Gary Bruce discusses a viewer question regarding the rights of an individual who is injured while riding a bicycle, which is similar to those of someone who is struck by a vehicle while walking or someone involved in a car wreck. If the other party breached a duty to stay in their lane or if they improperly passed you, then you have a claim. The law treats bicycles as vehicles for purposes of traffic laws, so your obligation as a bike rider is no different than if you were operating a car. Gary urges bike riders to use the many paths we have here in town and to wear protective gear while riding.
Another viewer asks if people still have the right to “plead the Fifth.” When using this phrase, of course, people are talking about the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment provides for due process, but it also provides for the right against self-incrimination. This means you have the right not to discuss matters that may incriminate you for an act or a crime you have committed. This is not to say that you can plea the Fifth just because you are uncomfortable talking about a certain situation, but you do not have to criminally implicate yourself. When invoked appropriately, the Fifth Amendment affords a lot of protections.
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Narrator: This is Legal Break on WTVM with attorney, Gary Bruce answering your questions about the law.
Question 1: Well, let’s say you get in a bicycle accident and a car hit you, what kind of recourse do you have, Gary?
Gary: Well it’s not much different than if you’re hit while you’re in a car or walking down the sidewalk. The same recourse, your same rights arise whether you’re on a bicycle or in a vehicle, or however you’re injured. The other side owes you a duty if they breach that duty to stay in their lane, or not pass you properly, or by speeding. If they breach that duty and they cause you injury then you have a lawsuit – well you have a claim that you can potentially make. So riding a bike – the question I think that comes up is, “what are the what are the obligations of the bike rider, are they different than they might be if I was in a car?” And I’ll tell you that the answer is no that vehicle is a vehicle and a bike is a vehicle so the rules of the road apply to you as a bicycle rider the same as they do driving down the road. But unfortunately, there’s not much protection between the bike and a car, so be careful. Use all the pads we have here in Columbus and wear helmets. Hopefully, we don’t have to worry about whether you have recourse or not.
Question 2: Hey Gary. I would like to know, can people still plead the fifth?
Gary: Is that still a thing? Yes. And I think we’re going to see a little bit of that coming here in the future. So what is pleading the fifth? The fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution is really a pretty powerful amendment. It provides for due process, it provides for several safeguards in the prosecution of cases. But what I think what we mostly think about is the right against self-incrimination.
So when does it arise? Well if you’ve been charged with a crime, you don’t have to be a witness against yourself. You can say, “I plead the fifth because I may incriminate myself.” When it doesn’t apply, is as a witness or if you’re just uncomfortable talking about it. So, “I don’t really want to talk about that” doesn’t give me the right to plead the fifth unless I am facing charges. If you’re a witness to a case you can’t just plead the fifth unless you might incriminate yourself. So is it a thing? Yes, it’s a thing. It’s invoked appropriately when people don’t want to be witnesses against themselves. Good questions again, thank you, keep them coming. Facebook, WTVM, however we get them we look forward to answering them. Thank you.
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