Call For A Free Consultation
800.841.2453

Cycling Law Blog

RSS

Bicyclists and the Doctrine of Comparative Fault

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Bicyclists in California can recover damages when they have suffered injuries in an accident. However, what happens in those cases where the bicyclist is at least partly to blame for the accident?

There are several ways that a bicyclist may contribute partly to his own injuries in an accident. For instance, he may fail to obey traffic laws. If you cross traffic lanes, or otherwise ride unsafely, you could possibly be blamed for the accident when one occurs.

Say for instance, you were riding down the wrong way on a one-way street, and were struck by a speeding car. A judge may determine that you were partly to blame because you were driving in the wrong direction. However, just because you are partly to blame in the accident, does not mean that you are absolutely not eligible for compensation recovery. It does mean that the compensation that you were eligible for will now be reduced by the percentage of your fault in the accident.

Determining whether you are at fault in the accident will fall on the judge. You can expect the insurer for the motorist involved in your accident to claim that damages should be reduced significantly because you were very much to blame for causing your own injuries. However, a judge will determine how much you were to blame in the accident. If the judge believes that you were not at all to blame in the accident, and the fault was that of the motorist, then you will be awarded 100% of the damages. However, if the judge believes that you were 20% negligent, then your damages will be reduced by 20%, and you will only receive 80 percent of the damages you would have been eligible for.

In any case, you must speak to a California bicycle accident lawyer if you have been injured in an accident. Determining fault and assigning percentages is a complicated process which judges will consider only with inputs from lawyers.

New Technology Helps Spinal Injury Patients Move Limbs

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brain and spinal injuries are some of the most devastating injuries impacting persons involved in bicycle accidents. Both of these are catastrophic injuries, and there is no complete cure for these injuries. Therefore, a new announcement by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle provides very encouraging new to California bicycle accident lawyers.

According to researchers, a 22-year-old quadriplegic is now the first patient to use the electronic bypass technology that directly reconnect the brain with muscles. The technology actually helps persons who suffered paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury to voluntarily and functionally control paralyzed limbs. The quadriplegic patient is the first in a group of five participants who have been chosen for a clinical study into the benefits of the device.

According to the researchers, the procedure works very much like a heart bypass surgery to bypass electrical signals. In this procedure, the electrical signals are taken from the brain, and go directly to the muscles, without touching the site of the injury. The technology is based on algorithms that analyze the person's brain activity, which translate the neuro impulses from the person's brain and transmit this information to the person’s paralyzed limb. In the case of this patient, his brain signals actually bypassed his injured spinal cord, and moved into his hand, allowing him to move his paralyzed hand. The technology is called NeuroBridge.

During a typical bicycle accident, when a bicyclist is thrown several feet away from the bicycle and lands on concrete with an impact, some of the most serious injuries that can occur involve the spinal cord and head. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been significant progress in developing technologies that help patients who have been paralyzed as a result of the spinal cord injury, move their limbs again.

Failure to Mandate Helmets in Bike Share Programs Linked to Increase in Head Injuries

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Cities in California that have kicked off bike- share programs must take the results of a new study very seriously. According to the study, the rate of bicycle accident-related head injuries in cities that have implemented bike-share programs has actually spiked since these programs were introduced. That is being traced to the fact that these bike-share programs don’t mandate that bicyclists who rent bicycles via the program wear helmets.

The study was conducted by a team of Canadian and American researchers who were specifically looking at the effect of bike share programs on a city’s head injury rates. They found that there was a 14% increased likelihood of suffering a head injury, in those cities where these bike-share programs have been implemented. Those injuries were serious enough for the people to require a visit to a trauma center. In control cities, where there was no comparable bike-share program, there was no such increase in bicycle-related head injuries.

The study does not prove conclusively to California bicycle accident lawyers that the bike share programs are linked to an increase in head injuries. For instance, the researchers did not analyze other factors in causing these brain injuries. For instance, the researchers did not analyze individual accidents and head injuries, and also did not know whether the persons who were involved in these accidents, were actually riding rental bicycles at the time of the accident. However, the study’s findings are intriguing, and seem to point to a possible link between the popularity of these bike-share programs, and an increased rate of head injuries.

Bike-share programs must mandate that bicyclists who rent the bicycles wear helmets. Currently, many of the programs only take nominal steps to protect bicyclists - they refer bicyclists to helmet rental facilities.

Risk of Bicycling Accidents Increases During Summer

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Summer is when ERs around California work at full capacity, and many of those cases involve bicycle accidents. There are more people out riding during summer, including adults as well as children, and the volume of motor vehicle traffic also increases during this time. That creates ideal conditions for accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles.

Bicyclists must be extra cautious during the summer months, simply because there are more numbers of motorists sharing the roads with them. Be a smart bicyclist, and always wear a helmet while riding.

Be aware of all traffic safety laws, and adhere to these rules stringently.

Ride in bike-only lanes or bike paths, as much as possible and when these are available. Ride in the direction or flow of traffic.

