There are many bicyclists on the Pacific coast due to the very comfortable climate and the cultural and environmental atmosphere. However, Southern California areas in and around Los Angeles like Venice Beach, the southbay, Malibu, Huntington Beach and the City of Angels are not always places were motor vehicles and bicycle riders share the road “in peace” and this leads to bicycle accidents more often than it should. Most bicycle accidents are caused by motorists that simply do not see the bicyclists when they are in intersections or in the traffic lane.
If you are struck while riding a bike, chances are that you will sustain severe injuries and need to have medical attention. In the event that you are injured and go to the hospital, be sure to have documentation produced for you that will provide as support for an accident injury claim if you are going to proceed with our lawyers regarding a accident settlement or lawsuit. Always cooperate with law enforcement officials if they request a statement at the scene or hospital and obtain a copy of any police reports. This will assist your lawyer in pursuing payment of your medical expenses and other damages.
Common Auto vs. Bicycle Accident Scenarios
- The Left Hand Turn: This occurs with frequency in both bike mishaps and motorcycle accidents. Although Vehicle Code section 21801(a) mandates that all drivers attempting to make a left turn yield the right of way to any vehicles coming in the opposite direction and not initiate the movement until safe to do so, two wheeled vehicles are oftentimes not seen. The auto makes a left in front of the oncoming bicyclist and a collision occurs.
- The Open Door Collision: CVC section 22517 states: “No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so . . ..” Despite this rule, many people open doors without regard to persons riding pedaled vehicles especially in and around bike lanes.
- Unexpected Backing Up: Oftentimes a four-wheeled vehicle will make an abrupt backing up from a driveway or side street onto a roadway and will not look for riders that aren’t in cars. This may be a violation of laws prohibiting the entry onto a highway or roadway without proper caution.
- Merging / Lane Changes: Many times, autos, trucks and SUV’s attempt to change lanes or directions of travel and fail to notice people on bikes in their rear or side view mirrors.
- Motorists Passing Bicycle Riders Without Enough Distance Bike riding is allowed along most major surface streets and some highways in the Golden State. Riders are encouraged by the California Vehicle Code to ride as far as possible along the right hand edge, with the flow of traffic. The problem becomes when cars, trucks and SUV operators get impatient and try to pass without sufficient distance for the bike rider. This leads to collisions and being run off the road.
- Intersection Collisions Many bicycle accidents occur in and around intersections when the pedal driven vehicle attempts to cross through the crossway. Again, this comes down to cars and trucks not looking out for bikes.
- Unsafe Roadway Conditions Conditions such as potholes, construction debris, and projecting objects can cause injury.
Likely injuries sustained in a bike crash
Although mandatory helmet laws and the use of other safety equipment such as lights, flashers and proper clothing can reduce the chance of a bike crash, it one does occur, it usually results in significant personal injury. The most common are as follows:
- Concussions and closed head injuries
- Fractures of arms, legs and ribs
- Spinal injuries including herniated discs
- Contusions and severe abrasions often called “road rash”
- Internal bleeding and injuries to vital organs
Any or all of these types of injuries can require the need for extensive trauma care including orthopedic surgeries and treatment and diagnosis including CT scans, MRIs, X-rays.
Recent Success Stories Representing Bike Accident VictimsOur attorneys have had much success in the past 17 years helping people injured in biking incidents. One recent example was a person traveling along the ride hand edge of a road in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. A driver slowed but failed to signal or indicate any intention to turn right into a dirt path. Our client continued on and the car made a sudden turn, he crashed into the passenger side, and he was ejected onto the pavement, breaking his hip. We took this case to trial and obtained a verdict of almost $300,000, which included the cost of past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering. Note: Not meant as a guarantee, warranty or prediction as to the outcome of future cases.
For more information on bicycle safety and accident prevention, we would suggest the following links:
Steven M. Sweat, APC is a proud supporter of various organizations in California that support bicycle advocacy and the rights of all cyclists in California including the California Bicycle Coalition and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.
Please also visit our blogs:
- Los Angeles Brain Injury Attorneys
- Top 10 Most Important California Laws for Bicyclists
- Bike Accident Attorney in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, CA