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Increase in bicycle accidents in California

Bicycling is a great way to keep in shape and get outdoors. Riding a bicycle brings numerous health benefits and is a comfortable, safe and fresh transport. In California, the temperature is perfect for the use of the bicycle, so it is common to see a large number of people riding. Bike riding also helps you socialize and get more friends.

However, there are risks. Not everything is rosy when it comes to cycling in California. Unfortunately, statistics reveal that the number of bicycle accidents in California has increased.

The population of cyclists in California has grown remarkably in the last three years, but this growth does not go hand in hand with the adaptability of motorcyclists. Additionally, urban planning has not been characterized by efficiency, which aggravates the problem of cycling in California.

However, the cycling problem in California is closely related to the automobile population. Despite the fact that enough time has passed for cars to coexist peacefully with cyclists, this has not been the result. Automobiles are involved in this alarming increase in bicycle accidents in California and many of the accidents have been classified as “preventable accidents”.

And cyclists are the biggest losers of the collisions, as the damage of the impact is mostly, if not entirely, received by the cyclist. In addition to a serious physical damage, the cyclist must assume a high economic cost to be able to heal that physical damage.  the problem of cycling in California is also a public health problem.

Furthermore, under CVC 21200- bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. This means that although cyclist may face a higher risk of accident, they still follow the same laws that apply to driving cars minus a few minor differences.

bicycle accidents

The number of accidents depends on the size of the city

There is a directly proportional relationship between the size of the city and the number of bicycle accidents in California: as the size of the city is larger, the probability of a bicycle accident is higher.

In California, there are cities that have become popular for cycling, such as San Francisco, San Diego or Los Angeles. But the urban planning of the cities is not the most suitable for cycling.

The size of the city is not an impediment for bicycle accidents in California. One of the main problems is motorcycles cutting into the lanes, crossing to the bicycle channel, even when channels are properly marked. Or they simply lose control as they are distracted and collide laterally with bicycles.

This is one of the reasons why there has been an increase in bicycle accidents in California; and the revision of this phenomenon reveals that it is an upward trend, which is why it is necessary to take measures that may slow down its progress.

According to the statistics offered by the Department of Transportation of the U.S., an approximate of 7000 cyclists lose their lives every year; while 700,000 cyclists have been victims of injuries in the last 10 years. They are statistics at the national level, the cycling problem involves all the states of the country. In response to this, many cyclists have painted bicycles white and placed them in those sites where a cyclist has died.

Additionally, the responsibility of the accident is not unilateral, but there are situations in which the cyclist may be found guilty -in a certain degree- for causing the accident. This factor is important in case of filing personal injury claim.

size of the city bicycle accidents

How to prevent bicycle accidents

Previously, we noted that the majority of bicycle accidents in California can be avoided; This implies that, motorcycles and bicycles can contribute to the prevention of future accidents. They simply have to pay attention to the road and learn to share it so there is no risk of collision. Or failing that, they can contribute to reducing the damage level of a hypothetical collision.

According to a rule that is clearly stipulated in California Law, drivers of motor vehicles are required to take a distance of three feet each time they decide to perform an overtaking maneuver on a bicycle. However, it is necessary to point out that this rule also applies to cyclists, so they must also comply with it to contribute to the prevention of bicycle accidents in California.

The overtaking maneuver must be carried out safely and cautiously at all times. According to the law of three feet for safety, making an overtaking in an unsafe manner can be considered a crime and the driver can assume legal responsibilities. In fact, if a motor vehicle driver improperly overtakes a bicycle and causes an accident resulting in physical injury to the cyclist, the driver must pay a fine ranging from $ 35 to $ 220.

law bicycle accidents


In general, turn maneuvers unduly made by drivers or cyclists; the absence of night lights on bicycles; and drivers who open the doors of their vehicle without having previously noticed that a bicycle was passing, causing a heavy crash are the three main causes of bicycle accidents in California.

Additionally, there are other causes that, although they do not have the same incidence as the previous ones, have a considerable degree of importance:  drivers who not yield to cyclists; inappropriate turns to the right or left by the driver; influence of alcoholic beverages; distraction; and the intrusion into the lane of bicycles.

The immediate recommendation is, for the driver, to be an attentive and aware driver of the environment and the road; while, for the cyclist, it is to acquire greater visibility (placing bright lights on the bicycle, for example). Drivers experience difficulties to visualize a cyclist and that is why the placement of bright lights is an excellent idea.

At the same time, it is important that cyclists comply with the road regulations to the letter. Not only as it is mandatory and it is their responsibility; but also, as it suits them, since, as we said, all the damage of the collision is received by the cyclist in large part.

night lights bicycle accidents

What to do if you are injured

The cost assumed by a cyclist when suffering a collision is quite high for two reasons: the first is that he receives most of the damage, so it requires serious medical treatment in the short and long term; the second is that you must also include in your calculation the number of lost wages due to being unable to work. In addition, the California Law stipulates other “non-economic” costs, such as anxiety, stress, trauma and other related psychological problems.

However, if the responsibility for the accident does not fall on you, but on the driver, you are entitled to compensation. It is important that you know the legal regulations of California in this regard, so that you are aware of your rights, as well as the responsibilities that may be attributed to you and that may reduce the amount of compensation.

At the same time, it is important that you know the injuries you can receive as a result of the accident: internal bleeding, lacerations, burns, brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injury, paralysis and scarring. Keeping in mind the type of injuries you can receive is useful to make an approximate calculation of the necessary medical treatments.

Now, regarding what to do specifically in case of being the victim of an accident, take the following advice: try to take photographs of the scene of the accident; get a copy of your medical history; and get advice from a lawyer as soon as possible. The measures are essential to achieve a victory in the case and get adequate compensation.  a copy of your medical history is extremely useful if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, as you can present complete evidence about your level of post-accident brain activity, energy levels and productivity, as well as performance tests in college or in the job. All this material will be decisive for the judge to declare the case in your favor.

Finally, around the legal procedures that must be carried out, it is advisable that you delegate all that in a good personal injury lawyer. The legal aspects that must be taken into account for the procedures are numerous and can cause you a headache. You just need to take rest so that your wounds heal quickly and efficiently. We recommend you contact us to have one of our lawyers handling your case. We are a team of professionals with a large number of years of experience, which gives us a high level of quality.

If this information has not been useful enough, do not hesitate to contact us so we can provide you with more information. In our blog you can also find other entries in which there is not only more content about bicycle accidents in California, but also about motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, defective products, and so on. Also, we have a section dedicated to legal advice, as well as police brutality, falling in public places and animal attacks.


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