For many Californians, riding a bicycle is a healthy way to stay in shape and an enjoyable recreational activity. For some others, it is the only way to get around. There are many health benefits to cycling, but there is a downside: all too often, people riding bikes are plowed down by cars or trucks, causing bicycle accidents that result in devastating injuries and deaths. A cyclist is exposed and vulnerable in a collision with a car, and injuries are often serious: Fractured bones, spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damage are among the life-changing injuries that can occur when a cyclist is hit by a motor vehicle. In 2011, 677 American cyclists died and 38,000 were injured in wrecks involving motor vehicles. Many of these were caused by the driver’s negligence.
Causes of Motor Vehicle/Bicycle Accidents
Many factors can contribute to a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle. Common driver errors that result in injuries to a bicyclist include
- drinking and driving
- running red lights or stop signs
- encroaching on dedicated bike lanes
- making improper lane changes
- failing to yield the right of way in a crosswalk
- impatience with the slower speed of a bicycle
- distracted driving
- leaving less than 3 feet between car and bike when trying to pass
Bicycles have every bit as much right to use the road as cars, and every driver has a legal duty to take reasonable care to avoid harming their riders. Drivers are required to remain constantly alert to others on the road, including people on bicycles, and to avoid distractions, such as cell phone use and texting. Paying attention to signs and traffic signals, observing traffic laws, allowing at least three feet clearance when passing a bicycle, and respecting the right of bicyclists to share the road are part of the responsibility that accompanies the privilege of driving.
Your Right to Compensation Following a California Bicycle Accident
If you have been hit by a car or other motor vehicle while riding your bike and it was either entirely or partially the fault of the driver, you’re entitled to make a claim to recover compensation, both for financial losses and losses to your quality of life. To do this, you should always consult a Sacramento personal injury attorney with many years of experience and a powerful track record of high-figure settlements and verdicts in bicycle accident cases.
Avoid the Insurance Adjuster
You will almost certainly be contacted by a representative of the insurance company that covers the driver. The insurance adjuster’s job is not to help you, despite his or her sympathetic manner and promises. The adjuster is paid to save the insurance company money by finding reasons to deny or reduce every claim. Never engage in conversation with the adjuster, allow a recorded statement, or sign any authorization, release, or other document unless your attorney instructs you to do so. End the conversation and refer the adjuster to your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney.
Sacramento, California Bike Accident Attorney
The lawyers at the Shepard & Haven law firm in Sacramento are deeply committed to preventing these needless injuries and deaths and to holding drivers accountable when negligent and irresponsible behavior on the road harms a cyclist. We are among Sacramento’s most experienced bicycle accident attorneys and have brought in settlements and verdicts in the millions for our clients.
Call today to schedule your free consultation. No need to bring a check book: we sign cases on contingency, so you’ll never owe us a dime unless we win a monetary recovery for you.