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If you have been injured while riding a bicycle in California, contact our Sacramento injury attorneys for free consultation and legal representation now.

Sacramento Injury Attorneys Explain Injuries From Bicycle Accidents

Bicycling is a very common and healthy method of travel in the state of California. Unfortunately, bikers are very vulnerable to outside elements and are integrated in vehicle traffic. This can make bicycling very dangerous, especially when the bicyclist is not very comfortable or the conditions are perilous, such as at night. Such conditions make accidents much more common. It’s important to contact Sacramento injury attorneys if you have been involved in an accident of any type.

Bicyclists are also not nearly as visible as a motor vehicle. They are much smaller and have little to no sound to announce their presence, unlike a motorcycle. Most drivers do not readily notice a bicycle because they are not expecting one on the road as they expect another car.

Common Causes

The majority of bicycle and car accidents occur when a bicycle cannot be seen or when a car can’t anticipate its movements. Below is a list of the most common bike and vehicle accidents.

  • Left turns – Many drivers don’t see an oncoming bicycle when making a left turn, though they are legally obligated to yield to all oncoming traffic
  • Colliding with an open door – Drivers don’t tend to look very carefully before opening their car door. The law states that no one should open their door on the side with moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe, such as on a low-traffic road with no other cars or bikes. Again, people just aren’t looking out for bicycles.
  • Turning right onto the street – Often, cars pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or driveway won’t notice a bicycle traveling in the lane they intend to join. There are two ways this accident happens – sometimes the car pulls out unexpectedly and the bicycle crashes into the side of the car. The alternative is that the car hits the bicycle as it is pulling out. Either can be very devastating to the cyclist.
  • Reversing – Cars reversing quickly without ensuring no one is behind them commonly cause accidents with bicyclists. This reckless habit can cause serious harm to someone riding behind them on a bicycle.
  • Intersections – Nearly half of all car and bicycle accidents occur at intersections. How can one prevent bike collisions and intersections? Make sure to follow the rules of the road and try to increase visibility by wearing reflectors and having a light on your bike. It’s also helpful to understand how to identify dangerous intersections.

If you have been involved in any type of accidents including the above, make sure to speak to Sacramento injury attorneys to determine the best course of legal action to take.

Bicycle Rules

There are a few general rules on riding bikes in the state of California. An individual riding a bicycle on a road is treated as a car including but not limited to the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Bicycles are permitted on the following surfaces:

  • Roadways – bicyclists must ride as far to the right as possible when traveling below the normal roadway speed unless passing, making a left turn, or avoiding a hazard.
  • Bicycle lanes – these lanes must be used when a bicycle is traveling below the normal speed for the road adjacent to this lane except when passing, turning left, or avoiding a hazard.
  • Sidewalks – local ordinances determine whether this is legal. It is not in many municipalities.

Bicyclists must also yield to pedestrians with the right-of-way within crosswalk, marked or unmarked.

After a bicycle accident, you should:

  • Check for injuries and seek medical attention if necessary. Take note of any injuries that are lasting and keep a record of your daily suffering, such as pain levels and how it affects your daily life.
  • Call the police. Report any injuries, including minor ones. Some injuries take a while to show just how severe they are. Police can make an official report, which will assist you if you seek damages later.
  • Obtain the contact and insurance information of the driver.
  • Seek witnesses. Get their story and contact information.
  • Take note of everything you can remember about the accident. How fast were you traveling? The car? How did the accident seem to happen? Was there very much traffic? Was the weather bad? Etc. This will be useful for your accident lawyers.
  • Preserve as much evidence as possible. Take images of the damage, injuries, and general scene to reference later.
  • Do not talk to insurance adjusters. They may twist whatever you say for their benefit. Having the legal representation of Sacramento injury attorneys who will communicate with the insurance representatives is a good idea.

Legal action

Proving fault in an accident involving a bicycle and a car is just like proving fault in an accident with two motor vehicles. This can be complicated and take a long time. One of the best things you or your loved one can do after being involved in such an accident is to seek legal representation. Experienced Sacramento injury attorneys can help guide you through a difficult, complicated process and will work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve after such a traumatic event.

Speak to Personal Injury Lawyers Regarding Your Legal Needs for Your Accident Case

The Weinberger Law Firm has over 20 years of experience dealing with all types of accident cases, including bicycle accidents. If you have been hit by a car while riding your bicycle, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to our injury attorneys for legal advice today.

