With beautiful weather all year long, Manhattan Beach is home to many bicyclists who ride to work, for exercise, and for fun. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for bicyclists to share the road. Bicycle accidents can cause serious injury and damages due to a lack of protection. Contacting a Manhattan Beach bicycle accident attorney after the accident is important.
Even with protective clothing, collisions can result in severe or even permanent injuries. Most bicycle accidents result in injuries that must be treated in a medical facility. And the risk isn’t limited to the road. Bicyclists face the dangers of accidents even on bike paths and during races.
California Bicycle Laws
State law affords bicyclists the same legal rights and responsibilities of motor vehicle drivers. However, in addition to having the same protections, bicyclists are also held to the same rules and regulations. This means that it’s important to observe all traffic signs and signals.
Bicycle riders are at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to being involved in an accident. They must do what they can to minimize the risk of an accident, including:
- Wearing a helmet
- Use hand signals and eye contact to communicate intentions with other drivers on the road.
- Ride in safe lane positions while in traffic.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
More than 100 bicyclists in California are killed every year and more than 10,000 injured in collisions, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Most of the body is unprotected when riding a bicycle. This means the risk of serious injury in accidents, even at low speeds, is greater than most other forms of transportation. Common injuries sustained from bicycle accidents include:
- Head injuries. Even with a helmet, concussions and other closed head injuries may occur.
- Fractures and breaks.Broken and fractured bones are common in collisions and accidents involving bicycles. This is due to the likelihood of being thrown to the ground.
- Road rash. This is a severe abrasion of the skin caused by pavement friction upon collision. It is also a common injury in motorcycle accidents.
- Spinal injuries. Spinal injuries are a serious risk any time a rider is thrown from a bicycle or collides with a vehicle.
- Internal bleeding and bruising. Falling off or being thrown off of a bicycle, even at low speeds, can cause internal bleeding and bruising of organs.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Since many bicyclists share the road with vehicle drivers, many accidents are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle. The following causes are often responsible for bicycle accidents:
- Parked cars opening doors into bicycle lanes, hitting bicyclists.
- Vehicles backing up without looking for or noticing bicyclists.
- Cars making turns or merging without seeing the bicyclist.
- Vehicles attempting to pass a bicycle without sufficient space to do so.
- Poor road conditions, such as potholes and debris.
Because bicycles aren’t as large or easily visible as motor vehicles, they are struck more often. Even when the bicyclist is at fault, sometimes the accident could have been avoided if a large vehicle were involved instead of a bike.
Always exercise extra caution when bicycling in traffic, in bike lines, on bike paths or in a race. When an accident does occur, remember to call your Manhattan Beach bicycle accident attorney at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP. We can give you the best chance of recovering expenses and receiving compensation related to your accident.
Even bicyclists riding on the sidewalk have rights. In some locations, a bicyclist may have the right to ride on the sidewalk, even in the opposite direction of traffic. If the bicyclist isn’t riding, motor vehicle drivers are still required to watch out and exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accident Claims
In California, a bicycle rider who is injured by a negligent driver is entitled to seek compensation for the damages they suffered. However, because California is a comparative negligence state, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, the amount of damages you can recover may be reduced by the percentage to which your own negligence contributed to the accident.
Read more about comparative negligence in California.
The answer to this is easy: As soon as you possible after your accident! You have a limited timeframe after a bicycle accident in which to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses caused by your injuries. In addition to the state law that limits how long a person has to file a personal injury claim, it’s also important to start the process of collecting evidence and building a case quickly.
Learn more about when to file a personal injury claim
There are several types of damages that may be awarded in a bicycle accident lawsuit, including:
– Past and future medical expenses
– Past and future impairments
– Lost income/loss of earning capacity
– Pain and suffering
Learn more about compensation in a personal injury claim.
Bicycle Accident Case Result
The Manhattan Beach personal injury attorneys at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP have helped many clients who have been injured by negligence. For example, we recovered $101,561 for a bicyclist who suffered a hip fracture.
In this case, our client was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic when he was struck by a vehicle exiting a parking lot. Under California law, bicycles may be ridden on the sidewalk unless prohibited by a local ordinance. On a road, bicycles must ride the same direction as traffic. But there is no such requirement for bicycles on a sidewalk unless by local ordinance.
The driver of the vehicle in this case had checked her left side for traffic but not her right. This is the direction our client was riding from.
While this was a case of comparative fault because our client should have also kept a better look out, the driver’s insurance company refused to accept any liability.
Scott Dinsmore established that the driver of the vehicle was aware that a hedge partially blocked the view on her right side. She admitted to only looking to her left for traffic coming, then proceeded straight and immediately hit our client.
Mr. Dinsmore used California bicycle law and the testimony of the driver to finally get the insurance company to pay the policy limits to settle the case.
Representation by an Experienced Manhattan Beach Bicycle Accident Attorney
Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP knows how stressful bicycle accidents can be. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis — if you are not awarded compensation for your claim, you owe us nothing. It pays to have a knowledgeable Manhattan Beach bicycle accident attorney by your side.
Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 310-318-1220 to schedule a free consultation or learn more information about bicycle accident representation.