The state of California is very bicycle friendly. Everyday, we see cyclists riding right alongside other motorists on our roads. Biking is a wonderful option, for the environment, for your health, and for your pocketbook.
However, it is not the safest option. As an experienced personal injury attorney in Sherman Oaks, California, I have seen an increase in the number of injuries due to bicycle accidents. Although we would like to be able to trust the other motorists who share our roadways, we cannot; it’s that simple. You could have been doing everything right, yet you still ended up in an accident. You simply cannot predict the actions of other drivers, and sometimes their negligence or road aggression causes others to suffer unjustly.
Collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles occur for a number of reasons. Many times, motorists simply don’t think to look for cyclists when they are turning or changing lanes. Some drivers do not treat cyclists with the special care that they should. In their hurry to get somewhere, they often forget that they are much bigger and more dangerous next to a bicycle. Although aggressive driving is undoubtedly dangerous to all road users, it poses a far greater danger to cyclists. And of course, distracted or drunk drivers are a danger to cyclists and motorists alike.
It is important to remember that everything is magnified ten-fold for the cyclist on the road. Obstacles, road hazards, or careless mistakes might be able to slip by unnoticed to the average motorist. There are many things that could go wrong on the road everyday, yet these things do not ever amount to anything. For instance, cars drive over potholes without much more than a wince, and they straddle or drive over bits of tire and other debris with little problem. To the cyclist, however, these minor things pose major threats and can be the cause of serious, even fatal, accidents.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, I want you to know that it is OK for you to seek compensation for your damages. You have every right to do so.
Determining Fault in Bicycle-Car Accidents
According to the 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, car crashes are the most common cause of bicycle-related injuries, accounting for nearly 30 percent of injuries. In other words, nearly a third of all injuries are caused when cyclists are hit by a car.
In the state of California, car accidents are governed by the laws of tort. This means that automobile drivers are expected to use “reasonable care under the circumstances.” Failure to do so is considered negligent, or careless, conduct, which is the leading cause of personal injury claims. In the event of a road accident, the negligent party is often the party at fault. If an injured person can prove that the other party was negligent, that person has a good chance of receiving compensation for his or her damages.
This is why you need a dedicated personal injury lawyer to fight for you and your rights. It takes a thorough understanding of the laws of the road, for motorists and cyclists alike, to determine who was at fault in a crash. As your personal injury attorney, I am here to prove that the defendant was at fault due to his or her negligence or recklessness and that your injuries are a result of the accident.
Unsafe Road Conditions
According to the same survey, 13 percent of bicycle injuries are caused by unsafe roadway or walkway conditions. Local, state, and federal governments are responsible for keeping roads safe. If they are in need of repair, it is the government’s responsibility to repair them in a timely manner or warn drivers of the unsafe conditions. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to road hazards, contact me. Together, we will pore over the details of your accident and build the strongest case possible. My goal as your personal injury attorney is to advocate for you and your rights and to secure compensation for your damages. Your life has been turned upside down; my goal is to help you get back to your normal life again.
A Major Problem in California
Unfortunately, in October 2014, a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed California leading the nation in bicycle-related deaths. When you compare California’s statistics to the national statistics, it is clear that there is a problem with cyclist traffic fatalities here in our state. Here are some of the findings of the report:
- Nationwide, bicyclist deaths make up about two percent of motor vehicle-related deaths. In the state of California, the percentage is nearly double.
- From 2010 to 2012, California had one of the highest totals of reported bike accidents, at 338 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles.
- During this same three-year period, cyclist traffic fatalities increased by 16 percent nationwide, when all other motor vehicle fatalities increased by a mere one percent.
If you are considering taking up biking as your primary source of transportation, it is important that you know these statistics. I hope that by providing this information on my site, it will encourage my readers to be more cautious and alert on the roadways.
As a personal injury attorney in Sherman Oaks, California, and the surrounding areas, I help victims of bicycle accidents time after time, and I am happy to do so. I represent people who are suffering in great times of need, when they have been wronged in some capacity and are seeking to make things right again.
Personal Injury Attorney
If it has come to this—if you have been injured in a cycling, traffic-related accident—I am here to fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve, helping to ease your pain as much as possible. I would, however, prefer that it never comes to this—that your cycling days are many. I have compiled some basic safety tips for avoiding the most common bike injuries, in addition to some of the main bicycle laws in the state of California of which you need to be aware. Please, be careful out there; the road is a dangerous place for a cyclist.