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Contact a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney for the Help You Need

Bicycle accident can be severe and even fatal. Legal issues in bicycle accidents can be different than the issues in car accidents, so these cases demand the assistance of a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney with knowledge in this field of bicycle accidents law. Although bicycle accidents can occur because of manufacturing defects of the bicycle, negligently-maintained premises, or unsafe road conditions, many bicycle accidents occur after a collision with another vehicle on the road.

California Laws for Bike Accidents

Most cars have safety features and are meticulously tested and retested for their ability to withstand the forces generated in a crash. In contrast, bicycles offer no real protection to their riders. It is no surprise, then, that when a car and a bicycle collide, the bicyclist usually sustains greater injuries. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware that they must share the road with bicycle riders. In 2014 the State of California enacted California Vehicle Code section 21760 which requires a driver of a motor vehicle to keep a distance of at least 3 feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator when overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction. Even if you, the bicycle rider, are careful, you may still find yourself involved in an accident that is not your fault.

California’s Helmet Law

California also has a bicycle helmet law for persons under the age of 18. According to California Vehicle Code Section 21212(a), people under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle unless they are “wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.” Although there is no helmet requirement for individuals who are 18 and older, it is always a good idea to wear one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), a properly fitted helmet is the single most effective way to prevent a brain injury in case of a bicycle accident.

Common Causes of Bike Accidents According to a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney

According to our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney, some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles include:

Dooring Accidents 

Dooring accidents occur when an occupant of a vehicle quickly opens their door, unaware that a bicyclist is approaching. These accidents usually happen so fast the bicyclist does not have time to react and hits the door at full speed. While the damage to the vehicle may be minimal,  injuries to the cyclist can be severe.

Sideswiping

Sideswiping occurs when a motor vehicle driver is not observant and does not see a bicyclist in a neighboring lane. The motor vehicle driver then switches lanes, and the side of their vehicle collides with the bicyclist. The injuries in these types of accidents can be catastrophic.

Rear-End Accident

A bicycle legally stopped at a red traffic signal or stop sign always runs the risk of being rear ended by a motor vehicle. These types of accidents usually cause the bicycle rider to be thrown off the bicycle and violently collide with the pavement. All bicycles should have a rear flashing LED tail light installed to reduce the risk of being hit by a car, but sometimes the accident is unavoidable by the bicyclist.  

Bicyclist Inattention

The use of hands-free technology is steadily increasing for all types of people, and bicyclists are no exception. It is becoming common to see a bicycle rider wearing headphones or using a cell phone. Distractions such as these take the rider’s attention away from their immediate surroundings and can lead to serious accidents. 

Driver Inattention

Unlike a bicycle rider, a motor vehicle driver has significant protection in case of a collision. Even so, automobile drivers should always be vigilant when paying attention to their surroundings. Failure to do so can result in collisions with bicyclists.

Blind Spots

All motor vehicles have blind spots, or areas where the driver is unable to see. To avoid being in one of these spots, a bicyclist should try to always be in the driver’s direct line of sight. One way of doing this is to avoid stopping to the right of a motor vehicle. Instead, it is much safer to stop behind a motor vehicle where the driver has a clear line of sight via their rear-view mirror. 

Lack of Lighting

A motor vehicle driver cannot intentionally avoid hitting a bicyclist if they do not see them. Because of this, cyclists should ride during daylight hours whenever possible and avoid riding at night unless they are wearing reflective clothing.

Failure to Yield

Drivers should always be on the lookout for others and yield the right of way to bicyclists whenever possible to avoid a crash. Motor vehicle drivers should also always come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs to avoid a collision with a cyclist.

Reckless Driving

A reckless driver weaving in and out of traffic is much less likely to see a bicyclist and is less likely to stay in their lane. A driver that is speeding is also a danger to anyone on a bicycle. The faster a motor vehicle travels, the less time a driver has to stop should they need to. Finally, a reckless driver that fails to look thoroughly at a crosswalk for bicyclists and pedestrians is more likely to be involved in an accident. When a driver is reckless, they may be held liable to punitive damages. Whether or not a bicyclist should receive punitive damages is a question for an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer.

Additional Road Hazard Claims Your Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Handle

Collisions with motor vehicles are not the only way a bicyclist can be in an accident. Other ways include:

  • While riding on a poorly maintained road, a bicyclist may hit a pothole, which causes them to fall and sustain injuries. 
  • When a bicyclist is not fully paying attention to their surroundings, they may crash into a tree, guardrail, or sign.
  • Sometimes a bicycle has been poorly designed or manufactured, causing the bike to be defective. This can lead to a bicyclist becoming injured through no fault of their own.
  • A bicycle, like a car, needs regular maintenance. When a bike is not maintained correctly, the tires may wear out, or the brakes may not work correctly. These types of issues can cause a driver to lose control of the bicycle and cause an accident.
  • Bicyclists may collide with other bicyclists or pedestrians. 
  • Bicyclists can also be attacked by wild animals or pets not properly kept by their owners. When a dog or other pet attacks a bicyclist, they may have a cause of action against the animal’s owner. This issue can be addressed by a skilled Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney.
  • The bicycle’s rider may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, causing them to lose control of the bike. 

Statistics Applicable to Los Angeles Bike Accidents

According to the NHTSA, the following are accurate statistics regarding bicycle accidents in the United States:

  • In 2018, 857 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes 
  • 47 was the average age of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017
  • Most bicyclist deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • In 2017, male bicyclists were killed at a rate 8 times higher than female bicyclists
  • Alcohol was a contributing factor in 37% of all fatal crashes involving a bicyclist in 2017
  • In 2017, 75% of bicyclists deaths occurred in urban areas, and 25% occurred in rural areas

Why You Need a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a bike accident, you should contact an experienced Los Angeles bicycle injury attorney who is well versed in California bicycle accident litigation and can give you advice on your legal rights and possibilities. You may be able to successfully sue the driver of the vehicle for negligence and obtain compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.  To prove negligence on the part of the driver, your attorney must prove that the driver owed you a duty of reasonable care; the driver breached that duty; you were injured; and the driver’s breach caused your injury. If your attorney can successfully prove negligence, you will be entitled to receive damages to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Similarly, if your bicycle accident lawyer can prove that the driver acted recklessly, such as in drunk driving cases, they may be able to recover punitive damages as well.

Upon retaining a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney, he or she will discuss topics with you such as: liability, legal compensation, medical compensation, compensation for lost wages, and traffic laws. Your lawyer will also look at such things as:

  1. the extent of your injuries and the effect that your injuries have on your ability to work;
  2. who are all the parties at fault for the accident;
  3. the severe risk to your long-term health and well-being; and
  4. product liability of the manufacturer of the car, truck, or bicycle.

Your Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney will explain and make sure you completely understand what your legal options are. Thus equipped, you will be empowered to make the best legal decisions based on your specific circumstances. Bicycle accidents are very stressful and often require severe medical attention. You should not have to go through this tough situation alone. You deserve and are legally entitled to retain a confident and skilled Los Angeles personal bicycle accident lawyer who can discuss your case and the relevant law; deal with the insurance company in settlement negotiations or go to court, if need be; and fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

Contact Our Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Law Firm for a Free Case Evaluation 

If you have been injured in an accident contact Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney, Ryan Banafshe, or another member of his team on their contact page or by calling toll free 1-800-789-8840.

Our personal injury law office is located in Los Angeles (Century City), California.  We serve clients throughout the great State of California and if you are unable to travel to our office, we will meet with you at your home or office.

© 2020 Banafshe Law Firm, PC.