Whether you ride your bike for health, recreation, the environment, or from necessity, if you’ve been out on California’s roads you know how oblivious some drivers can be to bicycles sharing the road. As a bicycle rider, you have every bit as much right to use the roads as if you were driving a car, and are bound by the same traffic rules. Many drivers appear to be unaware of your rights, or simply don’t care. Every bicyclist, at some time or another, experiences the impatience and even the road rage of a driver who is in too big a hurry to accommodate slower moving bicycles. At other times, drivers simply seem to be unaware of their surroundings and don’t appear to notice that there are bikes on the road.
Bike Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimated that in 2009, 51,000 bicycle riders were injured and 630 killed in accidents involving motor vehicles.
A bicycle rider, unlike a passenger in a car or truck, is completely exposed and unprotected and therefore subject to extremely serious injuries. The most frequent and serious are head injuries and brain trauma, accounting for more than 60 percent of all bicycle fatalities and 150,000 emergency room visits for injuries.
Drivers are required to respect bicycle riders and to drive carefully when they are present. Nevertheless, many bicycle accidents are the fault of a driver who is distracted, careless, aggressive, impaired, or otherwise irresponsible.
Causes of Bike Accidents
Common driver behaviors that cause accidental injury or death to bicyclists include
- Driving when impaired by fatigue, alcohol, or drugs
- Driving while distracted by texting or talking on a cell phone, rubbernecking, eating, drinking, changing the radio, etc.
- Running a traffic light or stop sign
- Hitting a bicycle when backing out of a driveway pr parking lot
- Violating a cyclist’s right of way
- Opening a car door in front of an approaching bicyclist
- Crowding a bicyclist off the road
Other dangers to cyclists include dog attacks, poor lighting, potholes and debris in the road, and overhanging branches.
Getting Compensation for Injuries
When you are bicyclist injured because of the negligence of another person, usually a driver, it is often possible to recover compensation for losses associated with the injury. Realistically, this requires hiring a California bicycle accident attorney to represent you. Although there is nothing to prevent you from negotiating a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster, don’t expect to settle for an amount sufficient to cover all your losses. They may offer a token amount to settle, but without being represented by a knowledgeable and experienced bicycle accident attorney, you won’t get the settlement you deserve. Adjusters are well-trained to minimize payouts, especially when they know they have an inexperienced accident victim trying to go it alone.
At Abronson Law, we have the knowledge, skill, experience, and commitment it takes to investigate your bicycle accident and pursue a recovery for all your losses, both economic losses like the cost of medical treatment and lost earnings, and intangible but equally important losses in your quality of life, such as your pain and suffering, inability to participate in activities you enjoyed, disfigurement, inability to have normal marital relations, and others.
Call Abronson Law in Los Gatos for a free consultation. You don’t have to have money to get the best legal help available, because we accept cases throughout the Bay Area on a contingency fee basis; you only pay if we win, and our fees come out of the settlement or verdict.
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