What Should You Do When Your Bike is not a Bike?

 

Bikes aren’t just bikes anymore. There are hundreds of variations available once you cross ‘car’ off of your list of preferred default vehicle. But it can be difficult to know what the legal situation is involving your bicycle. A Segway, an e-bike, and a unicycle have a lot in common, but the law enforcement pulling up behind you might see it differently.

Where is it safe to ride your ‘not a bike’?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to bike alternatives. Even the laws regarding traditional bikes can get a bit hard to nail down. That means your best option is to call up your city and your county and ask what the rules are. E-bikes, for example, are usually forbidden from the sidewalks even when manual bikes are allowed. There may be no specific law for unicycles. No matter what your specific vehicle is and where you plan on riding it, get the answer in writing, and make sure you have the answer for anywhere you might use it.

Why is the local government your best source of information?

Different laws are written for different people. The bike store where you got your ‘not a bike’ sees distinctions very differently from how you, the consumer, has to see them. They are more concerned about the technical definitions about what they’re allowed to sell to whom and with what addendums, not where you’re allowed to use it. The same vehicle might even be called two different things based on which set of rules you’re looking at.

But getting the word from your government is the best solution. It comes straight from the source. It shows preparation. If you think you’re doing the right thing and you have the email to substantiate that, you’re usually going to be fine rather than fined.

For more bike tips, browse our articles at the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

Bike Safety Tips: Unexpected Ways to Stay Safe on Your Bike

 

Riding your bike can be dangerous, and that’s usually the fault of people driving in cars. Even so, it’s better to be safe than to be hurt but have the right of things. Here are three surprising bike safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Hog the road.

There’s something about being on a bike that can make you feel like you’re getting in the way. Maybe it’s the car that’s been on your tail because it can’t swerve around you. Maybe it’s the pointed burst of speed that car has when they finally can pass you by crossing into the other empty lane. But no matter what prickle on the back of your neck is letting you know that someone is glaring at you, don’t try to get out of the way.

If you’re using the whole lane like you have a right to, then drivers will see you. They might be annoyed that they can’t pass you, but drivers very rarely hit bikers out of malice. But if you’re riding on the edge of the road, drivers either won’t see you or they’ll think they have enough room to get around you, whether you invited them to or not.

2. Be a pedestrian.

When you’re crossing a pedestrian lane, it’s better to get off your bike. Even if you think you might be improving the situation by getting out of the way faster, it’s better to walk. Not only do you have more mobility in case drivers aren’t paying attention, it’s safer both medically and legally. Drivers are usually held liable without much of a contest if you did the right thing and got off your bike.

3. Don’t be a professional.

Just like the first point above, you need to stand out. Lack of visibility is the main problem when it comes to collisions. So you want to be as bright and colorful as possible. Make sure your reflectors are in position. Wear bright, flashy clothing rather than your work clothes. And if you’re in the market for a new helmet (which you should absolutely be wearing), consider the tacky one with the spikes. Drivers will look at you askance, but they’ll look at you.

For more bike safety tips, browse our legal blog at the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

California Leads the Nation in Serious Bicycle Accidents

 

Bicycle accidents don’t just involve children taking a tumble. Serious accidents involving bicycles occur more frequently than you might realize. In fact, according to a story in the L.A. Times, in 2014, the Governors Highway Safety Association commissioned a report which showed that California led the nation in the number of cycling accidents that resulted in death.

Bicycle Accident News

Throughout the entire United States, the number of bicycle accidents that occur every year is staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that stated, in 2015 alone, over 1,000 bicyclists died, and there were almost 467,000 bicycle-related injuries. Though the 2014 and 2015 statistics are now several years old, bicycle accidents continue to make headlines, especially in California.

In April 2018, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a college professor was killed in the Flinn Springs area while cycling. The female driver who hit him had fallen asleep at the wheel. Even though Professor Brian Jennings was wearing a helmet at the time, his injuries were too severe, and he later died at an area hospital.

In March 2018, KTLA News in Los Angeles reported that Cole Micek was riding his bicycle in Long Beach when fatally struck by two drivers who then fled the scene. The 24-year-old’s tragic death came as a shock to his family and friends. Micek’s uncle told reporters that his nephew was a “loving, energetic young man.”

What To Do

When a vehicle hits a cyclist, the resulting injuries can be severe or even fatal. Medical and funeral costs pile up and can plunge you and your family into emotional, financial, and physical crisis.

If you’ve suffered in any way due to a severe bicycle accident, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today to find out your rights. Mr. Brustin, a cyclist himself for more than 45 years, is a California-based personal injury lawyer. His law practice is limited to strictly cycling cases, and he has handled over 1,000 bicycle accident cases in his career.

2 Technicalities to Know About California Bike Paths

 

The nature of biking is always changing. Many commuters are switching to bicycles for a healthy alternative route. Some bicyclists are also switching to electric or assisted bikes that operate both like a traditional bike and a motorized one. The concept of “biking” is also expanding to include the idea of mainstream electric scooters. But the one thing that never changes is that the devil is the details. Keep these details in mind if you’re on a California bike path:

Your bike might not be allowed on the bike path.

In general, bike riders need to stay on available bike paths. But this rule of thumb is for traditional, manually powered bikes. If you have an electric one, check which type, or class, it belongs. In Type 3 electric bicycles can reach an assisted speed of 28 miles per hour and should be driven on the road instead. Sometimes, local authorities change the rule, so check with your city.

But if you have a type 1 or type 2 bicycle, which can’t reach that top speed, the bike paths are safe to use. If local authorities would prefer you stay off of them, they’ll mark the path with a sign prohibiting motorized bikes.

When can you exit the bike path?

Once you know your bike is allowed on the path, you should stay in that cleared zone as much as possible. The only exceptions are when you’re making turns and avoiding hazards. If you’re planning a trip to a new location, check it out with a crowdsourced bike path app. While it won’t perfectly indicate potential problems, it can give you a better idea of recent construction projects and where authorized turn lanes are.

Bike paths are largely intuitive, and it’s easier to stay safe once you’re familiar with the route and lane markings. Check out the rest of our biking blog for more recommendations about safe and legal bike┬áriding.