California Bicycle Accident Compensation

Updated: Mar 28

How Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles Can Help

Most cyclists in California are aware of the dangers of bike travel and most of the time they take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries. Despite all the precautions, bicycle accidents in California do happen, causing injuries.

A Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer can help you after an accident by getting the maximum compensation possible from the driver’s insurance company on your behalf.

A California Attorney for Personal Injury with experience in bicycle accidents is helpful because he/she knows the law and can pursue all the legal avenues to get the compensation you deserve.

Bicycle accidents are very common in California because of the busy roads. Distracted drivers speeding while driving commercial trucks, and buses are the main causes of bicycle accidents in California. In many cases, they fail to to see cyclists when they are riding in a designated lane or sharing a traffic lane.

In fact, in Los Angeles County alone there were over 1,396 collisions involving bicycle accidents in 2019. While drivers are well protected by seat belts, airbags, and a metal chassis, cyclists only have a helmet to protect themselves in the event of an accident.

It’s no surprise that bicycle-related injuries lead to nearly 500,000 emergency room visits per year and hundreds of fatal accidents.

More than 260 cyclists died in California in 2019 alone.

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California Law Pertaining To Bicycle Drivers

Section 21200 of the California Vehicle Code states that bicycle drivers have the same rights and responsibilities as individuals driving other types of motor vehicles. This means that a bicyclist is subject to the same traffic laws such as driving under the influence, giving pedestrians the right-of-way, and traffic signals.

There are a few special conditions that apply to the interactions between motor vehicle drivers and cyclists on the road.

Effective in 2014, California requires that all drivers give bicycle drivers at least three feet of space when sharing the road. In addition, no one may block a designated bicycle lane by stopping. One law which many drivers fail to comply is that cyclists have the right to “take the lane” even if they are moving slower in traffic under the following circumstances:

  • When passing,

  • When making a left turn,

  • When avoiding obstacles in the road,

  • When a lane is too narrow to share with other vehicles, and

  • When getting close to a corner where a right turn is authorized.

Bicycle drivers must also be aware that California law requires that all cyclists ride with the flow of traffic unless passing, while making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to construction.

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Who is Liable for a Bicycle Accident in California?

Depending on how your bicycle accident occurred and what lead to the accident, people driving a motor vehicle can be responsible because of reckless driving, failure to properly stop at a stop sign or crosswalk, hit and run, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you were hurt after a bicycle accident as a result of a driver’s negligence, California law allows you to sue the driver's insurance company in court to compensate you for all your injuries.