California is one of the best states for bicycling. The warm climate and bike transportation infrastructure make biking a popular transportation choice for California residents. California even ranked as the fourth most bike-friendly state in the country, based on infrastructure, legislation, and policies. Despite this, accidents can still occur.
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What Causes Bike Accidents?
One of the most common causes of a bicycle accident in California is speeding by a car, truck, or motorcycle. Even going five miles above the speed limit can result in a catastrophic accident with a bicyclist. Other common errors that drivers make that cause accidents include:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Making an illegal U-turn
- Entering the bike lane
- Opening a car door
- Driving under the influence
- Texting behind the wheel
However, there are also instances where a driver’s negligence does not contribute to an accident, such as those caused by the presence of road debris, weather conditions, and poorly-marked construction sites.
Types of Bicycle Accidents in California
There are several different types of bike accidents. Car door and sideswipe accidents are among the most common. However, riding against the flow of traffic is extremely dangerous. Cyclists also need to be alert when exiting driveways.
Car Door Accidents
Drivers and passengers usually open their doors without checking to see if there’s a bicyclist or another vehicle nearby. These accidents typically happen when cars parallel park on streets that have bike lanes. It’s far too common for an unsuspecting cyclist to collide with an opened door.
A sideswipe accident occurs when the side of a car comes in contact with a bike. Drivers often complain that bikers are riding too close to the lane in these accidents. Conversely, riding too far to the right increases the chances of a car door crash.
Riding Against Traffic
You may feel safer riding against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles. Doing this accounts for nearly 25% of all biking accidents. Cyclists should ride on the right side of the road to keep themselves safe.
Exiting a Driveway
Biking through the suburbs is a great way to exercise, but collisions commonly occur when cyclists or cars exit their driveways. When one party fails to look before leaving or riding by a driveway, the accident can result in severe injuries.
Injuries Resulting from Bike Accidents
Bicyclists do not have the same protection as those in vehicles do. When a crash happens, they often are thrown from their bike, which can cause significant injuries. This causes them to collide either with the car that hit them or the pavement. Common bike injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Joint dislocation
- Neck and back injuries
Injuries can be permanent or even life-threatening to accident victims. After an accident, always go to the doctor. The adrenaline released by your body will reduce how much pain you feel. The adrenaline will wear off within a few hours, and you’ll begin to feel immense pain. Going to the doctor right away will allow you to receive medication to reduce your immediate discomfort. Additionally, doctors can diagnose any internal injuries.
Who’s Liable for a Biking Accident in California?
Determining liability in a bicycle accident can be tricky, which is why you should partner with a personal injury attorney. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for accidents. Since 2014, California requires all drivers to give at least three feet of space between the car and cyclist. It’s also illegal to drive or park in a bike lane. In addition, when drivers are acting negligently or driving distractedly, they may be liable for your injuries and damages.
Are Cyclists Liable for Accidents?
Cyclists must remember that California Vehicle Code Section 21200 gives riders the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers do on the road. This means abiding by all traffic laws, including riding under the influence, giving pedestrians the right of way, and obeying traffic signals. When bikers break the law, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages they cause.
What Compensation Can I Receive for My Injuries?
All accidents are different, so the compensation you may receive will vary depending on your injuries. After reviewing your case, a California bike accident attorney may be able to secure compensation for the following losses.
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- In-home rehabilitation
Many accident victims make the mistake of trusting their insurance company. This is never a good idea. Remember, they are still a company, and their goal is to maximize profits. Hiring a personal injury attorney will ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Tips for Staying Safe When Biking
As a bicyclist, you must remember that you are more susceptible to an accident. Follow these tips to prevent an accident and to reduce your injuries.
- Wear a helmet: Only children under 18 are required to wear a bicycle helmet in California. However, it is in your best interest to wear one, regardless of age. Bike helmets will absorb the impact of hitting concrete or another vehicle.
- Wear bright colors: You should always wear brightly colored clothing when riding a bike. You might even want to add reflective tape if you ride at night.
- Signal when turning or braking: Since cyclists have to follow the rules of the road, this means signaling when you are about to turn or brake. Using hand signals will allow for other vehicles to know your intentions, which can keep you safe.
Ultimately, you must be alert of your surroundings at all times when biking. Be aware of traffic and pedestrians. Remember, the most dangerous thing on the road is other people. You never know what their intentions are, so staying alert can save your life.
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Contact a California Bike Accident Attorney Today
When someone else’s negligence causes your injuries, you should not have to cover the accident-related expenses. Instead, reach out to Attorney Jeremy Winter. Attorney Winter will handle all aspects of your case and conduct a thorough investigation to determine who the liable party is. Call (844) 734-2626 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a bicycle injury in California, it is vital that you contact an attorney who has experience handling these intricate cases. At the Law Offices of JG Winter, we will deal with the insurance companies for you and answer all your questions so that you can concentrate on your recovery. With resources that include industry experts, investigators, and medical professionals, we will fight for full and fair compensation for all damages you sustained, including:
- Medical expenses
- Long-term care
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning power
- Pain and suffering
We stand behind the principle that financial cost should not hinder your ability to attain experienced legal advocacy. It is our promise that you will not pay anything unless we win your case for you.
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Law Offices of J.G. Winter
1540 River Park Dr
Sacramento, CA 95815