California Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an experienced California bike accident attorney. California has many bike riders who enjoy riding for exercise and leisure, and many of our residents rely on bicycling as a mode of transportation. However, even calm, scenic streets can be dangerous for bicycle riders.
As California residents know, an aggressive driver looking for parking or a distracted driver can cause a serious traffic collision, and bicyclists can sustain severe and even fatal injuries. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you should not have to pay for a careless driver’s mistakes. Contact a California personal injury lawyer at The Reeves Law Group to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.
California Bicycle Accident Statistics
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) maintains data on fatal and serious injuries throughout the state. The CDPH recorded the following statistics about bicycle accidents in 2012:
• There were 54,018 bike accidents resulting in emergency room visits.
• Of these accidents, 4,992 people were hospitalized for their injuries.
• 166 riders lost their lives in these accidents.
Also in 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data on bike accidents and found that the total number of bike accident injuries was up by 6% from 2011, and that most of these accidents happened in urban areas. California had the most bicycle fatalities in the entire country.
Bicycle Accident Predictors
The NHTSA has noted certain trends that make bicycling a riskier activity during certain times of the day and in certain areas of the city:
• Most injuries occur between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays during “rush hour” traffic.
• Most collisions occur in urban areas and 70% of all fatal bicycle accidents happen in busy metropolitan regions with a lot of foot and car traffic.
In addition to time and place, men tend to be involved in more serious bike accidents than women. In fact, male riders sustain approximately 90% of fatal bicycle injuries.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Across the country, the number of cyclist commuters is increasing. To support this boom in cycling, more and more bike lanes are being built in major metropolitan areas, cycling laws are being passed to protect riders, and bike social groups are booming. With the growing number of bicyclists on the roads, it is an unfortunate fact that riders will face a higher risk of being hurt in an accident. Of course, the biggest risk to cyclists is motor vehicles. Whether a biker is on the sidewalk, bike lane, or sharing the road, motor vehicles pose a threat.
California state law requires motor vehicles and cyclists to take certain precautions to prevent such accidents. For example, all cyclists are required to use proper hand signals when turning or stopping, and must travel in the same direction as vehicle traffic. Even when riders obey these rules, accidents happen.
According to the California Highway Patrol and the NHTSA, some common causes of bicycle accidents include:
• Motor vehicle driver’s failing to notice cyclist
• Cyclist’s not observing road rules and regulations
• Distracted driving
• Alcohol-impaired driving and/or cycling
• Cyclist riding without reflective clothing or gear
• Car driver making unsafe turn
• Drivers failing to yield to cyclist
• Cyclist making an unsafe turn
Bicycle Safety Tips
How can you stay safe on your bike? According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Sharing the Road program, there are some essential tips for staying safe while riding your bicycle:
• Always maintain control of your bicycle: make sure your bike is the right size for your body, and never ride if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
• Protect your head and body: wear a helmet and protective clothing.
• Make yourself visible: wear light-colored or reflective clothing, and use reflectors and lights on your bicycle.
• Be alert and communicate: use hand signals to make clear to motor vehicles and pedestrians your plans for turning or changing lanes.
• Always ride with the traffic: as a bicyclist, you’re a driver, not a pedestrian.
Steps to Take After a Bike Accident
While it is important to know about safety and bicycling, even the most experienced cyclists can be involved in dangerous crashes. If you or a loved one has been hurt while riding, the following suggestions will help you deal with the injury while getting you the help that you need.
Get Treatment: Bike crashes can be very serious, even when you think you aren’t hurt. Sometimes major injuries only seem minor at first. When necessary, have somebody drive you to a hospital or dial 911 and call an ambulance to the accident site. Paramedics will quickly get you to an emergency room. If hospital care isn’t necessary, make sure that you see your regular doctor as quickly as possible.
Call the Police: Immediately after the crash, call the authorities to the scene. They will identify the parties involved and will write up a report of the events. Ask them for a copy of this report. At the same time, you should attempt to put together the pieces of how the accident happened. Take photos of any evidence you think could be important before it is removed. Write down the names and contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses to the crash.
Meet with a California Bike Accident Attorney: Because bikes can travel at high speeds and often a bike crash involves a motor vehicle, the potential for the accident to be serious is very high. This makes it very important for you to be represented by a skilled lawyer. A top attorney will have experience representing bike accident victims and will know how to get you all of the compensation that you deserve. It is important to allow your attorney to handle all discussions with insurance companies and investigators.
Compensation for Bicycle Accidents
If someone’s carelessness caused your accident, that party may owe you money for your injuries. Your California bicycle accident lawyer can determine who is responsible and what type of damages they may owe. If you’ve been in a bike accident, call one of the personal injury attorneys at The Reeves Law Group at 800-644-8000 for a free case review.