Bicycle Accidents: How to Protect Your Rights
May 22nd, 2023|
Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users, with over 10,000 cyclists injured and 100 killed in accidents each year in California. Cyclists lack the protection afforded by a car’s metal frame and are often at risk of being overlooked by drivers.
If you’re a cyclist involved in an accident, you must know your legal rights and how to protect them so you can receive compensation to pay for your damages.
Bicycle riders in California have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Cyclists and drivers must follow traffic laws to ensure safety and avoid accidents. Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Driver negligence: Failure to yield the right-of-way to cyclists, making unsafe turns, or opening a car door without checking for approaching bicycles can injure a cyclist. Motorists must exercise caution around cyclists and respect their right to share the road.
- Poor road conditions: Hazards like potholes, debris, and uneven surfaces can lead to accidents when cyclists are forced to swerve or lose control of their bicycles. Local authorities are responsible for maintaining safe road conditions for all users, including cyclists.
- Faulty equipment: Malfunctioning bicycle components such as brakes or tires can cause accidents. Cyclists must regularly inspect and maintain their bikes to ensure safe operation and prevent accidents.
Taking immediate action after an accident can help protect your rights and strengthen your case. The following steps can ensure you get the medical care you need and preserve your right to compensation through a bicycle accident claim:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Even if your injuries appear minor, seek prompt medical attention. Internal injuries such as TBIs or bleeding can take hours or days to show symptoms. Getting medical care prioritizes your health and provides a medical record that your attorney can use as evidence.
- Gather evidence from the scene: Collect as much information as possible, including photographs of your injuries and damage to your bicycle. Speak with witnesses and ask for their contact information. These details can be invaluable when pursuing compensation for your injuries and proving your claim.
- File a police report: Contact the police and file an accident report. This official record notes the facts of the incident and is a critical tool for strengthening your case with insurance companies. Be sure to obtain a copy of the report for your records.
A California bike accident lawyer from Berg Injury Lawyers can provide invaluable assistance if you’ve been injured in a bike accident. Our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the complex claims system, protect your rights, and help you get compensation for your damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.
Tips to Prevent Serious Injuries While Biking
To minimize the risk of accidents and protect yourself on the road, consider the following preventative measures:
- Wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent serious head injuries. It is required in California for all bicycle riders under 18 on public roads. Ensure your helmet fits properly and meets safety standards.
- Use lights and reflectors: California requires cyclists to equip their bikes with a front lamp emitting a white light visible from 300 feet away and a rear red reflector or light visible from 500 feet. Pedals or shoes must have white or yellow reflectors visible from 200 feet, and bikes should have reflectorized tires or reflectors on the wheels to enhance visibility.
- Stay vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards. Scan the road ahead, maintain a safe distance from vehicles, and be prepared for unexpected situations. Use appropriate hand signals when changing lanes and keep one hand on the handlebars to maintain control of your bike.
- Choose safe routes: Opt for designated bike lanes or less-congested streets whenever possible. Plan your route to avoid high-risk areas.
Protect Your Rights with Berg Injury Lawyers
As a cyclist, protecting your rights on the road is essential. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, our personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you understand your rights as a bicycle accident victim in California. We will help you seek fair compensation for your damages to help you recover from injuries you sustained in the accident.
Contact our California bike accident lawyers for a free consultation to safeguard your rights.