Bicycle riders are at particular risk for collisions and falls. As cyclists are essentially unprotected, even a low impact collision has the potential for serious injury. Laws in California requiring anyone under the age of 18 to use protective helmets have reduced the incidence of fatalities from head injuries in children, but adult bicyclists remain vulnerable to injuries, many of which are life threatening or life altering.
Collisions with motor vehicles present the greatest threat for serious injury to bicycle riders. Over the past ten years, as cycling becomes increasingly popular among adults, both as a mode of transportation and an approach to physical fitness, the number of adult cyclist fatalities and injuries has increased proportionately. Consider these alarming statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration:
- 716 bicyclists and riders of other non-motorized cycles were killed in traffic collisions in 2008. Another 52,000 were injured.
- 87% of the cyclist fatalities were males; 79% of injured cyclists were males.
- In 2008, the average age of cyclists killed was 41; the average age of cyclists injured was 31.
- Of the 716 cyclist traffic fatalities that occurred in the 50 states, 109 were killed on California roadways.
While bicyclists are held to the same legal responsibilities as the drivers of motor vehicles, bicyclists also have specific rights and protections under the California Vehicle Code and the California Streets and Highways Code, such as the restricted right of way in designated bicycle paths, lanes, and routes. Studies have shown that bicyclists who share the roadway with motor vehicles are typically alert and take special care when making turns, accelerating, or braking, but the majority of collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles occur when a motorist fails to yield the right of way, especially at an intersection.
You may also have a liability claim against an entity that controls or maintains the roadway if you have been injured as a result of a hazardous condition such as debris, potholes, or poorly maintained roads or parking lots. Injuries can also be caused or exacerbated by manufacturing defects in your bicycle or by faulty safety equipment, in which instance you may have a claim against the manufacturer, assembler, distributor, or seller.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you should take prompt action. Contact the Law Offices of Kroger-Diamond & Campos to arrange a free consultation.
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