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Bicycle Accidents Caused By Animals: Cyclists May Have Legal Recourse

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In most bicycle accidents, the cause can be attributed to a handful of things. Among the top five are driver error, cyclist error, hazardous conditions, faulty equipment and medical emergency (e.g. sudden heart attack). However, as a Florida Today reporter pointed out earlier this year, animals may cause bicycle accidents too.

Accidents Involving Domestic Animals on the Run

The cause behind the reported accident was a box turtle but other animals have been known to get in the way of cyclists as well. FOX21 News reported on one such accident that occurred this past spring. That one involved an at-large canine. Our state does have dog leash laws meant to prevent bicycle accidents. But of course, it doesn’t address other stray animals or the occasional, wayward box turtle.

Current laws dictate that canines are not allowed to roam bicycle paths or other public areas without being on a leash and under control of their respective owners. So even if a dog was tied up before it broke free and caused a bicycle accident, it doesn’t matter. The owner may be responsible for costs associated with the accident, including the cyclists’ medical bills.

Wild Animals and Their Owners Aren’t Beyond Reproach

Leash laws are not the only animal related ones that may influence the outcome of bicycle accident cases. In some cases, strict liability laws commonly mentioned during civil jury instruction may apply (See Series 400 Negligence, Section 461). For instance, let’s assume that the box turtle was a pet. Although the person may have thought of the box turtle as a pet, chances are an argument could be made against that.

If deemed a wild animal by the court, the injured cyclist could potentially sue the person under the section of law we just mentioned. So you see, in our state, there is more to bicycle vs. animal related accidents than meets the eye. To learn more about domestic and wild animals’ possible impact on bicycle accidents in California, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

Study Find Cyclists Have Higher Accident Risk When intersections Aren’t Right Angles

Friday, January 20, 2017

If you cycle every day, then you are already aware that intersections pose a huge risk to your safety on the road. If you haven’t read the statistics, then you found out firsthand how careless cars are to your rights at these junctions. However, a new study finds that not only are bicycle accidents more likely at intersections, but that statistic is only increased when the intersection is not at a right angle.

Using GPS, the study tracked 3,266 bicycle crashes throughout New York City, gathering data on intersection angles, street width, speed limits, and average traffic level. The majority of the crashes, over 60 percent, happened at intersections. When these crashes were compared to intersection angles, it found that cyclists were 37 percent more likely to crash at non-right angle intersections.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that crashes that didn’t happen at intersections were 31 percent more likely to cause serious injury. The study also found that crashes were likely to happen on narrow streets.

So what does this mean for the everyday cyclist? Well, unfortunately, you can never predict if a crash is going to happen, but at least now we know to watch out at non-right angle intersections more cautiously. This new study will also help city planners of blossoming cycling cities to better plan streets for both cyclist and car safety.

If you have been in a cycling accident at a non-right angle intersection or otherwise, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of the ever-growing cyclist community.

Could the Way You Turn Be an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Friday, January 13, 2017

If you are just starting off with biking in high traffic areas, there is so much to learn. However, people rarely think that the way they ride their bike is one of them. This has led to even seasoned veteran cyclists not focusing so much on how they ride so long as they follow the rules of the road. However, could it be an accident waiting to happen?

No matter whether you like to ride fast or are a dedicated slow rider, the way you turn on the road could be a set up for a major accident, if it hasn’t caused one already.

But how could a turn make such a difference? You just turn the handlebars, right? Unfortunately, just turning with only your handlebars is a slow and unsteady process that definitely won’t allow you to respond in an emergency situation. Turning this way is so old-fashioned, and while it works fine in less crowded area, in the city, you need a more responsive way.

Before heading out into high traffic areas, go find yourself an empty parking lot and practice this new way. Instead of awkwardly jerking your handlebars to turn, try slightly shifting your weight to the right or left depending on which way you are turning. Notice when you lean into it, the bike follows and you don’t really need to use your handlebars. This turn allows you to not only turn faster and with more stability, but you can easily snap back in the event of an emergency situation.

No matter whether the turn was to blame or not, if you were in a cycling accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to fighting for the rights of cyclists.

Should You Be Using Bicycle Mirrors?

Friday, December 02, 2016

No matter where you do it, bicycling allows for a lot of freedoms. You can modify your bike and any accessories to make it uniquely yours. However, one of the lesser used bicycle accessories is bike mirrors. These can be attached to your handlebars or poking out from your helmet.

