Californians enjoy bike riding for work, personal errands, and fun, but cyclists sometimes forget that crashes are common as they share the road with other drivers.
You do have rights if you are hurt due to someone else’s negligence, and a bike accident lawyer can tell you more about your specific legal options.
However, by reviewing how the most common bike accidents happen, you can protect against them happening in the first place.
Motorist Opening a Door
This scenario is among the top causes of bicycle accidents, when motorists are unaware that a bike rider is approaching. Many drivers let their guard down once they shut off the engine because they consider themselves as being no longer behind the wheel. Therefore, a motorist does not often check before opening the door and the rider plows right into it at a high speed.
Stop Signs and Intersections
California’s Rules of the Road require all bicyclists to follow the same traffic laws and regulations as drivers of cars and other motorized vehicles. However, not all motorists and bike riders are aware of this statute. Many accidents happen when a driver and a bicyclist both approach an intersection with a two-way stop, but one does not comply with the law.
Motorist Right Turn
Sometimes referred to as the “right hook,” this maneuver is one of the most common bike accidents because of motorist negligence. When a driver overtakes a bike rider on the right, he or she may go on to make a right turn. The motorist may not realize how fast the bicyclist is traveling, and the right turn forces the vehicle into the path of the oncoming rider. There can be serious injuries for the cyclist, who is often projected over the hood of the car and onto the pavement.
Rear End Bicycle Accidents
Rear end collisions are unfortunately just as common with bicycle crashes as they are with car collisions. The circumstances are more dangerous at certain times of day, particularly early morning and evening when visibility is low. You can protect yourself by wearing brightly colored clothing, applying reflective patches to the back of your shirt and pants, and always donning a helmet.
Designated Bicycle Lane Laws
California does have a statewide law regarding bicycle lanes, requiring riders to use them where available and designating limited situations for passing outside them. Accidents often occur when the driver, the cyclist, or both do not understand the laws. A motorist may not expect the rider to stray outside a designated bike lane when doing so is allowed, such as:
- When the cyclist is making a left turn;
- There is debris within the bike lane and the rider goes outside to avoid it; or,
- The bicyclist is overtaking another rider.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Knowledgeable Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Understanding the most causes of bicycle accidents may help you stay safe when riding, but incidents still happen despite exercise of caution. If you were injured and want to know more about your legal remedies, please contact Wakeford Gelini to set up a free appointment.
You can reach our office by calling 415.569.7495 or going online.