and safety are further ways I support the cycling community:
• Bikes and the Law section on bikecleveland.org
• Bike Law articles and lecturing to attorneys with Ohio Association for Justice (OAJ) and Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys (CATA)
• NEOCycle Night Ride Safety Advisory
Teaching safety classes at many local bike clubs including:
• Bike Cleveland: Bike Smart series
• Lake Erie Wheelers
• Black Girls Do Bike/Cleveland chapter
• Akron Bike Club
• Heights Bicycle Coalition
Currently working with Cleveland City Council’s Safety Committee on Vision Zero Safety legislation, bike safety legislation with the goal to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and increase safety and equitable mobility for ALL road users – bikes, cars and pedestrians alike.
Member of numerous local and regional bike clubs, including but not limited to:
• Lake Erie Wheelers
• Bike Lakewood
• Bike Friendly Lakewood
• Euclid Bike Club
• Akron Bike Club
• Ohio City Bicycle Co-op
• Heights Bicycle Coalition
• Stark County Bike Club
• Silver Wheels Cycling Club
• Cleveland Touring Club
• Ohio Bicycle Federation
Installed in front of my practice at 14222 Madison Avenue in Lakewood are two custom-made bike racks, one bearing the name of Bike Cleveland and the other, Bike Lakewood.
What are bike laws every cyclist should know?
1. A bicycle is a “vehicle”. Bikes don’t BLOCK traffic, they ARE traffic! http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4501.01(A) (K)
2. Riding your bike the way you drive your car: “Vehicular Cycling” http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.01 (A) (G)
3. Bikes are lawfully ridden on the roads (except for limited access roads/highways/freeways) http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.55
4. Bicycles cannot be confined to sidewalks http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.711 In fact, many local ordinances prohibit riding our bikes on sidewalks in the business district – familiarize yourself with your local bike ordinances! Yield to pedestrians on a sidewalk http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.441
5. Ride in the direction of traffic http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.25 (A) (C)
6. Stop at red lights http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.12 and stop signs http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.43
7. Ride to the right of the road unless it is unreasonable or unsafe due to potholes/debris or if lane is so narrow that a car cannot safely pass you http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.55 (A) (C)
8. Announce your intentions with these state-mandated hand signals http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.40
9. Equip your bike with state-mandated front white lights and red rear lights at night, in low visibility and when it’s raining. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.56
10. Be aware that although a cyclist can be ticketed, no points can be assessed on your driver’s license — unless it’s a DUI situation! http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.52
What are the newest bike laws protecting Ohio cyclists?
Progress is being made regarding laws that protect us as cyclists.
3-FOOT PASSING LAW: Ohio’s three-foot minimum safe distance passing requirement, ORC § 4511.27 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.27 (A) (1) became effective March 21, 2017.
DEAD RED EXCEPTION: The “dead red” exception permits a cyclist to stop, then safely enter an intersection on “dead red” – occurring when a red light malfunctions or fails to trip to green because of failing to detect a bicycle’s presence, ORC §4511.132 (A) (1) (2) (3) became effective March 21, 2017. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.132
What are causes of bike crashes and how might drivers avoid them?
It bears repeating that those who practice “Vehicular Cycling” – riding their bike the way they drive their motorized vehicle – are in 75-80% fewer accidents!
Causes of bike crashes include distracted driving due to:
• Cell phone usage
• Alcohol and/or drug usage
Other causes include:
• Lack of awareness of cyclist’s presence on the road
• Poor vision
• Health issues
Types of bike crashes include:
• The Rear End: Just how it sounds, cyclists get hit by a car from behind.
• The Left Cross: A car turning left turns directly in front of an oncoming cyclist.
• The Right Hook, Part 1: A car passes a cyclist on the left, then turns right directly in front of the cyclist.
• The Right Hook, Part 2: A cyclist is passing a slow-moving car on the right, then it turns directly into the cyclist.
• Dooring: When a driver carelessly opens the door of their parked car into a bicyclist passing on the left. The “Dutch Reach” is when they open their driver side door with their RIGHT hand, causing their body to swivel to the left — and giving them an automatic view of oncoming traffic. Ohio ORC §4511.70 (C) states, in part, that “no person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic”. Cleveland Ordinance §451.07 says that “traffic” includes bicycles, providing clearer protection to cyclists. Lakewood Ordinance §331.48 simply mirrors Ohio Revised Code without specifically mentioning bicycles. However, since bicycles are vehicles and a part of traffic, both the ORC and Lakewood Ordinance should protect a cyclist, regarding dooring. Ken was interviewed on the topic of dooring by WKYC’s The Investigator, Tom Meyers: https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/investigations/investigator-bicyclists-car-doors-collide-with-painful-results/95-455572541
Drivers, please watch for cyclists on the road — look three ways! Look to the left, look to the right, then look for a cyclist in front of you, behind you when you turn right, and when you turn left.
If you see a pack of cyclists passing you, look for another pack or even a single straggler.
