Bicycle Accidents: Important Things to Know After a Crash
Many people prefer riding a bicycle to beat rush hour traffic on the freeways, save money and aggravation, and keep themselves healthy. Unfortunately, sharing the road with cars can lead to dangerous consequences. Despite staying on the bike lane, you cannot guarantee your safety on the road. No one wants to get involved in a bicycle accident, but it wouldn’t hurt to prepare yourself in case the worse comes to worst.
Read on to find out the dos and don’ts after getting into a bike accident, including the bicycle laws protecting cyclists in California.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Contrary to popular belief, road mishaps and collisions in California involve not only trucks and cars, but also bicycles.
Based on bicycle accident statistics from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), Los Angeles recorded 1,780 crashes involving bicycles in 2021, and 23 people lost their lives in these accidents.
Los Angeles has many dangerous intersections where bicycle accidents are more likely to occur. Most of these accidents are other motorists’ fault. But no matter who is responsible, the resulting injuries can be financially and mentally devastating.
The more prepared and alert you are when riding your bike throughout the day, the safer you will be. Here are some common causes of Los Angeles bicycle accident incidents.
- Driving while distracted (texting, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, playing with the radio, talking on the phone)
- Driving drunk or high
- Aggressive and reckless driving
- Failing to stop at stoplights
- Not giving an adequate buffer of at least less than three feet away from the vehicle.
- Weaving through traffic
- Merging into unsafe lanes and doing improper turns
- Driving without experience
- Inclement weather
- Car problems
- Driver fatigue
Here are the common injuries sustained from bicycle accidents:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Mouth abrasions
- Eye injuries
- Strains, sprains, or dislocations
- Internal bleeding
How to Avoid Getting Into a Bicycle Accident
When riding your bike, you must pay attention to drivers on the road, just like you would if you were driving a car. It only takes a second for a bicycle accident to happen. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Keep your eyes on the road and follow traffic signs. Avoid having distractions in your car, such as a mobile phone on your hand or loud music. Even on quiet or empty streets, remember that you are sharing the road with other motorists.
Double-Check Your Brakes
Before hitting the road, always ensure your brakes are in good condition. Check if you need to adjust your brake pads to ensure they’re performing well. Then, conduct a simple test of spinning the wheels and pressing on the brake.
Use Headlights and Reflectors
Unlike trucks and cars, bicycles often go unnoticed on the road. Installing headlights and wearing reflective clothing can help increase your visibility, especially at night.
Don’t Forget to Wear Safety Gear
Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce your risk of head injuries in a fall or collision. You must also put on proper clothing, such as neon or fluorescent shirts and knee pads, for extra protection.
Ride at the Right Speed
Speeding can lead to life-threatening injuries. Avoid cycling too fast, and travel at speeds appropriate for the weather and traffic conditions.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
If you are injured in a bicycle crash, there are actionable steps you can take to help your bicycle accident lawyer file a personal injury claim for you.
Below are the important things to do after the accident:
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
The first thing you want to do in a bicycle accident is to seek medical help. Your injuries may be serious, and you need a professional opinion to determine your physical state. Police reports and medical reports from the scene are also valuable to your personal injury case.
Gather Relevant Information at the Scene
While you are at the scene, take pictures or videos of your surroundings if you can. You should also gather contact information from witnesses and write down your account of the accident while it is still fresh.
Include as many details about the incident as you possibly can. It’s important that you collect insurance information from the other person involved in the accident, especially their name, address, insurance, and contact information.
Hire an Experienced Attorney in California
Having a quality law firm on your side is a smart move to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Our team of bicycle accident attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot will guide you through the accident process.
Avoid These Costly Mistakes
When you are in the throes of an accident, it is sometimes difficult to think straight. Having a list of things to avoid in mind beforehand will help you avoid costly errors in judgment.
Don’t Admit Fault to Anyone
Admitting fault without having all the facts could negatively affect your settlement. For this reason, you should keep quiet and get in touch with a Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer before you make any formal statements.
Avoid Fleeing the Scene
When you escape after the accident, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony hit-and-run offense with up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Whether you’re a victim or the at-fault driver, you must stop at the scene and wait for the authorities to get your information.
Don’t Take a Settlement Without Speaking to Your Attorney
Never sign anything without your lawyer. While the settlement may seem attractive to you initially, you could lose more money than you think. As a result, you won’t get the compensation you deserve and need to recover.
Here are other things you must not do after a bicycle accident:
- Fail to follow your doctor’s recommendations
- Post on social media as this may tamper the evidence
- Talk to your insurance company without getting legal representation
- Miss crucial evidence at the scene
Understanding the Rights of Cyclists Under California Bicycle Laws
While bicycles are not regarded similarly to vehicles, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to follow on the road. Like motor vehicle drivers, riders are not allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Similarly, they should yield the right of way to pedestrians. If they are traveling at a speed less than traffic, cyclists must ride as far to the right.
California Vehicle Code 21760
In 2014, the state passed the Three Feet for Safety Act, which states that motor vehicle drivers may overtake bikes at a safe distance.
However, in its 2023 amendment, drivers must change lanes to pass cyclists. E-bike riders must stay on approved bike trails and pathways for everyone’s safety. Riders below 18 years old must always wear a properly fastened helmet.
Failure to comply with the above regulations is subject to a fine amounting to $35. If the collision was due to the fault of the motor vehicle driver, a $220 fine shall be imposed on that driver.
The Role of Fault
Cyclists and motorists share the same responsibility for ensuring the safety of pedestrians and other drivers on the road. However, unlike vehicles, riders are completely unprotected, so injuries are almost guaranteed when an accident happens.
Motorists aren’t always to blame for bike accidents. Sometimes it’s the cyclist or even a third party. However, no matter what or who caused the accident, you need to know who is liable for the damages.
In California, the at-fault driver must compensate for personal injuries and vehicle or bicycle damages. But if both drivers are partially responsible, each party must pay according to their percentage of fault.
Types of Compensation Available
The severity of your accident and injuries will determine how much compensation you could receive from your bicycle accident claims.
Bicycle accidents can leave you with scratches and abrasions and make you afraid of riding on the road again.
According to California law, if you or a loved one are injured in a bicycle accident, you can file a personal injury claim and potentially receive compensation to cover the following expenses:
- Personal injuries
- Damage to your bicycle
- Lost wages due to injuries
- Medical bills, including ongoing physical therapy
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of companionship or moral support between partners
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Seek Legal Help From Adamson Ahdoot
Have you or a loved one been involved in a bicycle accident? Speak to a bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles today. Our experienced bicycle accident lawyers offer a combined 100 years of service in personal injury cases like yours.
These experts know the legal steps following a bicycle accident and will guide you or your loved one every step of the way. We even offer a free consultation, so you have no out-of-pocket expense.
We proudly serve the residents of California with headquarters in Los Angeles. Adamson Ahdoot is are on your side. When you call the law office of Adamson Ahdoot LLP, you can count on having a compassionate, knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney in your corner. Call us at (800) 310-1606 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
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