There are certain types of tracks that can present a danger to a California bicyclist. Hardly-used or abandoned rail tracks present hidden hazards to cyclists and can cause them bodily injuries. They are dangerous and present traction problems when they run on the roadway in the direction of traffic, and even more so when they cross the road at a curve or angle (not easily seen by the bike rider). A bike wheel or both of the bike's wheels can easily get caught in the space between rail and road, causing the cyclist to crash or be thrown into a car or other dangerous objects that can cause severe injury. The public entity’s (a city, or county government for example) liability for a California bike accident caused by rail tracks depends on a two-part analysis:
1. What is the rail/track position? If the tracks run in the direction of traffic or cross on a curve or angle, they are dangerous to cyclists as they present hidden dangers. Tracks that are perpendicular to the road are not particularly dangerous, and as a result, are a lot safer.
2. What has the public entity done, if anything, to reduce the hazard to bicycle riders? If the rails are dangerous and no longer used, the public entity could have removed or covered them in order to prevent future bicycle accidents. If the rails are obviously dangerous and still in use, the public entity must provide sufficient warning to cyclists, such as warning signs, or other attempts to give notice to the public at large.