Ideally, these mirrors allow you to see behind you in your blind spots so that you don't need to shoulder check yourself all the time. After all, cars have mirrors for just that purpose, why shouldn't bikes? Unfortunately, bikes and cars are two different vehicles. In a car, no one can see you checking your shoulder so you use mirrors and signals to do it. On a bike, you have your proper hand signals, but the act of looking over your shoulder is a good indicator that you might need to scoot over a bit to avoid a parked car. Mirrors take away the need for that.

However, bike mirrors are not without their benefits. Particularly during night-time driving, the reflective nature of the mirrors make it easier for cars to spot you.

But do you need bicycle mirrors as an accessory? Probably not. They have their uses, but more often than not, they make us forget the crucial shoulder check, and that can be dangerous. This lack of bicycling habits that have been formed for safety can cause terrible accidents. If you have been the victim of a bicycle-related accident on the part of another vehicle, you may have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to find out what options you have.


The Importance of Witnesses in Bicycle Accidents

Monday, November 28, 2016

Being hit while on your bike is a pretty traumatic experience, and hopefully it will never happen to you. However, if it does, after checking if you and the driver are alright, you need to make sure you have a witness available to you if any injuries or damages occur. 

Ideally, in the event of an accident, you and the driver want to wait for the police to arrive. If the drive tries to flee the scene, there really isn't much you can do to stop them accept write down their license plate number as well as the make, model, and color of their car. If the driver is cooperating, ask anyone that was witness to the accident and is still around the area to write down their version of events as well as providing their name and number.

Having a written record as well as a few witnesses to call on makes the version of events pretty clear, especially once the adrenaline wears down and you start to get foggy on the details. By having at least one witness to the scene of the crime, it prevents the accident from both parties claiming they were not at fault. If you end up in court seeking damages, it makes the case pretty cut and dry, allowing you to avoid a long court battle.

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident and want to know if any legal recourse is available to you, witnesses present or no, contact us today.

Bicycle Accidents on the Rise In Chicago This Summer

Friday, October 14, 2016

Bicycling is on the rise, especially among twenty-somethings. Combine the benefits -- great exercise, no fuel costs, maneuverability -- and you've got a great way to get around. But along with the benefits, there are also plenty of risks such as low-visibility, failure to wear helmets, making risky maneuvers and taking unnecessary chances in the interest of shaving a few minutes off a commute, are among the things that cause accidents between cyclists and motor vehicles. On September 4th of this year, the Chicago Tribune ran an editorial about the alarming increase in fatal bicycle accidents in an around the city, urging both cyclists and vehicle operators to be more careful and alert.

The editorial, entitled Bicyclists, be careful. Motorists be watchful. Everyone, slow down, chronicled several fatal accidents that occurred on the streets of the city this summer:

  • In June, a 29-year-old bicycle messenger headed for Lake Michigan after work was struck and killed by a tour bus on North Michigan Avenue just a few hundred yards from his beach destination.
  • In July, a 25-year-old bike-share cyclist collided with a flatbed truck and was killed.
  • In August, a 20-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was bicycling on North Michigan Avenue when a semi-truck crossed into the bike lane and fatally struck her. Just one day later, a 58-year-old man was killed by a cargo van while bicycling in Garfield Park.

The article goes on to note that these accidents are not unusual. They actually mirror a nationwide trend. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, bicycling accidents actually increased 12.2% in 2015.

Bicyclists and cars share the same roads, and both are responsible for changing these statistics by obeying traffic laws, watching out for pedestrians and pets, and respecting other drivers whether they're in a car, a truck or on a 10-speed.

If you've been injured in a bicycling accident in the State of California contact us. Attorney Brustin is an avid cyclist himself and has been protecting cyclists rights for the past twenty years and counting!

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents at Intersections

Friday, August 26, 2016

Most bicycle accidents involve only the person riding the bicycle.  In fact, according to Nolo.com, only 11% of bicycle accidents occur with an automobile.  Of these collisions, however, nearly half happen at an intersection, making these traffic areas particularly hazardous for people on bikes.

Why are traffic intersections so dangerous for cyclists?   Cars may not come to a complete stop at the traffic signal, or drivers may only be looking for oncoming cars and trucks before proceeding through a turn.   Traffic intersections are usually busy, with many cars traveling in different directions.  This alone increases the chances of a bicycle-car collision.  

When approaching a traffic intersection, cyclists should proceed with caution.  In all 50 states, bicycles are vehicles, and they must follow the rules of the road. This means following the same traffic laws as automobiles.  Cyclists should come to a complete stop at stop lights and stop signs.  They should not run through yellow lights.  They should wait for a green light before proceeding through an intersection and look both ways to ensure that no traffic is barreling toward them.

