Many residents in San Diego and throughout Southern California enjoy riding bicycles for exercise and as a means of inexpensive transportation. However, biking can be dangerous on our congested roads when motorists engage in negligent behaviors.
If you or a family member is injured in a bicycle accident, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. At the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, our San Diego auto accident attorney has the expertise to help you obtain the justice and damages you deserve to aid your recovery.
Seven Reasons Negligent Drivers Cause Bicycle Accidents
The California Bicycle Coalition outlines laws for bike riders regularly, including when someone can ride on a sidewalk, whether you can carry items while riding, how to ride with traffic, regulations for electric bikes, and how to equip your bike for safety.
But the majority of bicycle accidents are caused by operators of much larger and heavier motor vehicles and trucks. Here are some reasons why.
Not Maintaining a Safe Distance
All motorists have a duty to maintain a safe distance from vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles also on the road so they can stop or slow down quickly when necessary. When they breach this responsibility, they can cause a bicyclist to suffer injuries in a rear-end collision.
Not Yielding Right of Way at Intersections
Vehicle operators are required to yield right of way to bicycle riders at intersections and stop signs. Unfortunately, it's all to easy for drivers to forget this rule, so when bicyclists proceed under their right of way, an accident occurs.
It's not enough to simply slam on your brakes when you see a bicyclist—you need a combination of thinking distance and braking distance to come to a complete stop, even if you're only traveling 20 mph on a residential street. Each tick over the speed limit compromises safety.
Bicyclists are less visible, so when a vehicle driver is talking on a cellphone, texting, eating and drinking, or engaged in other distracted driving practices, these behaviors dramatically increase the risk that they won't see a rider before it's too late.
Opening a Vehicle Door
When a vehicle is parked on the street, drivers and their passengers must check for oncoming traffic before opening their doors. Referred to as "dooring," a bike rider who hits a door or tries to avoid one by swerving into traffic or popping a curb is in serious danger.
Making Improper Right Turns
Some cars and most large trucks have blind spots along both sides. When drivers fail to check their blind spots before turning right, they can collide with a rider who has the legal right to proceed.
Operating a vehicle while drunk or high on drugs reduces a person's vision, reaction time, and other crucial driving skills. Because of this, a motorist under the influence might not see a nearby bike rider or be unable to respond quickly enough to avoid a crash.
Compensation You May Be Entitled to in a Bicycle Accident
You could suffer devastating injuries in a bicycle accident, such as back and spine conditions, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, or internal organ damage. Under California law, the negligent driver or trucker is responsible for injury compensation.
You can recover both past and future damages, which is important if you suffered a long-term injury that requires medical treatments in the future and forces you to take time off work. Compensation you may be entitled to includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one was killed
How We Can Help You Obtain the Justice You Deserve
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, you must prove the fault of the driver. You need an experienced car accident attorney to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and collect all the proper evidence to hold the motorist accountable.