San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer

California is the ideal state for riding bicycles. There are thousands of miles of scenic roads and byways to explore, along the Pacific coastline and into the foothills and nearby mountain areas. There are ample parks to enjoy and plenty of great places for camping out along the way. In addition to general touring via bicycle, many people now are commuting to work on their bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles. This increase in use is mirrored by an increase in bicycle accidents and fatalities, with California leading the list nationwide for bicycle fatalities.

According to recent data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), California continues to lead the nation in bicyclist fatalities. During the period from 2017 to 2019, California recorded 455 bicyclist deaths, the highest in the United States. In 2020 alone, California reported 129 bicyclist fatalities, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This alarming trend underscores the significant safety risks faced by cyclists in the state.

Key Demographics and Helmet Use

Adult males remain the most vulnerable group, constituting the majority of bicyclist deaths. In 2020, over 80% of the cyclists killed in California were male. Helmet use is another critical factor in these fatalities. Approximately two-thirds of the cyclists who died were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident, emphasizing the need for stronger helmet laws and public awareness campaigns.

Contributing Factors

Several factors contribute to the high number of bicyclist fatalities in California:

  1. Urbanization and Traffic Density: California’s dense urban areas, particularly Los Angeles and San Francisco, see heavy vehicle traffic, which increases the risk of accidents involving cyclists.
  2. Infrastructure: While some cities have made strides in improving cycling infrastructure, many areas still lack safe bike lanes and crossings.
  3. Driver Behavior: Distracted driving, speeding, and failure to yield to cyclists are common causes of fatal accidents.
  4. Cyclist Behavior: Risky behaviors by cyclists, such as riding against traffic, failing to obey traffic signals, and cycling under the influence of alcohol, also contribute to the accident rate.

Policy Implications and Safety Measures

In response to these statistics, California has implemented several measures to improve cyclist safety:

  • Vision Zero Initiatives: Several cities have adopted Vision Zero plans aimed at eliminating all traffic fatalities, including those involving cyclists.
  • Infrastructure Improvements: Investments in dedicated bike lanes, improved street lighting, and better intersection designs are ongoing.
  • Education and Enforcement: Programs aimed at educating both drivers and cyclists about road safety and stricter enforcement of traffic laws.

San Diego  Bicycle Accidents Attorney

In the eyes of California state law, bicycles are vehicles, and riders must follow the same road rules as do drivers of motor vehicles, especially when it comes to right-of-way and safety. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident while riding a bicycle, get legal advice immediately from an experienced San Diego bike crash attorney.

There are many elements to vehicle accidents that will affect a Personal Injury accident case, but special details apply to bicycle accidents. The best person to consult about this issue is a San Diego bike accident lawyer. They are up-to-date on recent court rulings in similar cases and have helped many others obtain fair compensation for accident injuries.

San Diego  Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Visibility is a major element of many California Bicycle Accidents. Obviously, bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles are smaller even than motorcycles. Other motorists often just do not see a bicyclist, especially at intersections. Many bicycle accidents occur when a biker is within or entering an intersection and other motor vehicles are turning. Despite having the right-of-way, if a motorist does not see the biker, they proceed with their turn and the result can be fatal for the bicyclist.

Roads were not built with bicycling in mind; they accommodate larger motorized vehicles best, as there often is no separate bike lane or sidewalk nearby. Cars and trucks are considerably larger and drive at faster speeds, a combination that can be deadly if there is a collision with a bicyclist. When the bicycle rider also is not wearing a helmet, the chance that any accident results in a fatality will increase.

In California, the state with the highest number of bicycle accidents and fatalities, several common factors contribute to these incidents, reflecting nationwide trends:

