San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Collisions with Cars
Have you been hit by a car while riding a bicycle? In addition to seeking the care of an experienced medical professional, you also need to consult a seasoned and reliable accident lawyer. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and explore your options for obtaining compensation for your injuries.
At Levinson Law Group, a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer on our team can help make the region a safer place by fighting back against negligent and dangerous driving. We combine decades of experience and a track record of six- and seven-figure results for the people and families that we represent.
Why Bicycle Accidents Happen in San Diego
California is considered one of the most dangerous states in the country for cyclists.
Nearly 850 people die in bike crashes across the country every year, according to data compiled by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 18% of those fatalities happen in the Golden State alone. In other words, more than 150 people are killed in California bicycle accidents every year.
Many of these accidents occur when cyclists interact with vehicles. Cyclists are particularly at risk because they often have little or no time to dodge oncoming traffic and have little, if any, physical protection.
Sadly, many roads and streets in San Diego and throughout the state were not designed with bicyclists in mind. Drivers are often not experienced in sharing space with bikes, especially in heavy traffic. Distracted, fatigued and drunk driving are often to blame, as well as speeding, failing to use turn signals and neglecting to maintain a safe distance from bikes.
That is not to mention the risk posed by cyclist error. Some of the most common that our San Diego bicycle accident lawyer team sees include:
- Running stop signs and traffic lights
- Failing to signal turns
- Merging mistakes
- Cycling while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Failing to wear a helmet and use other safety equipment
Bicycle accidents often happen in heavy traffic areas after dusk, when bikers can be harder for drivers to spot.
Nationwide, for example, the highest share of bicycle accident deaths come between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More than three-quarters of deadly bike crashes occur in urban areas, IIHS found.
San Diego Bicycle Laws
Bike riders in San Diego and across the country are generally expected to follow the same laws for cars and other motor vehicles when they hit the road.
That means complying with traffic signs, signaling turns and riding with the flow of traffic. It also means riding in a reasonably responsible manner and refraining from dangerous behavior.
- Use bike lanes: Bike riders are required to use designated bicycle lanes when present. They also must use the appropriate hand signals when making a turn or leaving the bicycle lane.
- Stay to the right: Cyclists are required to stay as close as practical to the shoulder, curb or cars parked along the side of the road when mixing with other traffic. A cyclist making a left turn is entitled to occupy the entire lane from which he or she is turning. Bikers can also move off the side of the road to avoid objects blocking their paths.
- Crosswalks: Like motorists, cyclists must give the right of way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks.
- No headphones: Cyclists cannot wear headphones covering both ears, or ear buds in both ears, while riding.
- Sidewalk riding: Rules about riding bikes on sidewalks are set by local municipalities. In San Diego, for example, bikers cannot ride on sidewalks except for in certain business districts. In places like Vista and Carlsbad, it is completely prohibited to ride on a sidewalk.
- Lights and equipment: Bikes must be equipped with a white light that is visible from a distance of 300 feet from the front and side of your bicycle. Bikers can instead attach the lamp to a helmet, as long as it is still visible from 300 feet. Bicycles must also have a red reflector or flashing red light on the rear of the bike that can be seen from 500 feet and white or yellow reflectors on the pedals and sides.
Car Passing Law for Cyclists
Motorists also have some important obligations when sharing the road with bicycles. That includes when it comes to passing bikes, which often results in accidents if not done properly.
Car and other vehicle drivers are required to give bikes at least three feet of space when passing cyclists. Drivers also must refrain from passing when unable to safely do so, whether it is because of road conditions or traffic.
A driver who fails to do so can be ticketed, with the fine increasing in the event that the driver causes an accident. He or she is also likely to be deemed negligent and legally responsible for the crash.
Compensation for Bicycle Accidents – How Levinson Law Group Can Help Your Family
Cyclists who are injured in crashes have the right to seek compensation from negligent drivers and others responsible for the collisions. A San Diego bicycle accident lawyer at our firm can help you take action.
A person injured in the accident can seek a wide range of compensation, such as for medical costs, property damage and missed wages during recuperation. The person can also seek compensation for the long-term effects on his or her ability to earn an income and quality of life.
In the tragic situation in which a cyclist is killed in an accident with a car, his or her loved ones can seek similar compensation for wrongful death. No amount of money can ever replace a loved one, but it can help ease some of the financial burden that can come with losing a family member.
Speak With a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, our personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options and take action to get compensation.
Our offices are conveniently located in San Diego and Carlsbad. We are pleased to represent clients throughout the area, including in Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and Escondido. Contact us online or call 760-827-1700 to schedule a free consultation with a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer at our firm.