Who is Responsible in a Bicycle Accident Case?

Higher fuel costs have forced more Californians to exchange their gas-guzzling cars for bicycles on the road. Unfortunately, this may increase the risk of bicycle accidents, which are are some of the most dangerous incidents on California roadways. Bicyclists, unprotected by the safety devices car drivers have, often suffer a disproportionate and underreported amount of fatal and serious accidents.

When a driver runs a red light and hits a bicyclist, legal liability is clear. When cases are not so clear- cut, each party will usually blame the other.  California law generally encourages safety and respect between bicyclists and motor vehicles. For example, bicyclists are required to not to disturb road traffic flow and to signal their turns. Bicyclists are required to follow the rules of the road that apply to vehicles. For example, a bicycle should not be going the wrong way on a one way street.

The interplay of California state law and local ordinances creates much real-time confusion. Some localities prohibit bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk.  Some streets or roads are not to be used by bicyclists.

In the moment, how can drivers, pedestrians and cyclists make these distinctions? They often cannot. But California law requires all parties to exercise due care towards each other, requiring drivers of automobiles keeping a proper lookout for pedestrians and bikes, and vice versa.

While not always conclusive, a police report at the accident scene often helps determine fault. If the other driver’s insurance company denies fault, filing a lawsuit with the help of an experienced accident attorney might provide your only avenue to recovering compensation.

If you have been hurt in a bike accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Selecting the right bicycle accident lawyer may be crucial to your California injury case’s outcome.

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