One of the biggest fears that cyclists have is experiencing a collision with a motor vehicle. Though bicycle accidents are least common relative to motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, occasionally a cyclist and a motorist collide.
The first step you should take if you experience a cycling accident is to take pictures of the exact scene. You should leave the bike and other property in the same state it was after the accident and take pictures. This is very important because they will be used as evidence to protect your legal rights. The second step you should take is to contact the police and/or wait for the police to respond to the accident of the scene. If an accident report is written, ensure that the information recorded is accurate and then obtain a copy of the police report.
Next, whether or not you are at fault, do not attempt to engage in any type of negotiations and do not admit fault. Many drivers that cause bicycle accident initially apologize and accept blame for the accident and then later, recant their statements. As the injured party, your job is to simply give a statement to the police officer, get the drivers information—first and last name, phone number, the insurance information from the alleged negligible party, and seek medical attention immediately.
Often times, a cyclist does not experience pain right after the accident took place. This is is because adrenaline floods the injured parties system and masks the injuries the cyclist may have experienced until much later. The doctor will perform a medical evaluation and determine if you have sustained any injuries. If you have sustained injuries, get treatment. Also, obtain a copy of the doctor’s evaluation. This will be used as evidence in your case.
Lastly, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation even before talking to the insurance company. Generally, the insurance company will be recording your statements and attempting to at least place partial blame on you. Bicycle accident laws vary from state to state. Accident attorneys in Sacramento will determine which rules apply to your case, ensure that you are not taken advantage of, and protect your legal right to compensation economic and noneconomic.
Below are quick facts regarding bicycle accidents:
- Bicyclist Deaths in 2011: 677 (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)
- Reduction in bicyclist deaths between 1995 and 2010: 18 percent
- Bicyclist Injuries in 2011: 38,000 (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)
- The total cost of bicyclist injury and death is over $4 billion per year (National Safety Council).
Safe Bicycling for Adults
California scenery can be especially enjoyable for those observing from a bicycle, and those using bikes as a form of exercise, recreation, or transportation need to be aware of their safety as they share roads with motorists. Although it may be easy to remember how to ride, safety needs should be reviewed and safety equipment updated. Unfortunately, bike-related accidents can be quite serious or even deadly. The most severe outcomes tend to be connected to ignoring safety basics.
The right bicycle is a starting point for preventing bicycle accidents. Issues such as the wrong size can make it difficult to maintain control. A proper seat height, knee position, and straddling height are among the areas to consider. Additionally, it is important to make sure that a bike is properly prepared for use on the road. Tire pressures, brake responses, and lighting can make a difference in handling. A bicycle helmet is another crucial safety factor, and it should fit snugly to minimize the risk of head injury in a fall or accident.
Bike riders are not exempt from the rules of the road and should be prepared to follow them. Ignoring these rules can increase the potential for a serious accident. Riders should also be attentive to the activity and conditions around them to reduce their risks. Riding against traffic, wearing headphones and failing to look before changing lanes could quickly lead to problems, especially in busy settings.
An individual injured by a motor vehicle driver while riding a bike might find that there is a reason to file a personal injury claim if the responsible party disregarded their right to be on the road. While the motorist’s vehicle insurance might cover medical costs and other damages, this could fall short of the actual expenses faced. In such a case, the injured victim may want to meet with one of our accident attorneys in Sacramento to see what recourse may be available for seeking appropriate compensation.
Increased Attention on Bicycle Safety
California tends to lead the nation in the number of bicycle-related deaths. In 2015, there were more than 140 such fatalities, which represented 5 percent of traffic deaths throughout the state. On a national level, bicycle incidents represent just 2 percent of traffic fatalities. Santa Barbara had the second highest rate in the state of injury accidents involving bicycles during 2015, recording more than 340 such incidents. As a result, the city’s police department held a day of bicycle-centered enforcement on Feb. 19, 2016.
The goal of the crackdown was to deal with violations at intersections that are particularly well-known for serious bicycle accidents. Issues in some of the major accidents in recent years have included failure to obey traffic signals, lack of protective equipment and malfunctioning equipment. The rules of the road were emphasized as Santa Barbara officials prepared for the enforcement campaign.
Although bicyclists are particularly vulnerable in accidents involving vehicles, the fault for such an incident could rest with either party. A motorist might fail to yield in appropriate situations to a bicyclist who has the right of way. An accident could also occur because a motorist did not see a bicycle. Ideally, cyclists should take important precautions in preparing to ride, especially during times of poor visibility, to ensure that motorists will be able to observe them. At the same time, they need to remember that they are obligated to follow the rules of the road. Failing to stop at a light or to signal for a turn could create confusion for a motorist, increasing the risk of a serious accident.
When a bicyclist is injured in an accident involving a vehicle, the injuries can be quite serious. In the event that the accident was due to the driver’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an accident attorney might be an appropriate method of seeking compensation for the resulting medical expenses and other losses.
Speak with One of Our Accident Attorneys in Sacramento Regarding Your Bicycle Accident Injuries
Our accident lawyers in Sacramento have the resources and experience to provide legal advice to avoid car accidents as a bicyclist but can also provide the legal actions to get you the compensation you deserve if you have been injured. Call The Weinberger Law Firm at (916) 299-8131 or send us an email.