California has more cities that rank at the top for having the most bicyclists than any other state.
Unfortunately, the state has also seen a rise in the number of bicycle collision fatalities. In fact, bike fatalities have hit a 25 year high.
As a cyclist, there are some things you can do to prevent collisions, but you can’t always account for the negligence of others on the road. Because of the nature of bicycle collisions, bicycle injures are often severe.
Keep reading to learn more about how to stay safe on the road as a cyclist and how to understand your legal rights if you sustain a bicycle injury.
Types of Bicycle Collisions
It can be helpful to understand how bicycle accidents happen to get a better idea of how to prevent them. The most common types of bicycle collisions that lead to a bicycle injury include:
- Wrong-way collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Right cross collisions
- Left cross collisions
- Right hook collisions
- Door collisions
- Red light/Stop sign collisions
- Drunk/Distracted driving collisions
- Uncontrolled intersection collisions
The biggest factors that come into play with bicycle collisions and injuries are low bicyclist visibility, high rates of speed, poor protection offered by bicycles, and driver/cyclist error. Following general road safety and bike safety guidelines is the best way to prevent a bicycle collision.
Preventing Bicycle Injuries and Collisions
There are steps that both drivers and cyclists can take to prevent a bicycle collision. Drivers should always be on the lookout for bicyclists and remember to share the road. Bicyclists should be on the lookout for cars and drive defensively.
What Bicyclists Can Do
The first rule of bike safety is remembering that bicyclists have the same rights – but also the same responsibilities – as motor vehicle drivers. This means it’s important for bicyclists to ride safely and follow the rules of the road.
Bicyclists should always wear helmets. Remember that a helmet is only useful if it fits properly. Preparing before you hit the road can help prevent crashes.
If possible, plan your route ahead of time. Choose routes that offer slower speeds and less traffic. Opt for routes with bike lanes or bike paths.
Make sure your bike is in good working order and fits you. You should always have control over your bike.
Make sure your clothing and bike are easily visible. During the day you should wear bright clothing. At night, you should wear reflective gear.
Equip your bike with reflective gear, a white front light, and red rear light. Always stay focused and alert. Assume other vehicles don’t see you and drive accordingly.
Never drive distracted. Put your phone away and always look for hazards. Follow all traffic laws and ride in the same direction as traffic.
You should also ride predictably.
What Drivers Can Do
As a motor vehicle driver, you should always be on the lookout for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Remember that bicyclists have the same rights as motorists, so you may need to yield to them.
When turning or backing up, always look out for bicycles. Never underestimate the speed of oncoming bicyclists to avoid turning in front of them. Follow the speed limit and give bicyclists plenty of room, especially when passing them.
Types of Bicycle Injuries
When a car and a bicycle collide, the bicyclist is more likely to suffer serious injuries. This is because riders are exposed on bicycles.
This also means bicycle collisions with motor vehicles are more likely to be fatal.
Here are the most common types of bicycle injury following a collision with a motor vehicle:
- Arm injuries
- Leg injuries
- Head injuries
- Face and neck injuries
- Abdomen and pelvis injuries
- Lower back injuries
- Upper back and spine injuries
- Chest injuries
- Leg bruises
- Lacerations and open wounds
Your Legal Rights After a Bicycle Collision and Injury
As a cyclist, it’s important to remember that the rules of the road apply to you as much as motor vehicle drivers. There are a number of common scenarios where the cyclist is at fault for the accident. These include:
- Failing to stop at stop signs
- Failing to use the bike lane
- Failing to yield
- Cycling on the wrong side of the street
- Riding against the flow of traffic
- Turning abruptly without signaling
In these cases, some or all of the liability may fall on the cyclist.
Generally, there is an exception to cyclist liability laws. If the cyclist is a child, they can’t be held to the same standard of care as an adult and the blame may automatically fall on the driver.
If you were involved in a bicycle collision that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Bicycle laws can be complicated and are often changing as cycling becomes more common. It can be difficult to determine who was at fault and whether you have a legal right to damages.
This is why it’s so important to talk to an experienced bicycle injury attorney. A consultation is free and an attorney will evaluate your case and tell you more about your legal rights and recovering damages.
Do You Have a Bicycle Injury?
If you sustained a bicycle injury in an accident with a motor vehicle, you need to talk to an attorney today.
The sooner you talk to an attorney to learn more about your rights, the stronger your case will be. Our attorneys are standing by and ready to evaluate your case at no cost or obligation to you.
Click here to schedule your free consultation today to see what damages you could recover.