California Bicycle Accidents On The Rise
The Governors Highway Safety Association says that bicycle traffic deaths are on a dangerous upward trend. California, with 338 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles, was the state with the highest totals between 2010 and 2012, a report from the GHSA said. Nationally, bicycle traffic deaths jumped from 621 in 2010 to 680 in 2011 and 722 in 2012. The 16% increase was far greater than other motor vehicle fatalities, which rose by just 1% during this same time period.
Unfortunately, In 2012, two-thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets, and 28% of bike riders age 16 and older that were fatally injured had blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or higher.
In 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 48,000 bicycle accident injuries nationwide. This is a national tragedy.
Causes and Effects of Bicycle Accidents
Just by virtue of bicycles being smaller, lighter, and slower than motor vehicles, accidents between the two can be devastating. Additionally, bicyclists involved in accidents tend to have more serious injuries because they are exposed to the dangers of the road. When a driver does not pay attention to what they’re doing, they can put cyclists at risk for serious injury.
Some of the most common bicycle-related injuries include:
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
As bicycle riders attempt to share our increasingly busy roads with other cyclists, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses, there is always the chance that an accident will occur. Even when a cyclist takes all the proper safety precautions such as wearing a helmet plus reflective clothing and using hand signals, bicycle riders seem much more invisible on the road. When a driver is not paying attention to their surroundings, they can crash into a cyclist, which sadly often results in life-threatening injuries and even death.
Determining Fault in California Bike Accidents
In most bicycle accidents, the person at fault is determined by which person had the right-of-way. When an intersection has a traffic signal, the signal will indicate who holds the right-of-way. At an intersection where there is no traffic signal, the vehicle or bicycle that arrived first typically holds the right-of-way. If the vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle or bike on the right will hold the right-of-way and if one street is a major street and the other is a side street, the vehicle or bike on the major street holds the right-of-way.
Intersections can be of particular concern for bike riders because they are smaller than automobiles and may blend in with their surroundings, making them less visible to motorists.
If you find that you’ve been in a bicycle accident, be sure to immediately take photographs of the scene and obtain the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident so that the person at fault can be more easily determined.
At Los Angeles Injury Group, our experienced attorneys have helped clients win cases against those who have suffered injuries in bicycle accidents. We understand how life-altering these injuries can be, which is why we fight for our clients until they receive proper compensation. If you, or someone you love, received injuries as a result of a bicycle accident, call (310) 954-7248.