Cyclists must also follow traffic laws that apply to intersections without a traffic signal.  If a bicycle and an automobile arrive at such an intersection, then the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way.  If a bicycle and the automobile arrive at the same time, then the vehicle to the right has the right of way. 

Carefully follow intersection traffic laws, and you will decrease your chances of being involved in a bicycle-automobile collision.   Yet accidents do happen.  If you are a cyclist and have been in a car collision that was not your fault, then contact us.  We are the Law Office of Gary Brustin and are here to protect your cyclist rights.

Bicycle Accidents are Sometimes Caused by Dangerous Road Conditions

Friday, August 12, 2016

vehicles around you. But, unfortunately, it may seem that the favor is not returned, at least in the way of road maintenance. If you find yourself injured due to a crack in the road, you may find that the municipality tells you they're not responsible for keeping the road safe for bicycles, only for automobiles. 

Sometimes Accidents are Unavoidable

You've probably been riding around from time to time and encountered these dangerous cracks or breaks in the road. Sometimes, you're able to navigate around them, but other times, you find yourself in a situation where hitting the crack is unavoidable, whether that be because of road conditions, road debris or traffic. When this happens, you may find yourself holding your breath and praying you survive this bicycle accident

Serious Injury

Cracks in the road can cause serious injury to riders, and what makes matters worse is that these cracks seem to be present in the shoulder of the road, where bicyclists are expected to ride. Road maintenance crews are more interested in keeping the main part of the roadway safe for vehicles, but they tend to neglect the shoulder areas to keep things safe for bicyclists as well.

If you're been injured due to dangerous road conditions, whether that condition was on the shoulder or in another area of the road, reach out to our experienced team

Three Fatal Bicycle Accidents in 24-Hour Period Stun the Bay Area

Friday, August 05, 2016

In just 24 hours, three separate and fatal bicycle accidents left the Bay Area reeling. San Francisco police officials indicated that two of the accidents were of the hit-and-run variety.

These accidents were the result of speeding and negligent driver actions, providing a sobering reminder of how far San Francisco must go to achieve its Vision Zero goals. Vision Zero, for reference, is San Francisco's plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the city by 2024.

Additionally, it also provides a sobering reminder to bicyclists that bicycle safety is not entirely up to the bicyclist. When a bicyclist is injured by a negligent driver, the injured victim may be entitled to legal compensation.

Bicycle Accident Injuries 

Bicycle accidents may not be avoidable, but you can receive justice if you have been the victim of a driver's negligent and reckless behavior.

Common bicycle accident injuries include:

  • Rear-end accidents caused by a passing vehicle
  • Side-swipe collisions caused by a passing vehicle
  • Being struck by a door on either the driver or passenger side
  • Left turning and right turning vehicles
  • Dog attacks
  • And more

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident, contact a California bicycle accident attorney without delay. Waiting to receive justice can lead to the loss of evidence or could harm future negotiations with the driver and/or the driver's insurance company.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a bicycle accident, contact us for a legal consultation. We protect the legal rights of injured cyclists just like you and fight for your right to receive deserved compensation.

 

Tragic Bicycle Accident In Western Michigan

Friday, July 15, 2016

Many bicyclists across the country have focused their attention on news of a tragic Western Michigan crash that took the lives of five bicyclists and seriously injured four others. It is one of the worst bicycle accidents in some time. 

The accident happened in Cooper Township, just south of Grand Rapids, around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, according to CBS News.

Police Received Calls Before Crash

In the minutes before the fatal crash, various law enforcement agencies received complaints about a pickup truck traveling erratically. Police then searched for the pickup before the fatal accident.

One witness told a local reporter he was leaving a local park when he was nearly struck by the pickup truck. He did not have time to warn the bicyclists, and he witnessed the pickup strike the group of bicyclists soon thereafter.

Motorist Flees

After the vehicle struck the bicyclists, it reportedly spun around and came to a stop in a front yard. The 50-year-old male motorist reportedly fled the scene, although he was captured while on foot a short time later.

Emergency personnel transported four bicyclists with serious injuries to area hospitals, and five bicyclists died at the scene.

When bicyclists are injured or killed due to a motorist's negligence of a driver, it is possible for victims and survivors to seek compensation for a variety of losses, including but not limited to, medical expenses, pain, suffering and lost wages. When a bicyclist dies, survivors often seek compensation for loss of companionship and burial expenses.

If you or a loved one is in a bicycle accident, it is possible to discuss the matter with a bicycle accident lawyer. Our firm does not charge for this consultation. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us.


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We handle cases throughout California, including the cities of:  

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