If you ride a bicycle, then you know the benefits. Riding a bike is good for the environment, it’s good for your health, and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident through no fault of your own, though, you also know that riding a bicycle can result in injuries.
The San Bernardino personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw have nearly two decades of experience handling bicycle accident claims. We know the difficulties you may be having meeting your bills and paying for those unexpected medical expenses, especially if you had to take time off work to heal your injuries. Call today for a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We’ll advise you about your legal options and help you figure out what to do next.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?
OnderLaw understands the ramifications of a bicycle accident. We have represented many people involved in bicycle accidents, and we can help you, too. You need an attorney who not only knows the law and has experience on their side, but you need an attorney who will work with you to get the full and fair compensation you need for your injuries. OnderLaw is here for you.
Bike Laws in San Bernardino
In San Bernardino, the following laws apply to bicyclists:
- Bicyclists must be licensed to operate bicycles on any street, highway, or public property unless the bicycle is licensed with the police department.
- Bicycles are to be registered with the police department.
- Clinging to moving vehicles. It is against city code for a bicyclist to attach to a moving vehicle while on the bicycle.
- Bicyclists are required to ride their bikes on the street. The exception to this is that children eight years old or younger are allowed to ride on the sidewalk until their bike riding skills are sufficient to make it safe for them to ride in the street.
- Helmets are required for riders under the age of 18.
Bicyclists are required to obey the laws of the road. This means that a bicyclist must:
- Drive with the traffic. All bicycles are required to be ridden on the right-hand side of the road.
- Traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs. Riders must stop at red lights as well as at stop signs.
- Crossing traffic. Bicyclists must cross traffic at the intersection and designated areas.
- Bike lanes. Where bike lanes are designated on the roads, bikers are required to use the bike lane.
Causes of Bike Accidents
Bicycle accidents can be devastating for the bicyclist due to the lack of protective shell that a vehicle provides. The most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
- Distracted driving. There are a number of causes for distracted driving, both for the cyclist and the operator of a motor vehicle. Among them are texting, calling, looking at a map, changing a radio station or the volume, and other cars on the road.
- Failing to leave an adequate buffer. Drivers should leave enough space between themselves and a bicyclist to allow them enough reaction time in the event of an unexpected event. When vehicles travel too close—“tailgating”—there may not be enough time or space to avoid a collision.
- Going too fast reduces the driver’s ability to effectively react to incidents on the road. A higher speed also means a longer time is required to come to a complete stop. It also reduces the ability to maneuver properly.
- Weaving through traffic. People who repeatedly change lanes and go around other vehicles and bicycles may not be fully aware of the traffic up ahead. This is particularly true of seeing bicyclists in time to avoid a collision.
- Unsafe lane changes. A driver who doesn’t take the time to look at the traffic around them, who fails to check his or her mirrors and doesn’t check the “blind spots” can swerve into a lane that is already occupied by a bicyclist.
- Turning without looking. This is similar to an unsafe lane change. This is most common when making a right turn on red. It is not unusual for such a turn to take place with a person looking to their left to make sure no traffic is coming. This driver will fail to notice the bicyclist in the bicycle lane to their right.
- Running a red light or stop sign. Distracted driving or speeding are two of the main reasons people run stoplights. Being unaware of a stop sign until the last minute can also result in running a stop sign.
- Failure to yield. The norm is for vehicles to yield to the vehicle on the right if two vehicles approach an intersection at the same time. Failure to yield may cause a collision with a bicycle because the driver of the vehicle may not consider bicycles as vehicles to be yielded to.
- Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription, over-the-counter, and others) or inclement weather will cause the reaction of the vehicle driver to be impaired. Such drivers have slower reaction times and delays in reacting.
- Driving while fatigued. Similar to impaired driving, someone who is fatigued while operating a motor vehicle may become easily distracted in their effort to try to remain alert and aware. Reaction times will be slowed, increasing the possibility of an accident.
Common Injuries Suffered in Bike Accidents
According to the Association of American Family Practitioners, bicycling crashes rank second only to animal-riding injuries as recreational causes of injury. In the same article, it was noted that these injuries can result from a biking accident:
- Head injuries. Such injuries can include skull fractures, concussion, brain contusion, and bleeding in the head, such as subdural hematoma.
- Face and eye injuries. These may be fractures in the bones of the face, dental breaks (broken jaw, teeth knocked out), injuries to the eyes caused by the sudden jarring of the eye against the skull, and foreign bodies such as gravel or glass may injure the eyes.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. This includes broken bones, muscle strains or sprains, and dislocated joints. This can also affect the torso, such as broken ribs and injuries to the lungs or other organs.
- Internal injuries. Internal bleeding may result from a bicycle accident, and injury to various organs can occur.
- Skin injuries. “Road rash” is when the skin is scraped against the road surface. Cuts and bruises can also result from the accident.
- Genital and pelvic injuries. This can harm the urinary tract and can include hip injuries.
There is also the impact on one’s emotional and psychological state. The trauma involved in an unexpected collision can have a long-lasting effect and will need treatment by a professional.
Compensation for Bike Accident Injuries
When you are injured in a bicycle accident, you may seek damages, another term for money, to compensate you for the injuries and losses you sustained.
- Medical expenses. Because bicycle riders lack protection while riding, being hit by a vehicle will most likely result in physical harm requiring immediate medical treatment, possibly for the long term. The cost of medical treatment can run high.
- Loss of income. After a bike accident, the likelihood of needing to take time off from work to recuperate and recover from the injuries can prevent you from earning wages. If the injuries are severe enough, you may no longer be able to work at all. This loss of income is a loss for which you can seek damages.
- Property damage. Your bicycle and biking equipment, as well as any other personal property that must be repaired or replace, such as cell phones or clothing, can be taken into account in your compensation.
- Emotional damage and mental anguish. It is not unusual for a person to suffer mentally and emotionally as a result of a collision. This might require professional treatment. The cost of the treatment and the injury can result in damages being awarded.
- Loss of consortium and companionship. If the injuries are severe enough, the way you relate to your spouse and family or significant other can be irretrievably altered.
State Bike Accident Statistics
In California Healthline, statistics reveal that more bicyclists (455) died from traffic accidents from 2016-2018 than any other three-year period over the previous 25 years. In San Bernardino, the number of deaths from bicycle accidents was 27 from 2016-2018. The reasons for this include:
- Greater number of vehicles and bicycles in use. Bicycling has become more popular for environmental and health reasons. Likewise, as the population of the state has increased, so, too, has the number of vehicles on the roads. This increase in vehicles and bicycles reasonably means an increase in the likelihood of collisions involving bicycles.
- Greater distracted driving. With the advent of cell phones and other electronic devices, it is easier for today’s driver to become distracted while operating their moving vehicle.
- Larger vehicles on the road. The use of pickup trucks and commercial vehicles has increased over the years. These vehicles are harder to stop in a timely manner and are more difficult to maneuver in traffic. As a result, they are more likely to be involved in a vehicle-bike collision.
Contact OnderLaw to Help You
OnderLaw has experience in representing people like you who have been injured in a bicycle accident through no fault of their own. We will take the time and effort to get to know you and your needs before we take on the people who caused you harm. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us and let us begin the process of getting you the help you need.