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ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS IN SACRAMENTO

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Bicycle Accident Injuries

One of the biggest fears that cyclists have is experiencing a collision with a motor vehicle. Though bicycle accidents are least common relative to motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, occasionally a cyclist and a motorist collide.

The first step you should take if you experience a cycle accident is take pictures of the exact scene. You should leave the bike and other property in the same state it was after the accident and take pictures. This is very important because they will be used as evidence to protect your legal rights. The second step you should take is contact the police and/or wait for the police to respond to the accident of the scene. If an accident report is written, ensure that the information recorded is accurate and then obtain a copy of the police report.

Next, whether or not you are at fault, do not attempt to engage in any type of negotiations and do not admit fault. Many drivers that cause bicycle accident initially apologize and accept blame for the accident and then later, recant their statements. As the injured party, your job is to simply give a statement to the police officer, get the drivers information—first and last name, phone number, the insurance information from the alleged negligible party, and seek medical attention immediately.

Often times, a cyclist does not experience pain right after the accident took place. This is is because adrenaline floods the injured parties system and masks the injuries the cyclist may have experienced until much later. The doctor will perform a medical evaluation and determine if you have sustained any injuries. If you have sustained injuries, get treatment. Also, obtain a copy of the doctor’s evaluation. This will be used as evidence in your case.

Lastly, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation even before talking to the insurance company. Generally, the insurance company will be recording your statements and attempting to at least place partial blame on you. Bicycle accident laws vary from state to state. Accident attorneys in Sacramento will determine which rules apply to your case, ensure that you are not taken advantage of, and protect your legal right to compensation economic and noneconomic.

Below are quick facts regarding bicycle accidents:

  • Bicyclist Deaths in 2011: 677 (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)
  • Reduction in bicyclist deaths between 1995 and 2010: 18 percent
  • Bicyclist Injuries in 2011: 38,000 (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)
  • The total cost of bicyclist injury and death is over $4 billion per year (National Safety Council).

SACRAMENTO BIKE ACCIDENT LAWYERS

Safe Bicycling For Adults

California scenery can be especially enjoyable for those observing from a bicycle, and those using bikes as a form of exercise, recreation, or transportation need to be aware of their safety as they share roads with motorists. Although it may be easy to remember how to ride, safety needs should be reviewed and safety equipment updated. Unfortunately, bike-related accidents can be quite serious or even deadly. The most severe outcomes tend to be connected to ignoring safety basics.

The right bicycle is a starting point for preventing bicycle accidents. Issues such as the wrong size can make it difficult to maintain control. A proper seat height, knee position, and straddling height are among the areas to consider. Additionally, it is important to make sure that a bike is properly prepared for use on the road. Tire pressures, brake responses, and lighting can make a difference in handling. A bicycle helmet is another crucial safety factor, and it should fit snugly to minimize the risk of head injury in a fall or accident.

Bike riders are not exempt from the rules of the road and should be prepared to follow them. Ignoring these rules can increase the potential for a serious accident. Riders should also be attentive to the activity and conditions around them to reduce their risks. Riding against traffic, wearing headphones and failing to look before changing lanes could quickly lead to problems, especially in busy settings.

An individual injured by a motor vehicle driver while riding a bike might find that there is reason to file a personal injury claim if the responsible party disregarded their right to be on the road. While the motorist’s vehicle insurance might cover medical costs and other damages, this could fall short of the actual expenses faced. In such a case, the injured victim may want to meet with a one of our accident attorneys in Sacramento to see what recourse may be available for seeking appropriate compensation.

INJURY ACCIDENT LAWYER IN SACRAMENTO

Increased Attention On Bicycle Safety

California tends to lead the nation in the number of bicycle-related deaths. In 2015, there were more than 140 such fatalities, which represented 5 percent of traffic deaths throughout the state. On a national level, bicycle incidents represent just 2 percent of traffic fatalities. Santa Barbara had the second highest rate in the state of injury accidents involving bicycles during 2015, recording more than 340 such incidents. As a result, the city’s police department held a day of bicycle-centered enforcement on Feb. 19, 2016.

The goal of the crack down was to deal with violations at intersections that are particularly well-known for serious bicycle accidents. Issues in some of the major accidents in recent years have included failure to obey traffic signals, lack of protective equipment and malfunctioning equipment. The rules of the road were emphasized as Santa Barbara officials prepared for the enforcement campaign.

