Did someone hit you in a bike lane? You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
Bicyclists have a right to use the roads just like motorists. But here in California, there seems to be an ongoing feud between cyclists and drivers.
Too often, drivers menace cyclists, yell insults out the window, and make unsafe maneuvers that put cyclists’ lives at risk. Or they ignore them altogether! City governments and bicycle safety advocates have tried to alleviate the problem by adding more bike lanes, but that’s not a cure-all.
Bicycle crashes still happen. When you’re the victim of a severe crash, it shakes up your whole life. When injured in a bicycle accident, injured cyclists often face months of recovery time, not to mention lost days of work and huge medical bills.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help you after a bike lane accident. We’re cyclists ourselves, so we truly care about maximizing your bicycle accident case value so you can get your bills paid, get your bike fixed, and stay on the road to recovery.
Wondering whether you have a case for compensation against the person who hurt you? Put your mind at ease with a free bike lane accident case evaluation.
What’s a California Bike Lane Accident?
A bike lane accident occurs when someone — a motorist, an Uber driver, a truck driver, a scooter rider, or even a pedestrian — collides with a bicyclist within a bike lane. Generally speaking, motorists aren’t permitted to enter bike lanes unless they’re making right turns or are vehicles specifically allowed to do so by law, like garbage trucks and utility vehicles.
Bike lane accidents can also occur just adjacent to bike lanes. This brings up an important fact everyone should know: Here in California, cyclists aren’t required to use bike lanes at all times.
There are many laws that protect cyclists’ rights to share the roads, enter and exit bike lanes, and generally travel safely. When a bike lane accident happens, it’s often due to someone outright disregarding a cyclist’s rights or simply failing to see them riding nearby.
Common Types and Causes of Bike Lane Accidents in California
Sometimes, bike lane accidents happen because people don’t know the laws or don’t care what the laws are. Bicyclists face a lot of discrimination and stereotypes from drivers who like to think they own the roads.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys see certain types of bike lane accidents again and again. Below are some common types of cases and their causes.
Right-Turn and Right-Side Crashes
One of the most common types of bike lane accidents we see is a right-turn crash, where a car slams into a cyclist while turning right. It’s a driver’s responsibility to ensure their path is clear before making a turn, but sometimes they don’t check for cyclists first.
Similarly, right-side crashes occur when cars drive too close to cyclists along the right side of the road, with or without an obvious bike lane available. The right side of the car sideswipes the cyclist and knocks them into a dangerous slide.
A dooring accident happens when a driver opens their door into a bike lane and either strikes the cyclist or creates a situation where the cyclist has no time to react and runs straight into the door. Being doored is a nightmare for a cyclist and can cause severe injuries.
A large proportion of bike lane accidents happen at intersections. Some of these are right-turn accidents, as discussed above, but others involve cyclists and drivers crossing paths at 90-degree angles.
In some of the worst-case scenarios, cyclists are riding innocently and legally in bike lanes crossing through intersections. Vehicles run red lights and/or exceed the speed limit, then hit cyclists and severely injure or kill them.
Distracted driving is an enormous problem across the country that causes 2,800 deaths and 400,000 injuries per year. A driver might overlook a cyclist while messing with their cell phone, adjusting an in-car display, chatting with passengers, or doing a hundred other things.
Over a thousand people die due to drunk driving in California every year. Some of these are cyclists who were simply riding in bike lanes at the time, unaware that a drunk driver was about to put their life at risk.
Poorly-Lit and Dangerous Roads
Sometimes a government or municipality is partly to blame for your bike lane accident. Maybe the bike lane was full of debris, poorly lit, or improperly marked and led you into danger. Talk to your lawyer about whether a government entity may play a role in your crash.
Common Bike Lane Accident Injuries
It’s common to have body-wide injuries after a bike accident, with the extent of your injuries depending on the severity of the crash. Here are some common injuries.
- Soft tissue injuries like bumps and bruises
- Knee injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Road rash
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Back and spinal injuries
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Chest and ribcage impact injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of feeling in the limbs
- Limited range of motion
- Problems with balance
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
You might also have long-lasting mental and emotional injuries that need significant psychological treatment. Seek treatment for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and your treatment is likely to be covered by an insurance claim or lawsuit.
The Time Limit for Bike Lane Accident Claims
Bike lane accident claims have a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. It’s usually within two years of the date of the accident, but sometimes this period shortens if you’re dealing with a government entity.
The clock starts ticking the day of your accident, so don’t wait too long. Talk to an accident attorney as soon as possible to start building a strong case for compensation.
Who’s Liable for Your Bike Lane Accident?
You’re probably hearing plenty of opinions about who’s at fault for your accident. Some people might even be pointing the finger at you! Lawyers, insurance companies, judges, and juries typically look at a long list of factors to decide who’s at fault.
Factors in bike lane accidents may include:
- Relevant bicycle laws
- Where and when the crash occurred
- The weather and road conditions
- Police reports
- Witness accounts
- Expert witness testimony
- How each person was positioned in the crash
- Damage to vehicles and bicycles
- Drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Video footage
Keep in mind that California is a comparative negligence state, where the fault may be split among parties, with each receiving a proportion of the blame and compensation. That’s a good thing! It means even if you share partial fault, you can still get a portion of the costs paid for your accident.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Claim
If you suffered serious injuries in a severe bike lane accident, you need a lawyer as soon as possible. Before you know it, you’ll have a big pile of medical bills and other problems piling up. It’s time to decide on your next steps.
First, preserve any evidence you may have, like debris from the accident and your demolished bike. The more evidence you have, the better, especially if it matches the details listed in the police report.
Now’s also a good time to photograph your injuries, including any cuts, bruises, deformities, or scarring. Continue to document these injuries even as they heal. Also, photograph your medical gear like crutches, casts, slings, canes, and so forth.
Save your medical records and keep track of your medical costs. This is a huge part of determining the value of your claim, even if most of your costs are covered by your health insurance. Track all of your out-of-pocket costs too, like bus fares, Uber rides, and copays.
Next, it will be time to open a claim with the other person’s insurance company. Don’t start this step without a lawyer!
You’ll be asked to share personal information, like your social security number, and they may ask for a recorded statement. Don’t provide either of these things without talking to your lawyer first because it could all be used against you.
Also, don’t talk about it on social media. A bike accident is an overwhelming event, and it might feel irresistible to update your friends on social media. But this gives the other side details to twist however they wish and destroy your case!
Get a Bike Lane Accident Lawyer ASAP!
Sure, you can try to handle your case yourself, but it’s a stressful and risky thing to do. Here’s why.
An insurance company will toss out a lowball offer when they know you don’t have a lawyer. They’ll assume you don’t know what you’re doing and that your costs will be minimal.
Also, an insurance company usually offers compensation for your past medical bills, but what about your future treatment? Your mental health counseling? Your lost days of work? The value of your beloved bike?
Plus, you’ve experienced pain and suffering that deserves to be valued. These elements of damages are guaranteed by California law and should never be undervalued by an insurance company that’s pressing someone for a quick settlement.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our law firm doesn’t take our fee until the conclusion of your case after you’ve already covered the costs of your bike lane accident. So let’s talk about your crash in a free and confidential consultation to start building a strong case for compensation!
We Handle Your Accident Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
After a car accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including bike lane accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.