Bicycle-related fatalities – approximately 700 a year – account for about two percent of all traffic fatalities on U.S. streets and highways. Bicycle-related injuries, however, are far more frequent, and those injuries are often catastrophic. If you or someone you love is injured by a negligent driver while riding a bicycle in southern California, you have the right to compensation for your medical care and related expenses, but you’ll have to fight for that compensation with the help of an experienced Pasadena personal injury attorney. Bicycle enthusiasts can help themselves avoid injury by knowing – and looking out for – these five leading causes of bicycle accidents:
- Inattention: On a bike, you can never take your eyes off the road, but too many cyclists are looking at smartphones, iPods, or other devices while riding. Don’t.
- Speeding: Bicyclists seldom ride as fast as cars do or break the speed limit, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to ride as fast as possible. Other vehicles, road conditions, and weather conditions are all factors to consider when determining a safe speed.
- Bicycling too close to traffic: Drivers should keep at least three feet between their vehicles and the bicycles they are passing. It’s the law in California. Bike riders should work to maintain that distance as well.
- Not obeying the rules: Under the California Vehicle Code, all rules of the road that do not apply exclusively to motor vehicles are also applicable to bicyclists. Bicyclists must obey traffic lights, stop at stop signs, and use signals when turning. Too many bike riders are injured because they fail to follow the rules of the road.
- Carelessness off the road: Some bicyclists let their guard down in parking lots or on sidewalks. You can’t do that. Sidewalks and parking lots require extra caution because what happens there is less predictable than what happens on the street.
If you know the causes of bicycle accidents, and if you use the appropriate safety measures – including good lights and a good bike helmet – you’ll substantially decrease your chances of being hurt on your bike. However, if you’re injured by a negligent driver in spite of your best safety efforts, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Pasadena personal injury attorney.