Although bicyclists are particularly vulnerable in accidents involving vehicles, the fault for such an incident could rest with either party. A motorist might fail to yield in appropriate situations to a bicyclist who has the right of way. An accident could also occur because a motorist did not see a bicycle. Ideally, cyclists should take important precautions in preparing to ride, especially during times of poor visibility, to ensure that motorists will be able to observe them. At the same time, they need to remember that they are obligated to follow the rules of the road. Failing to stop at a light or to signal for a turn could create confusion for a motorist, increasing the risk of a serious accident.

When a bicyclist is injured in an accident involving a vehicle, the injuries can be quite serious. In the event that the accident was due to the driver’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an accident attorney might be an appropriate method of seeking compensation for the resulting medical expenses and other losses.

Speak With One Of Our Accident Attorneys in Sacramento Regarding Your Bicycle Accident Injuries

Our accident lawyers in Sacramento have the resources and experience to provide legal advice to avoid car accidents as a bicyclist, but can also provide the legal actions to get you the compensation you deserve if you have been injured. Call The Weinberger Law Firm at (916) 357-6767 or send us an email.

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Fill out this form to request a FREE CONSULTATIONAll fields are required

ACCIDENT LAWYERS IN SACRAMENTO

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How To Avoid Car Accidents

Cycling is an environmentally-friendly and healthy mode of transportation. The high number of fair weather days makes it a very popular leisure sport and common way of getting around. Unfortunately, being on a bicycle can be very dangerous when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Bicycles don’t have as much structural integrity and the rider is very exposed. This makes a collision with a car potentially very damaging and dangerous. If you have been struck by a vehicle while riding your bicycle, speak with our accident lawyers in Sacramento who can guide you to the best course of action.

Bicycles are generally considered another vehicle on the road, though cars have a 7:1 size ratio to bicycles. Nevertheless, bicyclists are expected to follow all applicable laws as a car would. This means coming to a complete stop and taking turns in an intersection. Cyclists who do not follow the rules of the road and end up in a collision are susceptible to being liable for the crash, even if they are much more injured or incur more damage.

Though some individuals may use bicycles for leisure and won’t come across roads with other cars, many people, especially in California, use their bicycles for daily transportation. Collisions with cars are relatively rare compared to bike-only collisions, but they can really hurt a person on a bike so it’s best to do everything possible to avoid it. Intersections are the most likely place for a bicyclist to collide with a car. As much as 45% of collisions involving a bicycle and a car occur at intersections. Every case is different and only experienced accident lawyers in Sacramento are equipped enough to handle yours.

In order to avoid a collision with a car at an intersection, bicyclists should increase their visibility, understand the rules of the road, understand the elevated risk of biking in an intersection, and recognize some of the more dangerous intersection hazards, such as blind turns. Some of the dangerous found at intersections are:

  • Cars don’t expect to see a bike
  • Cars can’t see the bike
  • Cars underestimate the speed of the bike

Essentially, drivers of cars and other vehicles aren’t regularly on the lookout for bicyclists and don’t know what to expect of their behavior when they are there. When on a bike, it’s important to keep aware of your surroundings and move in a way that other drivers can anticipate. This can be accomplished by following the rules of the road and by assuming other cars aren’t aware of your presence – so don’t pull out in front of one! Some things you should do as precautionary measures are:

  • Increase your visibility!
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Be aware of the movements of other vehicles
  • Bike defensively
  • Know and be ready to execute emergency maneuvers

SACRAMENTO BIKE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

INCREASING YOUR VISIBILITY

The most common excuse drivers make when they collide with a bicyclist is that they didn’t see them. Bikers can blend in with the background and are much less conspicuous than a 2,000 lb hunk of metal, which is what other drivers are usually trained to look for. By increasing your visibility, it is possible to decrease the chance of a collision with a car dramatically. How can this be accomplished?

  • Install light and reflectors – This is the law when riding at night or in low-light conditions (e.g. fog) but It’s also good idea to ride with your light on during the day, too. Reflectors increase the distance from which a bicyclist is visible from 150 to 2200 feet at night!
  • Wear brightly-colored clothing – the most visible colors are fluorescent yellow-green and fluorescent orange. Purchasing a reflector vest in one of these colors to wear when riding a bike is very strategic. This increases the distance from which a bicyclist is visible from 400 to 2200 feet!

If you have any questions regarding bike and car accidents, speak with some accident lawyers in Sacramento who could provide the advice to avoid collisions but also provide the legal assistance to fight your claim if you’ve been injured.

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Most Collisions Occur at Night and Involve Alcohol

Most collisions between cars and bicycles occur at night. As mentioned above, it is a legal requirement that bicyclists have reflectors and a lamp on their bike when riding at night. These precautions greatly increase visibility, giving a driver of a car or other motor vehicle more time to react to the presence of the bicyclist.

