Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable persons on our roads, and are involved in an inordinate number of injuries and fatal accidents every year. Most of these accidents can be blamed on motorist error or negligence, and lack of a safe biking environment. Our Walnut Creek law firm has 60+ years of combined experience handling bicycle accident cases throughout Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.
Bicycling has been heavily promoted as a mode of transportation, and as a result, there has been an increase in the number of bicyclists on our roads. However, this increase in the number of bicyclists has not been met with a corresponding enhancement in bicycling infrastructure and safely precautions. In California, the existing bicycle infrastructure, including bike lanes, is often woefully inadequate. This places bicyclists at harm because they’re frequently in close, potentially deadly, contact with motorists. These problems are quite prevalent in the San Francisco East Bay. Notably, Contra Costa County became the most dangerous county for bicyclists in Northern California last year according to the Bay Citizen.
Common Causes and Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Most bicycle accidents are caused because motorists fail to yield right-of-way to persons on bicycles. Other causes include motorist unawareness and speeding. Sometimes a road hazard may also cause or contribute to an accident.
Often a bicyclist may have only their helmet to protect them from injuries in an accident, and is therefore at risk of serious injuries during a collision with a vehicle. Typically, a bicyclist involved in an accident with a car, truck, or bus may suffer from spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, fractures, road rash, lacerations and other injuries.
Important California Bicycle Laws
- Pedestrian Right of Way – In a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk bicycle riders and drivers are required to yield to pedestrians.
- Stop Behind the Crosswalk – Make sure to leave crosswalks clear for pedestrians and remember to stop behind the line.
- Stay on the Street – No one over 16 years of age may ride on sidewalks except where signs are posted allowing bicycles.
- Ride With Traffic Flow – Remember to bike the same direction as traffic. Walk your bike on the sidewalk if you find yourself on the wrong block of a one-way street.
- Act Like a Auto Driver – Stop at stop signs and obey red lights, just like all other vehicles.
- Use a Light at Night – Reflectors and a front white light are required by law. We recommend you use a rear light as well.
- Use of the Lane When Necessary – If you’re riding next to parked cars, or there are other hazards in the bike lane, such as fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes use the main lane to feel safer.
- Permitted to leave the Bike Lane – If you feel safer outside the bike lane, you can ride in other lanes of vehicle traffic.
The California bicycle accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP represent persons who have been injured in bicycle accidents across California.