  1. Increase in Cyclist Death Rates: Between 2010 and 2012, cyclist death rates rose by 16%, from 680 to 722. In contrast, motor vehicle fatalities increased by only 1% during the same period, although the total number of motor vehicle deaths remained significantly higher due to the sheer volume of overall crashes.
  2. Demographics: Male cyclists over age 20 accounted for approximately 74% of fatalities in 2012, making them the most at-risk group.
  3. Non-Fatal Injuries Among Children: Children experienced the highest rates of non-fatal injuries, constituting about 60% of such cases.
  4. Helmet Use: Approximately two-thirds of cyclists involved in fatal accidents were not wearing helmets, underscoring the importance of helmet use in preventing serious injuries and fatalities.
  5. Alcohol Involvement: Alcohol was a factor in 28% of bicycle fatalities, indicating a significant risk factor that needs addressing through better education and enforcement.
  6. Intersections as High-Risk Areas: Bicyclists are most at risk of being hit by motor vehicles at intersections. Misjudgment at these junctions, including failure to yield right-of-way, is a common cause of collisions.
  7. Urban Cycling Trends: The increasing number of urban cyclists, who commute to work or use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation, exposes more riders to the risk of accidents, particularly in densely populated areas with high traffic volumes.
  8. Adherence to Road Rules: Many cyclists do not follow traffic laws that apply to all vehicles, increasing their risk of accidents.
  9. Solo Crashes: About 59% of all bicycle crashes involve only the cyclist, often due to loss of control. These incidents highlight the need for better cycling skills and awareness.

These statistics and factors underscore the need for comprehensive safety measures, including improved cycling infrastructure, better education for both cyclists and drivers, and stricter enforcement of traffic laws to protect cyclists on the road.

San Diego  Bicycle Safety Issues

Bicycle accidents are fewer than motor vehicle accidents, and rarely as spectacular, so they do not receive as much notice by the public. Bicycle safety issues apply to all riders, and those who are passengers on pedal vehicles. Safety on wheels applies to all forms of pedal transportation – bicycles, tricycles, and unicycles. The fact that bicycle accidents have increased so much faster than motor vehicle accidents points to the problem of bicycle safety, and that more needs to be done to inform the general public.

Motorists have to recognize that they must also share the road with non-motorized vehicles. At the same time, those who are on non-motorized vehicles should be educated about the risks they take with every push of the pedal when they are near other vehicles, sharing the road or crossing those roads. Right-of-way is one of the most important concepts for drivers of all types of vehicles. Being bigger or faster does not mean you are in the right; in many bicycle accidents, other drivers and the police tend to blame the bicyclist for being at fault.

What to Do – San Diego  Bicycle Accidents

What can be done to promote better bicycle safety? Many communities are responding by installation of bicycle lanes. These are supposed to provide a safer area for bike travel next to motorized vehicle traffic. The same problems of visibility and right-of-way continue to lead to accidents however, so it appears the heaviest burden of responsibility must be placed upon the cyclists.

Knowing the risks and preparing for potential problems can go a long way toward reducing accident risks. Bicyclists should follow these general rules of the road at all times:

  • Be aware of other vehicles of all types and expect them to not see you.
  • Wear clothing that enhances your visibility – fluorescent materials for nighttime, bright clothing.
  • Helmets are a must! Protect your head and possibly save your life by always wearing a helmet.
  • Use extra caution at intersections where motor vehicles may not notice you and turn into your path suddenly. Walk your bicycle across urban crosswalks if necessary.
  • Communities can install special bicycle advance green lights that have a special phased segment for bikers only to use at intersections.
  • Ride defensively; learn special
  • Use extra caution at stop signs.
  • Never ride against traffic; ride on the left so you are more visible to other vehicles if you are in traffic lanes.

San Diego  Personal Injury Compensation

As with other vehicle accidents, you may be entitled to Personal Injury Compensation if you are injured or a loved one was killed in a bicycle accident. Liability is the most important element to prove when there is a bicycle accident. If the biker has violated right-of-way rules, they may be found to be at fault for the accident. If they do not come to a full stop at a stop sign or traffic red light, they also may be found liable for the accident injuries. Not only would they then be unable to pursue compensation for their accident-related expenses, they could be liable for damage claims by the other person(s) involved in that accident.

The first thing to do is contact your San Diego Personal Injury Bicycle Accident Attorney. Collect all information you can from and about the accident, such as photographs of the scene, police reports, witness information and damage reports. Exchange insurance information with the other driver or rider, but do not give any statements to insurance adjusters or anyone other than your attorney about the accident or your injuries. Get medical attention as needed first, but then immediately get in touch with your legal professional. For best results and opportunity for obtaining fair compensation after a bicycle accident, work with a Personal Injury Attorney who has successfully handled San Diego Bicycle Accidents.