Challenges for Bicycle Accidents ER Visits and Compensation

To protect against this danger, cyclists are advised to wear protective gear, including gloves, helmets, shin pads, and reflective clothing. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of Americans still end up in the ER every year due to bicycle accidents, as the CDC reports. Even worse, only a minority of these accidents get reported to the police or reach a stage where the victim actively begins recovering compensation. Additionally, less than 20% of those who attempt to hold the at-fault party responsible end up recovering satisfactory compensation. Many are grappling with devastating injuries, life-altering medical issues, and significant financial losses.

Your Path to Justice and Compensation

The truth is that bicycle accidents are rarely pretty, especially when they result in severe injuries. To minimize the impact of the accident and secure the financial compensation that allows you to move on with your life, it is essential to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney after the accident quickly.

At Fiore Legal, we understand the pain and frustration of a significant or minor bicycle accident and the financial difficulties it brings. Our bicycle accident attorneys are among the best in California, with a solid track record of success.

We know the arguments that defendants in these claims try to advance, and our attorneys are experienced at outsmarting insurance companies who want to escape liability. Put simply, we know how to maximize your compensation following your California bike accident.

If you or your loved one experienced injury or loss in a California bicycle accident, our skilled attorneys can help you secure justice and fair compensation. Start holding the at-fault party responsible by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys today.

California Bike Accident Personal Injury Laws

Although the state ranks as one of the top ten most bicycle-friendly in the US, California still sees disproportionate bicycle accidents. In 2016, for instance, the state held the unenviable record of having the most bicycle accident fatalities across all states in the US. The state legislature has passed several statutes to protect cyclists on California roads, including the California Three Feet for Safety Act. The Three Feet for Safety Act specifies a safe distance to follow other vehicles or bicycles on the road. According to the Act, drivers must maintain a distance of at least three feet when following other vehicles or bikes. In addition, anyone who intends to overtake a bicycle or another vehicle must do so “at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation” of the other vehicle or bike. They must also leave a distance of three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle they are passing.

Where the road conditions make it impossible to leave three feet when passing, the law requires the passing driver to slow to a “reasonable and prudent speed” when passing. Additionally, they must only pass when doing so would not cause danger or harm to the cyclist.

This law was enacted to help make it less likely for fender benders and sideswipes to occur. These are two of the most common accidents cyclists face on the road, either because a driver was too impatient to follow behind a bicycle or because they failed to pay attention when swerving back into the lane.

The law also prohibits trying to share a lane with a cyclist. Every bicycle is entitled to occupy an entire lane by itself, and no driver can prejudice the cyclist or require them to share.

This is a common occurrence on many roads in the US and can often lead to avoidable accidents. Many cities in California provide special bicycle lanes to avoid this possibility. You may often see these lanes painted in a solid white line or painted in green, with a white boundary.

Other road users are expected to steer clear of these special bicycle lanes, as required under California Vehicle Code Section 21209. Other road users may enter these lanes in limited circumstances, such as when they need to reach an authorized parking spot or enter or leave a roadway.

Despite these laws, bicycle accidents continue to occur in California for numerous reasons.

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Common Causes of California Bike Accidents

Road Rage

Road rage results when drivers become frustrated at having to respect the road rights of cyclists and lash out in their anger. They may do this by dangerously accelerating close to a cyclist, forcing cyclists off the road, honking repeatedly, or throwing things out the window at them. In all of these circumstances, either or both the cyclist and the driver will be dangerously distracted, and terrible accidents can occur.

Distraction

This is possibly the biggest cause of bicycle crashes in California. Often, drivers ignore the road, resulting in delayed reaction time when responding to sudden road events. They may lean into a turn without noticing that a bicycle is coming up behind or take a left turn that causes severe injury to an oncoming cyclist in the opposite lane.

Speeding

It's common for drivers to disregard that they're on a public road, especially when it comes to speeding. According to a report from California Healthline, most people will survive an accident if they are hit at 20 miles an hour. However, with every single-digit increase in speed, the survival rate drops considerably.

Drunk driving

It is expressly against the law to operate a motor vehicle or any other road-going vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Apart from the fact that drunk driving may ground a personal injury claim from the victim of the accident, California treats drunk driving as a serious criminal offense. Yet, drunk driving continues to be one of the most common causes of bicycle crashes.

Driving conditions

Statistics indicate that certain weather conditions are prime periods for bicycle crashes. For instance, accidents are more likely to happen due to reduced visibility in the late evening and during weather events such as rain or snow.

a bike that is laying on the ground next to a badly damaged car and an ambulance in the background

Recovering Compensation for California Bicycle Accident Injuries

As an experienced bicycle accident attorney in California will explain, it pays to immediately start exploring avenues for compensation after being involved in a crash. These events have significant financial implications, and those who do not act quickly enough may find themselves saddled with lasting unexpected financial losses.

Recovering proper compensation after a bicycle crash begins with learning what to do (and what not to do) when involved in a collision. The first thing cyclists should do is learn to manage the situation, as lashing out when drivers operate their vehicles unsafely can often be detrimental to a personal injury case.

Steps to Take After an Accident

While it is frustrating to have a driver hit you out of nowhere or threaten to push you off the road, responding angrily may increase your chances of injury and eventually minimize your chances of recovering compensation. Take the following steps soon after the accident:

  • Assess yourself for injuries, and call 911 if necessary
  • Receive medical attention as soon as you can, either at the scene of the accident or as soon as you leave
  • Exchange information with the at-fault driver, including their personal details and the details of their insurance company
  • Collect evidence at the scene, such as photographs and short video clips that capture the vehicles involved
  • Speak to witnesses who saw the accident and ask if they would be willing to sign a statement recording what they saw
  • Keep records of your injuries, including pictures, medical reports, and medical bills
  • Contact an attorney immediately

Determining Fault After a Bicycle Accident

Often, the assumption in bicycle crashes is that the driver of a larger vehicle is at fault, and this is usually the case. However, to hold the driver responsible, several factors must be present.


A duty of care

Victims must show the offending driver owed them a duty of care. A duty of care is a principle in law that states that people must take care when involved in activities, such as driving, that may cause harm to others. Drivers must drive defensively and abide by all the laws of the road.

Breach of the duty

When people fail to act as they should to minimize harm to others or act in ways that increase the likelihood of injury, they have breached the duty of care.

Drivers fail in their duty of care when they drive recklessly, carelessly, or allow themselves to be distracted from paying attention to the road.

Injury resulting from the breach

Finally, it must be evident that the breach injured one or more persons. In this case, you must show that you suffered bodily injury or property loss due to the violation. You can do this by presenting medical evidence of your injuries and witness reports that reveal how the accident occurred.


Sometimes, the driver may not be the ultimate party responsible for your injuries. For example, if the driver was working at the time, their employer may be ultimately responsible if they failed to oversee the driver's conduct properly. However, proving this fact can be even more difficult than usual since you will require internal evidence showing where and how the employer was lacking. And because California is a comparative negligence state regarding personal injury cases, even if the biker played a role in causing the accident, you can still file a winning lawsuit against the other party to the accident. Skilled bicycle accident attorneys can assist with building your claim and filing the proper documents to hold the at-fault party responsible. However, your chances of recovering adequate compensation depend on quickly contacting an attorney immediately after your accident.

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Contact Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorneys for Help

If you were injured in a bicycle crash with another vehicle, Fiore Legal can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us to learn how California's bicycle laws apply to your case and the options available for you to recover compensation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working on a solid case for you. We take all our bike accident cases contingently, so you pay us nothing unless we win your case.

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