A driver can legally pass a cyclist providing they don’t exceed the speed limit and it is safe to do so; they must allow at least three feet when passing a cyclist. It is legal for the driver to cross over a double-yellow line when passing. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.31 (B) (1) (2) (3)
What are my personal injury damages from a bicycle accident caused by an at-fault driver?
You can recover for “economic” loss – your past and future “specials”, i.e. medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, gas mileage to and from your medical providers and even attendant care even by a family member. More importantly, you can also recover for your non-economic damages or pain and suffering – the past, present and future physical pain, disfigurement, mental suffering/anguish, loss of basic activities (talk, walk, lift, etc.) and pleasurable activities (cycling, golf, working out, etc.)
Medical treatment should occur soon and stay consistent throughout the process. You should document your physical pain, mental suffering, activity loss, medical expenses and lost wages.
Do you have a concussion? A brain injury is serious and needs to be handled with care. Attorney Knabe has handled several concussion syndrome cases, which takes significant time to resolve. Many times treatment includes a neurological consult and speech, physical, occupational and psychological therapy. These therapies are often needed to recover from the devastating headaches and memory loss.
Scarring? We obtain your life expectancy and ask for compensation for your remaining years for the disfigurement.
What about the damage to my bicycle and equipment such as my helmet, jersey and shoes?
Bicycles today can run from $50.00 to $15,000.00. You deserve full compensation for the reasonable value of your bicycle and its many components. Schedule your bicycle on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
If your bike is damaged in an accident with a careless driver, we usually start at the bike shop of purchase and bring in the damaged item(s) or a photograph of it/them. Even if the bicycle or some components were purchased on the internet, a reputable bicycle shop can usually provide estimates for all the damage.
Also, the damaged bicycle frame, components, cycling computer, ripped handlebar tape, ripped seat, torn clothes, scuffed bicycle shoes, and cracked, bloodied or broken helmet are evidence that corroborate the serious impact and your physical injuries.
How can I protect myself with insurance in case of a bike accident caused by a careless driver?
Every cyclist who owns a car and has auto liability insurance, or is insured under an auto liability policy as a household/family member, should always insist on having uninsured motorist coverage (‘U’ Coverage). This covers you if you are hit on your bike by a careless driver who is uninsured or underinsured. Your U coverage should be at least $100,000.00. You have to ask your insurance agent or company specifically for U coverage, as there is no longer any requirement to automatically offer this coverage. If you have umbrella coverage which is a smart thing if you can afford it, ALWAYS include U coverage in the Umbrella! This mistake could cost an injured person hundred’s of thousands of dollars of badly needed compensation.
If a cyclist is hit by a careless hit-and-run driver, U coverage will also apply if you have independent corroborative evidence, besides your word, that it happened. A witness would satisfy this evidence or it could be cumulative such as the police officer’s observations, bike damage with paint transfer, your statements made immediately following the crash, and medical records. A cyclist who is the unfortunate victim of one of the many hit-and-run accidents in the Cleveland area should always call the police and secure a witness name and contact info, if possible.
Many cyclists ride with video cameras to document driver error and road rage.
Can I buy bike insurance separately from my car insurance?
Yes, you can insure your bicycle and yourself for theft, physical loss, damage, liability and some coverage when hit by an uninsured driver. Here is a link to an insurance backed company started by cyclists that I recommend:
If you have car insurance and elect “U” (Uninsured/Under-insured) coverage and medical payments coverage, and also schedule your bike under your homeowners policy, you don’t need it.
If you don’t own a car and are not a family member covered under an auto policy, this covers all the basics: up to $100,000.00 in liability coverage (e.g. you hit a pedestrian on your bicycle or another vehicle); medical payments coverage ( covers medical bills not covered by health insurance) and physical contact insurance (acts as “U” coverage but only up to $25,000.00 which is inadequate if you are seriously injured by an uninsured driver. Coverage is provided if your bicycle is lost, stolen or damaged even if you are racing.
No bicycle coverage for bicycle messengers though.
Finally, no auto insurance covers an electric bike, so would be prudent to get this bicycle coverage if you ride one.
Bottom line if you cycle on the road and own a car, please elect for “U” coverage Uninsured/Under-insured coverage as high as you can afford. If you have no car and are not an insured under a household or family policy, it is probably wise to get bicycle coverage.”
When can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk and what laws apply?
Although Ohio law permits cyclists to ride on the sidewalks, many municipal codes limit that right. For example, Cleveland prohibits riding on the sidewalk in a business district. (Cleveland Ordinance § 473.09). A ‘business district” is defined in Cleveland Ordinance § 401.07
Ohio prohibits local authorities from requiring cyclists to only ride on the sidewalk. Cyclists have a right to ride on the road unless it’s a Freeway. (Ohio Revised Code Section §4511.711 ). See also:
What are the bicycle hand signals and when should I use them?
Cyclists’ turn signals are required under Ohio Revised Code §4511.40 as follows:
A cyclist does not have to continuously signal. Once is often enough. You do not have to jeopardize your own safety and balance by continuously signaling.