California Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The California bicycle accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase have more than three decades of experience and a successful track record of helping seriously injured victims and their families get fair compensation for their losses. We have fought and won on behalf of victims against bus companies, governmental agencies, negligent drivers and large insurance companies. We fight hard for our clients’ rights every step of the way. Please call us at 949-203-3814 for a free consultation with a bicycle accident attorney and to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Whether you are in northern, central or southern California, the Golden State is perfect for bicycling because of year-round good weather. Bicycling is a great way for people in California to stay in shape and get from one place to another without spending a bundle on gas. However, bicycling in California is not without its risks. Bicycle accidents result in devastating injuries and fatalities. When a collision occurs between a car and a bicycle, it is often the bicyclist who is seriously or fatally injured. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced California bicycle accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
California Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 109 deaths and 11,993 injuries involving bicyclists in California. Although the number of fatalities dropped in 2009 compared to 131 in 2008, the number of injuries increased from 11,683 to 11,993. Also, 1,859 bicycle accident injuries in 2009 involved children between the ages of 5 and 14. The age group with the maximum number of fatalities was between 35 and 44. In 2009, there were 22 fatalities in this age group and 21 among those between the ages of 55 and 64.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
According to the California Highway Patrol, these are some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in California:
- Bicyclist using the wrong side of the road
- Car driver making unsafe left or right turn
- Bicyclist riding from driveway or sidewalk into path of car
- Auto driver opening door as bicycle passes
- Bicyclist making an unsafe left turn
- Driver failing to yield the right-of-way while exiting driveway
- Vehicle entering bike lanes
Other common causes include distracted or impaired drivers, dangerous roadways and defective bicycles or bicycle parts.
California Bicycle Laws
According to California law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles. California Vehicle Code Section 21200 states: “Every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
California Vehicle Code Section 21212 prohibits persons under 18 from riding or being a passenger on a bicycle without wearing a helmet. California Vehicle Code Section 27400 states: “No person operating any vehicle, including a bicycle shall wear any headset covering, or any earplugs in, both ears.” Riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is also an offense under California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents can result in traumatic injuries for the rider. Injuries can range anywhere from minor abrasions or bruises to sprains, strains, bone fractures, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. Treating these serious injuries can take time and money. For example, it can cost several million dollars to treat a bicyclist who has been paralyzed or who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Injured victims must pay not only for medical expenses but also incur other losses such as lost earnings, continuing treatment and rehabilitation costs.
Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases
Bicycle accident victims in California who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing may seek damages including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Hospitalization and surgeries
- Loss of livelihood
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress