The "Left Cross" Type Accident (Motor Vehicle vs. Bicycle)

The "left cross" type accident occurs frequently in California.  In this type of bike versus car accident, the car driver and bicyclist approach the intersection from opposite directions.  As they both enter the intersection, the motorist turns left, colliding with the cyclist.  Most often, the car driver did not see the cyclist or misjudged the cyclist’s speed.  Remember, this can be difficult from a moving car, which makes it imperative for car driver to look or anticipate a cyclist or pedestrian at an intersection. In most of these type of cases, the driver of the car will be liable (at fault) to the cyclist for failure to yield.

Safety again becomes paramount to the bicyclist.  The cyclist can take safety measures to reduce the risk of these type of bike accidents:

  • maximize your visibility (during both day light and night time).  Remember, bright clothing for day time, and proper lighting at night.  See my FAQ section on this.
  • adjust your speed at the intersection so that you can brake quickly if necessary; just as the motorist should anticipate you, you should anticipate the motorist!
  • consider taking the entire lane through the intersection to increase your visibility to cars. The consequence of this approach is that you may annoy motorists behind you, but you have every right under California law to control your lane of travel (remember you are considered a "motor vehicle" as a bicyclist);
  • do not attempt to cross the intersection by riding into the crosswalk from the sidewalk — this makes it even more difficult for the motorist to see you.  Look out for the motorist not paying attention, and try to make eye contact at all times! Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Pedestrian Injury Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights.  It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.