Cycling, both as a method of transportation and as a hobby, has become increasingly popular in California.
But despite the growing number of cyclists on the road, many cities have not developed the infrastructure to accommodate bicyclists in the streets safely. Additionally, many bicycle riders face the challenge of distracted motorists who don’t understand the right-of-way laws concerning cyclists.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a California bicycling accident, it’s critical that you hire a capable bicycle accident lawyer to fight for your rights. You deserve a full recovery—don’t settle for less. The Lancaster bicycle accident lawyers at PARRIS Law Firm have the experience, expertise, and relentless drive to obtain the compensation you need.
Our Lancaster, CA Bicycle Accident Lawyers Are Here to Fight for You
Since 1985, the PARRIS Law Firm, located in Lancaster, CA in northern Los Angeles County, has successfully represented thousands of victims of traffic accidents. Our track record is virtually unmatched: we’ve secured over $1.9 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients, with over 150 cases resolved for $1 million or more.
The key to our success? Putting clients first, always. The PARRIS team skillfully prepares each and every case for trial, leaving no stone unturned in our quest for justice. Your case manager skillfully negotiates with insurance companies on your behalf, your client care coordinator brings you up to speed, and your attorney presents expert arguments to ensure justice is served.
Fighting for the rights of bicyclists is not just our business—it’s personal. Some of our lawyers and team members are bicyclists themselves. We understand the safety hazards that bicyclists face, and we’re committed to protecting the rights of the injured, whatever it takes.
Don’t wait to get justice. Contact PARRIS today for your complimentary case evaluation. You won’t pay any legal fees unless we win your case.
Before You Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Know Your Rights
Generally speaking, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. But when bicyclists share the road with motor vehicles, the cyclist takes on the greater risk. A minor accident that barely scuffs a car could have fatal consequences for a person riding a bike.
For the safety of cyclists, it is crucial that cyclists and motorists alike understand a cyclist’s rights on the road. Here is a brief overview of bicycle right-of-way laws in California.
Bicycle Right-Of-Way Laws in California
- If a cyclist is moving at the speed of traffic, they can ride in any lane.
- If a cyclist is moving slower than traffic in a street without a bike lane, they must ride as close to the right curb as possible. They can “take the lane” if it is not safe to share the right lane with another vehicle. (VEH 21202)
- If a cyclist is moving slower than traffic in a street with a bike lane, they must use the lane unless they are turning, passing, or avoiding a hazard in the bike lane. (VEH 21208)
- If a bikeway is separated from the main street by posts or parked cars, it is no longer considered a “bike lane,” and cyclists may choose not to use it for any reason. (SHC 890.4d)
- The City of Los Angeles allows cyclists to bike on the sidewalk as long as they do so safely, carefully respecting pedestrians and property. (LAMC 56.15)
- Los Angeles also has a Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance that prohibits drivers from attempting or threatening to injure a bicyclist on the street. A driver who distracts, harms, or pushes a bicyclist off the road may be subject to fines in a civil lawsuit against the driver.
Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware that bicyclists have the right-of-way in most driving scenarios. A driver’s simple failure to yield can cause a tragic accident that changes an innocent cyclist’s life forever.
Call PARRIS Law Firm right away if you need help following a bicycle accident. Our seasoned bicycle accident lawyers are equipped to secure the maximum compensation possible to restore your life.
Bicycle Equipment Requirements
Additionally, California requires that bicyclists meet specific safety standards to use public roadways. Those requirements include, but are not limited to:
- White or yellow reflectors on each foot pedal, visible from the rear and front
- White safety lights
- Red rear reflectors (VEH 21201)
In addition, minor bicycle riders and passengers must wear helmets. (VEH 21212)
For more resources on California’s laws for cyclists, visit Calbike.org.
California Bicycle Accident Statistics
California is home to a large share of the country’s cyclists. As increasing numbers of cyclists share the road with motorists, bicycle accidents have become more frequent and deadly.
From 2016 to 2018, traffic accidents in California killed 455 bicyclists, representing the highest death count in a three-year period going back 25 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That amounts to about 3.9 bike fatalities per million people. Nationally, bicyclist fatalities occur at a rate of about 2.6 per million—less than California’s rate, but still the highest since the mid-2000s.
Tragically, Los Angeles is a particular hotspot for bicycle accident fatalities. From 2016 to 2019, LA County alone saw 38-42 cyclist deaths per year—a death rate higher than 46 individual U.S. states. Moreover, about 1 of every 5 of these cyclists perished in hit-and-run bicycle accidents.
Why Do So Many Bicycle Accidents Happen in Los Angeles County?
The LA metro area is theoretically a perfect place to ride a bike. The weather is warm and sunny year-round, and riding a bike is a healthy, greener alternative to sitting in LA traffic for hours. Plus, LA County is home to incredible scenery, including Santa Monica’s beachside bike trails and mountain paths through the San Gabriel Mountains.
Despite this, Los Angeles ranks as one of the country’s most dangerous cities for cyclists. The city’s infrastructure was built for passenger cars and trucks, with long, multi-lane highways and thoroughfares with few pedestrian crossings. The network of bike lanes throughout the city is haphazard at best.
Even streets with bike lanes are unsafe for many riders, as many Angelenos are often unfamiliar with cyclists’ right-of-way laws. Many motorists fail to check for cyclists when changing lanes or turning, with deadly consequences for the cyclist. And more than ever, drivers are distracted by their cell phones while they drive, increasing the chance that they won’t see a bike on the road.
To make things worse, many Los Angeles roads and sidewalks are in significant disrepair. A pothole or loose gravel can mean death or severe injury for a cyclist.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Throughout California, the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Negligent motorists: Vehicle occupants often fail to check for cyclists before entering the bike lane, leading to disastrous crashes.
- Lack of bike lanes: Many major thoroughfares essential to commuter cyclists lack bike lanes, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Road defects: Cracks in roads and sidewalks can throw cyclists from their bikes onto the pavement.
- Open doors: Drivers that parallel park on the side of the road open their driver’s side door into the bike lane, causing a cyclist to crash.
- Animal hazards: Dogs belonging to pedestrians can attack a bicycle while the cyclist is moving.
- Bus accidents: A bus’s aerodynamic design can cause a cyclist to be sucked under it as it passes.
What Injuries Do Cyclists Sustain After an Accident?
While drivers and passengers are protected from crashes by their vehicles, bicyclists have no such protection. Therefore, injuries sustained in bicycle vs. vehicle accidents are often severe. Injuries may include:
- Lacerations and abrasions, such as road rash
- Muscle sprains
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Following a bicycle accident, no injury is too minor for medical treatment. Talk to your bicycle accident lawyer at PARRIS about getting the ongoing care you need after the crash.
Why Hire our Lancaster Bicycle Accident Lawyers?
Determining liability for a bicycle accident can be tricky. If a driver struck you while you were legally riding your bike, you would be entitled to collect from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, if the crash happened because of an unsafe roadway, you would need to take legal action against the city, county, or state responsible for maintaining that road.
Contacting a trusted bicycle accident lawyer immediately following your crash is the best way to protect your rights. The PARRIS team of Lancaster bicycle accident lawyers has nearly four decades of experience dealing with municipalities and insurance companies. We know their tactics and understand how to secure the compensation you need to recover.
Let us take care of the legal battle while you focus on your recovery. Get a free case evaluation with PARRIS bicycle accident lawyers today.
Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind, or emotions caused by another. It covers an expansive array of case types.