June 17, 2022
California is arguably the greatest of all 50 states for cyclists, with endless miles of gorgeous scenery to enjoy and some significant infrastructure to support cyclists, including thousands of miles of protected bike lanes.
However, California can also be deadly. In 2020, the state saw a 25-year high in cycling fatalities. California typically ranks first or second nationwide in cyclist deaths each year, and averages more than 100 fatalities annually. Additionally, tens of thousands more Californians are injured each year while cycling.
Common Causes of Serious Cycling Injuries
While there are myriad scenarios for getting injured on a bike, collisions with cars and trucks are by far the most common way to sustain a serious injury.
Distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving and impaired driving are a few of the most frequent causes of these collisions.
Additionally, there are many cycling-specific scenarios that lead to serious injury or death. These can include being “doored” (having a driver or passenger open a vehicle door without looking and causing a cyclist to crash into the door).
Drivers sometimes fail to respect cyclists’ rights to share the road. They become angry because they have to slow down and this can can lead to road rage incidents.
Additionally, many drivers exhibit poor situational awareness, drifting into lanes, failing to yield and performing other actions that may only cause a slight fender bender when colliding with a car, but can be deadly when cyclists are involved.
Your Rights as a Cyclist
Under California state law, cyclists have almost all of the same rights as drivers. They can generally ride in the main portion of a lane as long as they are going at the speed of traffic. Otherwise, they should ride as close as practicable to the right side of the roadway.
Whether a cyclist can travel on sidewalks is a question that is controlled by local jurisdictions as opposed to state law.
What Happens If I’m In a Collision?
Cycling collisions can lead to serious injuries. The worst of these injuries can diminish your quality of life, lower your earning power and lead to lifelong financial expenses.
Fortunately, California law protects cyclists who are injured through no fault of their own.
Negligent drivers can be held responsible for injuring cyclists by engaging in any of the dangerous activity outlined above.
Property owners or government entities can be found liable if they fail to maintain safe roads. If an accident occurs because of broken asphalt, potholes or some other hazard that was identified and not fixed in a timely manner, the injured cyclist may be awarded compensation.
Finding an experienced cycling attorney is critical in such cases, given how complex liability can be to establish in personal injury cases.
Finding the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.