Alcohol is an extremely dangerous and unfortunately common substance for individuals to use while behind the wheel. When a drunk driver encounters a bicyclist, the results can be devastating and are often fatal. Drivers under the influence have a much slower reaction time than sober drivers, who already find it difficult to see and react to bicyclists.

It’s a good idea to avoid riding a bicycle at times when drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road, such as late at night, during holidays, and at various times in college towns.

Drivers aren’t the only individuals who are guilty of operating a transportation vehicle under the influence – because of the lack of engine, many bicyclists don’t see much harm in biking home after a night on the town. Unfortunately, bicyclists may encounter cars and other hazards while on the road and being less than oneself is a very dangerous condition to be in when it may be necessary to act defensively or cautiously. The best thing to do is to not drink and bike and to avoid times and areas where drunk individuals may be behind the wheel.

Speak With One Of Our Accident Lawyers in Sacramento Regarding Your Bicycle Accident

Our accident lawyers in Sacramento have the resources and experience to provide legal advice to avoid car accidents as a bicyclist, but can also provide the legal actions to get you the compensation you deserve if you have been injured. Call The Weinberger Law Firm at (916) 357-6767 or send us an email.

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While our source article for this is five months old, the message it contains (and the lesson it imparts) is important enough that it shouldn’t matter when it was written.

The article is all about helmet cameras for bicyclists, and how these relatively new products are revolutionizing the way bicyclists keep themselves safe on the road. One case that the article references is a bicyclist who was riding along a road when he and a truck driver started to get into an altercation. It all culminated with the truck driver stopping, getting out of his truck and knocking the bicyclist off his vehicle, and eventually grabbing his helmet off his head.

The whole thing was caught on camera thanks to the bicyclist’s helmet camera, and when both he and the truck driver called the police, the video evidence was able to refute the story that the truck driver gave to the police officer. The truck driver was then arrested for assault. Because of that camera footage, a police officer was able to get instant feedback about an incident that would normally be a “he said, she said” scenario.

In addition to combating instances of assault, though, the helmet-mounted camera is a critical tool for bicyclists who want to substantiate their claims against driver in the wake of an accident. Bicyclists who are struck by a motor vehicle often suffer serious and catastrophic injuries, and they may want to hold the other driver responsible in civil court.

Well, without concrete evidence, it can be a little difficult to do that. Enter the helmet camera, which could provide video evidence of the actual accident itself. Helmet cameras are a major element to the biking community now, and that’s a good thing.

Source: CNN, “Cyclists use cameras to document reckless driving,” Emanuella Grinberg, May 13, 2015

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For most of the last century, America’s driving laws and road infrastructure have been largely been built around physical ways to control traffic. But in recent years, traffic studies have helped researchers realize that there are many psychological components to safe driving as well. Especially in urban areas like Sacramento, the ways that drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians interact is often influenced by factors we don’t consciously recognize.

Recently, state senator Carol Liu proposed a universal helmet law for bicyclists in California. Riders under age 18 are already required to wear helmets, but helmets are optional for adults. It’s unclear if the bill will pass, but the proposal alone has generated some interesting public discussion about the physical and psychological components of bicyclist safety.

As a practical safety measure (without regard to politics or laws), wearing a bicycle helmet is one of the best precautions a rider can take. Helmets literally save lives. Senator Liu cited a statistic showing that in 2009, some 91 percent of individuals killed in bicycle accidents were not wearing a helmet.

There should be no debate about whether wearing a helmet is a good idea. Indeed, nearly all riders agree that it is. But should there be a universal helmet law for adult bicyclists, with a fine for non-compliance?

This leads to some interesting arguments about psychological safety factors. On one hand, a helmet law raises public awareness about bicycle safety, and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, some bicyclists have expressed concern that this proposed law seemingly puts the burden of safety entirely on the bicyclists themselves. They also argue that a helmet law could discourage more people from riding bikes, and mass ridership is a good way to improve bicyclist safety because it gives riders a greater presence on Sacramento roads.

Moreover, some Sacramento bicycling advocates have cited studies showing that drivers behave differently around cyclists wearing helmets. They may be less likely to observe a wide buffer zone when passing a bicyclist with a helmet on.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, it’s important to remember that you have rights and legal options. You may wish to share your story with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Bill would require helmets for adults cycling in California,” Tony Bizjak, Feb. 12, 2015

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