Expert Bicycle Accident Attorneys in California
California has one of the highest rates of bicycle accidents in the United States, with a large cycling community of nearly 600,000 daily commuters. At Injury Legal Center, we are committed to advocating for cyclists and providing them with exceptional legal representation in California.
The Importance of Expert Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bicycle accidents can result in life-altering consequences for both the cyclist and their loved ones. Dealing with insurance companies and the legal complexities surrounding these accidents can be overwhelming. Having an expert bicycle accident attorney in California by your side can significantly impact your ability to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in California
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California witnessed 455 bicycle-related fatalities between 2016 and 2018. Counties such as Los Angeles, Sacramento, Orange, and San Bernardino had the highest rates of bicyclist deaths. The majority of fatalities occurred in the 45 to 55 age group, with males being more frequently involved than females. It is worth noting that 62% of fatally injured riders were not wearing helmets, according to the updated 2022 California bicycle accident statistics.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
After being involved in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to follow these three essential steps:
Seek immediate medical attention if necessary. Your health should be the top priority, so call 911 or ask someone to take you to the nearest hospital if needed.
Gather evidence at the accident scene, including photographs of injuries and property damage. Collect contact information from witnesses for future statements, if necessary.
Contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer right away. A skilled attorney will guide you through the claims process and advise you on how to proceed with your case.
California Bicycle Laws After an Accident
Understanding California bicycle laws is crucial after a bicycle accident. Here are some key laws to keep in mind:
- Helmet laws: Cyclists under 18 years of age are required to wear helmets while riding on public roads. It is highly recommended for cyclists of all ages to wear helmets.
- Traffic laws: Bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motorists, including stopping at stop signs or red lights, using hand signals, and riding with the flow of traffic.
- Bike lane laws: Drivers must give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing. Bicyclists should utilize bike lanes when available.
- Lighting laws: Bicyclists must have a white headlamp visible from 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle. They must also have a red rear reflector visible from 500 feet and reflectors on the pedals.
E-bikes rules and regulations to keep in mind:
Classes of E-Bikes:
- Class 1: Pedal-assisted e-bikes with a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour and a motor that assists only when the rider is pedaling.
- Class 2: Throttle-assisted e-bikes with a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour and a motor that can be used without pedaling.
- Class 3: Pedal-assisted e-bikes with a maximum assisted speed of 28 miles per hour.
- Maximum Speed Limit:
The maximum speed an e-bike can travel in California is 28 miles per hour on public roads. E-bikes may be prohibited on most freeways, so pay attention to posted signs.
Other rules to consider are:
- Age Requirements:
Riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet.
- Helmet Laws:
Riders of Class 3 e-bikes must wear a helmet, regardless of age. Riders of Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are not required to wear a helmet, but it is strongly recommended.
- Riding on Bike Lanes and Paths
Only Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are allowed on bike lanes and paths in California. Riders must yield to pedestrians and exercise caution when passing other cyclists.
- Riding on Streets and Roads:
E-bikes are legal on streets and roads in California. Riders must follow the same rules and regulations as traditional bicycles, including obeying traffic signals, stopping at stop signs or traffic lights, and riding in the same direction as traffic.
- DUI Laws:
Riders of e-bikes are subject to the same DUI laws as motorists in California. It is illegal to ride an e-bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Equipment Requirements:
E-bikes must be equipped with certain safety features, including brakes that allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 20 miles per hour, a white headlight visible from 300 feet, a red tail light visible from 500 feet, and reflectors on the pedals and rear of the bike.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in California
Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents is crucial for both cyclists and motorists. Here are some factors that contribute to bicycle accidents in California:
- Distracted drivers who are using their phones, listening to loud music, or engaging in other distractions may overlook bicyclists on the road, leading to accidents.
- Speeding drivers have reduced reaction time, making it difficult for them to respond to unexpected situations involving bicyclists.
- Failure to Yield:Drivers who fail to yield to bicyclists at intersections, crosswalks, and other locations put cyclists at risk of serious accidents.
- Dooring:When a driver opens their car door without looking or leaves it open for an extended period, it can result in collisions with passing bicyclists.
- Lack of Visibility:Poor visibility due to bad weather conditions or low light situations increases the probability of bike accidents. Cyclists can improve visibility by wearing reflective clothing and using lights on their bikes.
- Poor Road Conditions:Uneven roads, potholes, debris, and other road conditions can cause cyclists to lose control and crash. Cyclists should be aware of their surroundings and avoid dangerous road conditions.
- Riding Against Traffic:Riding in the opposite direction of traffic is dangerous and increases the risk of head-on collisions with motorists. Cyclists must ride with traffic and obey all traffic laws.
- Riding Under the Influence: Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and extremely dangerous
Types of Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can result in a range of injuries, varying in severity. Common types of injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include:
- Head and Brain Injuries: Wearing a helmet is crucial to reduce the risk of head injuries, which can have long-term effects on cognitive function and overall quality of life.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Severe bicycle accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- Fractures and Bone Injuries: Cyclists may suffer fractures to the arms, legs, ribs, or collarbones. Fractures can range from minor hairline fractures to complex compound fractures requiring surgery and prolonged recovery periods.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries include bruises, cuts, abrasions, and road rash. If not properly treated, these injuries can lead to infections or permanent scarring.
- Internal Injuries: In high-impact accidents, cyclists can sustain internal injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Immediate medical intervention and surgery may be necessary.
Contact Injury Legal Center Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in California, don't hesitate to contact Injury Legal Center. Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys are here to protect your rights, guide you through the legal process, and fight for the compensation you deserve.