Los Angeles Bicycle Lane Accident Attorney
As a Los Angeles bicycle lane accident attorney, I think that designated bike lanes, when established according to proper safety standards, are a great way to reduce mishaps causing injury or death. The Golden State is called that for a reason, namely, well over 300 days a year of sunshine. This should make it a great place to ride a bike and, in many areas, it is. Too often, however, bicycles and automobiles don’t share the road like they should. Luckily, more communities in the southland and norcal are installing bike lanes. This allows for the smooth flow of traffic around bicyclists if the lanes are obeyed and the traffic rules are followed.What Does California law say About Bike Lanes?
The California Vehicle Code sets the rules for movements in and out of bicycle lanes and requires motorists to keep the lane clear and this is also required under various municipal codes established by cities who have chosen to install these areas within their roadways. These rules help to keep bike riders safer but, as with any other rule, there are people that break the rules and cause accidents and injuries.
California Vehicle Code 21208: This statute states that whenever there is a designated bike lane on a California roadway, cyclists should ride within that lane assuming they are traveling at a slower speed than vehicular traffic. This rule is flexible, however, and states that the bike rider may leave the bicycle lane under the following conditions:
- To overtake or pass another bicycle or vehicle or pedestrian within the bike lane or who is about to enter the lane if overtaking such person cannot be done safely within the bicycle lane.
- To prepare to make a left hand turn at an intersection or to turn left into a driveway or roadway.
- To avoid hitting debris or other hazardous roadway conditions such as potholes.
- When approaching an area where a right hand turn is authorized.
Subsection (b) of this code also has a “catch all” provision which states that no bicycle should leave a bike lane, “until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and after providing a proper signal...”
California Vehicle Code 21209: This law prohibits motor vehicle from entering a designated bicycle lane except for the following:
- To park if parking is permitted.
- To enter or leave a roadway.
- To prepare for turning within a distance of 200 feet of an intersection.
The section doesn’t prohibit “motorized bicycles” from using the lane so long as they do not exceed a safe speed.
This provision of the vehicle can be used to advocate for bicycles being struck or hit by a motor vehicle in a bike lane. The legal argument would be that bike lanes are established to provide safety for persons on bicycles and a violation of the prohibition on entering a bike lane which causes injury or death to a cyclist could be deemed “negligence per se.”The Need to Consult With A Bicycle Accident Attorney After A Bike Lane Mishap
Because of the vast difference in size and weight between an average car, sport utility vehicle or truck and a bicycle and the lack of use of safety gear more common with motorcyclists (like more impact resistant helmets, leather jackets, skid guards, etc.), this can cause significant abrasions, contusions, fractures and traumatic head injuries like serious concussions. It is important to seek prompt medical treatment and consult with a lawyer familiar with the rules and regulations related to pedal driven two wheel vehicles.