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Bikes are a great way to get exercise or commute via increasingly crowded roads, but they come with a tradeoff. Mainly, bicyclists have much less protection than drivers and are therefore more likely to be injured in an accident. The vast size difference between cars and bicycles also contributes to riders’ increased risk. If you have been seriously injured in a bicycling accident caused by a negligent driver, we want you to know there is help available. Our Sacramento bicycle accident lawyers are standing by, so reach out to see how we can help you maximize your compensation today.
Call (916) 500-0000 or reach out online to arrange for a free consultation with our experienced bike accident attorneys in Sacramento.
The Risks Bicycle Accident Victims Face
More than 450,000 bike riders end up in the hospital with injuries each year, and in 2019, 846 were in fatal accidents involving at least 1 other vehicle. The survivable injuries may range from simple scrapes to fractures to traumatic brain damage. Data from 2019 also shows that there were over 300,000 preventable nonfatal injuries resulting from cycling accidents in the United States (a 7% increase from 2018).
Sadly, bikers are also disproportionately involved in hit-and-run accidents. Fatal hit-and-runs have been trending upward since 2009, and focused data from 2016 found bikers and pedestrians accounted for 2 of every 3 victims.
Even a helmet can only do so much when it comes to serious collisions. When help is not called to the scene immediately, victims’ outlooks become worse.
Bikers are already at a higher risk on:
- two-lane roads,
- roads with narrow lanes and/or no shoulder, and
- routes with higher speed limits.
An immediate emergency response is important for many bicyclists involved in accidents with a vehicle. Especially in the above situations, failure to stop and render aid can be a matter of life or death.
How Bicycle Accidents Happen
Especially when riding on streets not designed for their use, bicyclists may find themselves in a precarious situation. Car doors may be opened directly in their path. Cars coming into the roadway may not see them. There’s also the danger we all face from distracted drivers who simply fail to protect those around them.
One of the most common, if not the leading, causes of bike accidents in California is drivers failing to yield right-of-way. This may be because a driver believes they have (or should have) right-of-way, or it may be an issue of visibility. Situations likely to cause accidents include:
- A biker entering the roadway, especially from an alleyway or another low-visibility area
- Drivers entering the roadway, especially if they are backing out of parking spaces
- Drivers missing stop signs and red lights
- Bikers not making it across an intersection before the light turns red
- Drivers turning (either right or left) and not seeing bicyclists crossing the street
- Bikers being blocked from view while crossing a multi-lane road so oncoming drivers are not aware they should stop
Our bicycle accident lawyers in Sacramento can investigate your accident to find if any other factors were involved—perhaps a driver was intoxicated, for instance, which shows further negligence on their part. With the right evidence, we can attempt to sway insurance adjusters during negotiations or demonstrate to a jury that you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Really At Fault In a Car vs. Bike Accident?
In most cases, the driver of the car is found to be at fault because they had more protection and are expected to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians.
However, there are still instances where a cyclist may be found at fault for an accident. For example:
- If the cyclist was not riding in the bike lane when a bike lane was provided
- If the cyclist failed to signal when making a turn
- If the cyclist failed to obey the rules of the road or to yield to oncoming traffic when appropriate
As a professional cycling attorney, Attorney Carichoff offers insight into California’s bike laws, and can help you protect yourself from blame following your bike accident.
What Should You Do If You Get Hit By a Car While Riding a Bike?
Knowing what to do after a bicycle accident can be difficult, especially if you have been injured or disoriented because of the accident. Here are some simple steps to follow if you were recently hit by a car while riding your bike:
- 1. Don’t leave the scene of the accident, and don’t allow the motorist to leave until the police arrive
- 2. Get the contact information for the driver, as well as their insurance details
- 3. Keep a careful record of your injuries and any medical treatment you receive (take photos, save billing statements and receipts, and keep a journal)
- 4. Do not repair your bike (this can be important evidence for your case later on and can demonstrate the severity of your accident)
- 5. Reach out to a lawyer about your accident as soon as you are well enough to do so; do not accept any settlement offers from the other party’s insurance company until you have discussed your case with a bike accident lawyer
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