California Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Riding your bike in California is a healthy way of getting around, saving money and doing your part to preserve the environment. Unfortunately, bike riding can be extremely dangerous.
If you are an avid rider, it is important you understand not only how to stay safe on California's busy roadways, but also how you can protect your rights if you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else's negligence or wrongdoing.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the number of cyclists killed and injured in car accidents in California increased from the year 2009 to 2010. There were 111 cyclists killed in the year 2010 statewide compared to 109 in 2008. In the year 2010, 12,591 bicycle riders were injured in California car accidents reflecting a significant increase from the 11,993 cyclists who were injured in the year 2009.
California Bicycle Laws
One of the best ways to reduce your chances of being involved in a California bicycle accident is to understand rules of the road. Under California Vehicle Code:
- Section 21200: You have the right to ride on the street except on freeways and bridges where no-biking signs are posted. This vehicle code also requires all riders to obey the same rules and laws as drivers of other vehicles including stopping at signs and traffic lights.
- Section 21202: You must remain on the right side of the lane unless you are passing a vehicle or preparing for a left turn.
- Section 21650: Allows bicyclists to leave the right side of the lane to avoid slow moving traffic and construction activity.
- Section 21650: You must ride with the flow of traffic and not against it.
- Section 21804: Riders must yield to traffic before entering the roadway.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are numerous ways in which a bicyclist can end up in a serious accident. Some of the common causes of bicycle accidents are as follows:
- Failure on the part of a motorist to yield the right-of-way
- Bike lane intrusion
- Failure to stop at an intersection
- Dooring; accidents where drivers open doors of parked vehicles directly in bikers' path
- Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Distracted drivers
- Roadways with potholes or debris
- Poor lighting
- Dangerous roadway design
Bicycle accidents can happen at any time. All California bicyclists must do their part to prevent injury accidents. At the same time, motorists must also remember that they share the roadways with other vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles. Perhaps the best way to prevent an accident is to ride defensively.
Keep your distance from vehicles, avoid blind spots and never assume that drivers can see you. You can also prevent accidents by making drivers aware of your intentions. Use hand signals when turning and make eye contact with nearby motorists before entering an intersection. There are a number of ways to increase your visibility, including wearing bright clothing, installing red and white reflectors, utilizing a white lamp on the front of your bike and turning on a flashing light on your rear seat.
Determining Liability for a Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a California bicycle accident, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your losses. In order to hold an at-fault party accountable for your suffering, you will have to prove that the at-fault driver's negligence was a contributing factor in the crash. If the driver was speeding, impaired, distracted, fatigued or otherwise careless, he or she can be held accountable for your losses.
There are a number of ways to determine liability and prove fault. Did anyone witness the crash? Were there surveillance cameras that can show how the crash occurred? Was the driver cited by the authorities or arrested for reckless behavior? Did you take photos of the crash site and preserve your bike for a thorough inspection?
In some cases, other parties can also be held liable. For example, if a dangerous or defective roadway caused a bicycle accident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable as well. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim must be filed within 180 days of the incident.
The Value of Your Potential Claim
Every case is different. So, there is no way to tell you how much your claim may be worth without examining the specifics of your case. Negligent drivers can be held accountable for all of the injuries, damages and losses they cause. This means that injured cyclists can seek financial compensation for their physical injuries, financial losses and mental anguish. A successful claim will include compensation for lost wages, lost future wages, medical bills, hospitalization fees, the cost of rehabilitation, physical pain, mental anguish and other related damages.
Protecting Your Rights
If you have been involved in a California bicycle accident, it is important that you contact the authorities, collect information and seek immediate medical attention.
It is also critical that you seek the advise and guidance of an experienced California bicycle accident lawyer who will fight for your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your losses.
The skilled personal injury attorneys have more than three decades of experience recovering damages for injured bicyclists and their families. Our success rate of nearly 98 percent is practically unprecedented in the industry. We have collected more than $200 million in damages for our clients and received superior ratings from peer groups such as the American Trial Lawyers Association and Martindale-Hubbell. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, please contact us at 800-561-4887 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.
(click on icons for more information)