Bicycle Accidents: Laws and Tips for Avoidance

Learn about ways to avoid bicycle accidents on the road, and legal remedies if they happen.

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The May Firm

Fresno, CA

Unfortunately, as a bike rider, the legal system seems to always make it much harder to prevail in a personal injury claim. Even though, bicycle riders are allowed the same legal right to use the rode as cars and trucks, most motorists do not know that bide riders have not only the right, but a legal obligation, to cross lanes of traffic in order to make turns - same duties as someone operating a car or truck. Due to the lack of knowledge by many of those driving cars, this is exactly when dangerous bike accidents occur. California law supports cyclists' rights in general, but these cases can be difficult to prosecute. Motorists and cyclists can, and should, work together to reduce the number of common cycling collisions by understanding the law and increasing their overall awareness of one another.

How to Prevent A Bike Accident

In large cities where there are more than 500,000 people living in the city limits we have a lot of traffic on our roads. Further, college students often ride bikes as a mode of transportation, which leads to larger numbers of bicycle accidents. Bike accident victims will need to have an experienced attorney to assist them. That said, it is always better to avoid a bike accident than litigate a bike accident.

Statistically, nearly eighty (80) percent of bike accidents are preventable, here are a few tips:

  • Look for traffic and expect the worst from motorists - defensive bike riding is a good rule of thumb;
  • Find a safer route with less traffic;
  • Wear bright colored clothing;
  • Use reflectors and reflective clothing;
  • Use headlamps;
  • Obey all traffic laws and always assume drivers do not see you.

What to Do If Your Are In a Bike Accident

Not all bike accidents are preventable. In some cases, serious bike accidents will occur even with the best of riders.

  • Cooperate with the police officers;
  • Get immediate medical attention - many times you will think you are fine and shortly thereafter you will notice the effects;
  • Witness information is critical - get what you can or ask the police officer to speak with witnesses;
  • Photograph the scene, your bike, the other vehicle involved and your injuries;
  • Do not destroy the clothes you were wearing - this is evidence.
  • Do not throw away the bike or have the bike repaired - this is evidence.

To learn more about preparing an injury claim, see Getting Your Personal Injury Case Ready.

Your Case After an Accident

Many times, a bike accident will lead to devastating injuries to the cyclist. Serious make it much more difficult for the bike rider to gather information and provide a statement at the scene - this is why most police reports are adverse to the bike rider. Your injuries might make it impossible to provide a statement. However, the operator the car will likely not be injured and will provide a statement to the police that is skewed to their "version" of the accident. This is one of the reasons bike accident injury cases are difficult to handle without professional help.

Lastly, find an attorney that has experience riding bikes and litigating bike accident cases. A case consultation with bike accident lawyer is free so make sure you contact an attorney before you try to settle your bike accident case.

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