Avoid riding on sidewalks. Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians, and bicyclists only increase the risks of an accident involving a pedestrian when they ride on a sidewalk.

Wear brightly - colored clothing to make yourself visible to motorists around you.

Avoid bicycling at night as much as possible. If you are bicycling at night, wear reflective clothes or stick reflective tape on your bicycle, your clothes, helmet and other gear.

Avoid bicycling on highways.

Be extra cautious when you are nearing a parking lot or driveway. Motorists who are backing out may not bother to look out for you.

Be extra cautious when you're riding anywhere near an intersection.

Keep sufficient distance between your bicycle and a parked car to avoid having a passenger open the car door right in the path of your bicycle. These are some of the most serious accidents, and end in severe injuries, but many bicyclists fail to appreciate how dangerous these situations can be.

How to Make Your Child Wear a Bicycle Helmet

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Every child who rides a bicycle to school or anywhere else, must wear a bicycle helmet. That is the single most important piece of advice that any California bicycle accident lawyer would offer parents.

Unfortunately, bicycle helmet usage rates, which should be 100% among children, are not always so. Many children resist wearing a helmet for a variety of reasons, and parents simply go along. Children don't like helmets because they consider them uncomfortable or uncool. Parents need to be stricter about getting their children to wear bicycle helmets every time they ride.

Not wearing a bicycle helmet increases the risk of brain injury if the child is involved in an accident. The risk of brain injuries is present when an adult bicyclist is involved in an accident, but the risk of severe injuries may be greater when it is a child involved in a crash. That's because young brains are still growing, and may be much more vulnerable to the damaging effects of a sudden blow to the head, which often results in a bicycle accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children account for some of the highest rates of injuries in bicycle accidents. They account for close to 60% of all injuries in bicycle accidents.

Introduce your child to helmets early. A young child, who has begun wearing helmets, is likely to develop a habit of wearing helmets, and will continue wearing bicycle helmets as he grows older.

Get your children to help pick out a helmet. The helmet must be properly fitting. Let your child pick the color or design that he or she wants to.

It also goes without saying that you as an adult should model appropriate behaviors, and wear a bicycle helmet while riding.

Bicycling and Brain Injuries

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It’s no news that the bicyclist who is not wearing a helmet is at a much higher risk of suffering serious, and possibly even fatal brain injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, there were 800 bicyclist fatalities across the country in bicycle accidents, and more than 510,000 bicyclists bicycle accident-related injuries. Every year 26,000 bicycle injuries comprised of traumatic brain injuries.

These are some of the most serious injuries facing bicyclists, and a helmet can be a bicycle bicyclist’s sole chance of minimizing the risk of such injuries. Brain injuries are not only disabling and debilitating injuries, but also some of the most expensive injuries. An average brain injury victim can go through millions of dollars in expenses over a lifetime of care.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has been a 30% increase in the number of hospital emergency room visits that are linked to traumatic brain injury. The findings were seen over a four-year period, and the researchers believe that the increase in the number of emergency room visits is possibly the result of greater awareness about the dangers of brain injuries, especially milder injuries like concussions.

You can minimize your chances of suffering a brain injury in a bicycle accident. Wear a helmet every time you bicycle. If there are other people in your family who bicycle, make sure that they are all helmeted too. The helmet must be properly fitted, and must meet federal safety guidelines.

Children must be protected against these injuries, because their brains are still growing, and may be much more vulnerable to the long-term effects of injury. If your children refuse to wear a helmet, get them involved in the process of buying a helmet.

Take care to avoid being involved in an accident. Ride with the traffic flow, and not against it. Make sure that you're aware of all traffic signs and signals, and follow all traffic rules stringently. Learn the correct hand signals and use these correctly.

What to Do When You Have Been Involved in a Bicycle Accident

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It’s a situation that almost every bicyclist finds himself in sooner or later. Everybody has stories of crashes that they have been involved in, and if you’re lucky, you’ll walk away from these accidents with barely any injuries.

If you are involved in an accident, the first thing to do is avoid panic. Check yourself for injuries, and make sure that you are safe. Wait for paramedics to arrive at the scene, and get medical help for your injuries. If you’re able to, call 911 immediately. If, however, you are injured so badly that you cannot call 911, ask someone nearby to call 911 for you.

When police arrive at the scene of the bicycle accident, make sure that they take a report. It’s really important to get a police report of the accident. Many bicyclists make the mistake of walking away from the scene of an accident if their injuries are not very serious. Bicycle accidents are entirely preventable, and if you do not file a police report, then there is no record of the accident at all.

Try to get contact information from witnesses at the scene of the accident. The police doesn’t always get contact information from witnesses.

If you can, try to get photographs of everything, including the damage to your bicycle.

If the other motorist leaves the scene of the accident, note down the license plate number. Leaving the scene is almost always a sign of guilt.

If however, the other motorist has remained at the scene of the accident, exchange contact information with him, and note down his name, address, phone number, license number, and the date and location of the accident.

