Bicycle accidents can result from a range of factors, many of which are driver-related. It is important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in California. It is especially important after a bicycle accident in Los Angeles California.
Bicycles are a great way to travel, but they leave their riders exposed in the event of a motor vehicle collision. Like any other accidents, in order to hold the driver accountable, you need to be able to prove that they were negligent in causing the collision.
Even though you were struck by another driver does not necessarily mean that the driver’s insurance company will accept fault right away. In order to file a successful claim, you need to demonstrate that the driver was responsible for the crash. That being said, contacting Aratta Law after a bicycle accident will set you in the right direction. Our office will conduct our own investigation, including requesting police reports, taking statements from witnesses, any video footage that may have caught the accident, and making sure your rights of recovery are not violated by the insurance companies.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS?
As one can expect, when an accident takes place between an automobile and a bike, it’s the cyclist who is most likely to be injured. Some of the common causes of bicycle related accidents involve:
- Distracted drivers
- Following too closely to cyclist
- Excessive speed
- Weaving through traffic
- Unsafe lane changes
- Unsafe turns
- Stop sign or red light violations
- Failure to yield
- Driving intoxicated
Whether you ride your bike on your daily commute or for exercise, the reality is that you face risks every time you hit the road.
BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAW – CALIFORNIA
The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes must operate. For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. (CVC 21200). This means stopping at stop signs and traffic lights, yielding when required, and taking reasonable care to avoid acts that may injure others on the road.
- If you’re moving as fast as traffic, you can ride your bicycle wherever you want
- If you’re moving slower than traffic, you can “take the lane” if it’s not wide enough for a bike and a vehicle to safely share side-by-side. (CVC 21202)
- On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclist traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane, except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. (CDC21208)
- Once a bike lane is separated from moving traffic with posts or car parking or anything else, it’s no longer a “bike lane” according to the law; it’s a “separated bikeway.” CVC 21208 does not apply. You may ride outside of the separated bikeway for any reason. (SHC 890.4d)
- Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction. (CVC 21650)
- Gas-powered bicycles and type 3 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 28 mph) may not be used on trails or bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. They may be used in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway. CVC 21207.5. They require helmets and may not be operated by people under age 16.
- No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path. (CVC 21211)
- Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks. (CVC 21206)
- Bicycles (including motorized bicycles) may not be ridden on freeways and expressways where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities. (CVC 21960)
CYCLING RELATED INJURIES
A bicycle is no match for an automobile. Riders can be severely injured in bicycle accidents, especially when they’re not wearing protective gear. People falling off their bike have no control over their body, especially when riding at an excessive speed. Some of the injuries from bicycle falls include:
- Head contusions or traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Strains and sprains
- Swelling and bruising
- Skull fractures
- Facial fractures
Some riders may brush it off and ignore the symptoms that they’re feeling. Even if you’re involved in a minor bicycle accident, there could be serious injuries that you may not recognize right away.
WHY CHOOSE ARATTA LAW FIRM?
At our firm, every injured client will be in direct contact with an attorney. Many large corporate law firms end up transferring you to a case manager – you never speak to an attorney directly and your case becomes part of the mill.
At our firm, we do things different. We pay close attention to every individual case, from the inception and throughout the process of the claim / lawsuit. Our diligence and attention to detail result in consistent higher settlements, which adds up to a higher compensation for you, the client.
ATTORNEY’S ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE
Even though you may have a solid personal injury claim, the skill and the attentiveness of your attorney can also considerably impact how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. If your injury claim is negotiated by a case manager, assigned to your file at a firm, and not an attorney, your claim may end up settling for a lesser amount. This is because adjusters know who they’re dealing with and how aggressive the firm is when settling injury cases. Insurance adjuster also know who they can bully into accepting lower settlements.
An attorney’s ability to negotiate a settlement is, in many ways, the most important skill an attorney possesses. Lawyers who are effective negotiators know the importance of timing, preparation and strategy. That being said, our firm recognizes the importance of precision, timing and subsequent results, which is the foundation of Aratta Law. At our firm, nothing happens by luck but by great preparation and good strategy.