When you get back home, try to note down as many details of the accident as possible- these details will be handy later.

College Graduate? You May Be Less Likely to Suffer a Disabling Brain Injury

Friday, April 25, 2014

If you have a college degree, you may be much less likely to suffer from the long-term disabling effects of a brain injury in a bicycle accident. According to a new study, high education levels prevent a person from suffering the more disabling effects of a brain injury, and actually accelerate the process of recovery after an injury.

Those interesting results came from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, who found that high school dropouts were much more likely to feel the disabling effects of a brain injury over a year after the injury occurred. In sharp contrast, persons with higher education levels were able to get over the initial effects of their injury, and were able to recover much faster over the year after the injury.

These results could be attributed to brain strengthening due to regular use. Just like the human body gets physically fitter, tougher and stronger when it is exercised, the brain also is strengthened when it is frequently put to use through learning and studying. Such a brain that has been toughened through years of studying is much more likely to recover quickly from the effects of injury.

Wearing a helmet while bicycling could be your single biggest defense against a brain injury. A helmet decreases your risk of suffering a long-term disabling injury. A brain injury can have long-term financial consequences, and these injuries are typically some of the most expensive to treat. Wearing a bicycle helmet therefore, is an inexpensive investment.

Besides, bicycle helmets are typically brightly colored, which makes you even more visible to motorists, reducing your risk of being involved in an accident.

What You Can Do to Prevent Bicycle Accidents

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Most bicycle accidents are caused when a motorist fails to see a bicyclist in time to avoid an accident, or fails to yield to a bicyclist. However, that doesn't change the fact that bicyclists can take steps to protect their own selves and reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

If you are a novice bicyclist, it can help to take a bicycling class. The years that you spent bicycling back when you were a kid, doesn't count. Bicycling in traffic will require knowledge of traffic safety laws, and prevention strategies. For instance, a bicycling class can help you learn avoidance strategies, and gather the kind of bicycling skills that you will need if you want to avoid being involved in dangerous situations on the road.

Novice drivers can also benefit from hanging around with other bicyclists. Join a bicycling group. This can help you learn about the different challenges that bicyclists face these days. The bicycling situation in 2014 is vastly different from that which existed back when you were a kid. California bicycle accident lawyers find that there is widespread hostility from motorists who are frustrated at what they see as encroachment by bicyclists on the road. You will need tips on how to deal with these hostile motorists, and other bicyclists can help. Besides, riding in a group may be much safer than riding alone. If you want to ride for recreation, find a bicycling group in your area.

Be aware of all traffic safety laws. Many bicyclist fail to understand that the vehicles that they are riding count as vehicles, even if they are not motorized, and are subject to traffic safety laws. Besides, if you are following all the laws, it does help your case if you are injured in an accident and want to recover compensation. You are less likely to recover compensation if you were openly flouting the law at the time of the accident.

Alcohol May Be a Much Bigger Factor in Bicycle Accidents Than Believed

Sunday, March 23, 2014

According to a new study, widespread underreporting of alcohol as a factor in fatal accidents mean that the actual number of fatal collisions that involve drunk driving, could be much greater than we currently believe.

That information came from researchers who analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Information on drunk driving from the system was then compared with the information on death certificates.

The researchers found in the analysis that between 1999 and 2009, approximately 3% of all death certificates mentioned drunk driving as the contributing factor in the accident fatality. However, from highway data, the researchers found that 21% of people killed in the accident were legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

According to the authors, the reason for this discrepancy in statistics is possibly because alcohol is very often not mentioned as the contributing factor in death certificates, because the blood-alcohol test results have not come in at the time of compiling with certificate. Typically, it can take between 3 to 5 days to file a death certificate after the death has occurred, but it can take much longer for blood-alcohol test results to come in.

That means that there are discrepancies in the accumulation of data involving drunk driving accidents, and this discrepancy is possibly hazardous because it fails to provide accurate numbers about alcohol-related accidents.

Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable victims of drunk drivers. An intoxicated driver may not be in a position to look out for upcoming vehicles, let alone bicycles which have a much narrower frame and are easier to miss. Intoxicated drivers typically drive at excessive speeds or drive rashly, increasing the risk to bicyclists unlucky enough to be sharing the road with them.


CONNECT WITH US

MEMBERSHIPS &
AFFILIATIONS

Northern California Office

Law Offices of Gary C. Brustin, APC
2033 Gateway Place, Suite 600
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: 800.841.2453 Fax: 800.235.1658

Get Map | Driving Directions

Southern California Office

Law Offices of Gary C. Brustin, APC 401 Wilshire Blvd, 12th Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: 800.841.2453 Fax: 800.235.1658

Get Map | Driving Directions

We handle cases throughout California, including the cities of:  

Silicon Valley, San Jose, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange County and San Diego. We also have a network of qualified cycling attorneys throughout the country for clients who are seeking representation outside of California.