Nov 22, 2021
Every year, approximately 850 bicyclists are killed in traffic collisions (with an additional 6,200 pedestrian deaths recorded). With a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists ranking Los Angeles fourth among major American cities with the largest number of riders, decreasing those types of collisions is especially important.
Organizations such as Streets for All are working to make Los Angeles less polluted by increasing participation in more sustainable forms of transportation, while also making the city safer. According to Streets for All, approximately 68% of trips in L.A. County are under five miles, making them an easy 15 minute ride by bicycle. The organization’s focus includes converting more of those trips to non-car transportation while improving traffic and air quality. And, as the organization notes, such efforts can “improve safety for people on scooters and bicycles and reduce potential conflicts with cars.”
Below we will look at the most common collision scenarios involving bicycles and cars (as well as trucks and motorcycles). We’ll also review how to file a personal injury lawsuit in the event that you are injured by someone else’s negligence while riding your bike.
The Most Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
1. Right Cross Collision: When a car is pulling out of a parking lot, driveway, or side street (all potentially difficult to view when riding a bike) on the right hand side, a collision can occur when a bicycle is traveling in front of a motor vehicle and struck directly. Additionally, a collision can occur if the motor vehicle pulls out and the bicyclist is unable to react in time, striking the vehicle’s side.
2. Left Cross Collision: Even when riding with traffic as is always recommended, an oncoming car in the left lane making a left turn (thereby crossing over the right lane where the bicycle is traveling) can strike a bike rider and cause a serious accident. This type of collision can often occur as a result of a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk (though it also happens when riders are on the street). Maintaining vigilance for this type of collision is important, and bicyclists are encouraged to always monitor an oncoming motor vehicle’s turn signals.
3. Wrong-Way Collision: One of the reasons it is recommended that bicyclists always ride with traffic is to avoid this common motor vehicle accident scenario. A classic wrong-way bicycle collision often involves a car or truck making a right turn and failing to notice an oncoming bicyclist in the left lane. The motor vehicle may strike the bicyclist directly, or the bike may crash into the side of the vehicle.
4. Rear-End Collision: Bicyclists should ride on the far side of the lane to avoid being directly rear-ended. But what happens when you’re riding your bike according to all safety recommendations and you have to suddenly swerve to the left to avoid a pothole? The car or truck behind you which may also be passing on your left might not be able to react in time, and cause a classic rear-end accident scenario. That’s why it’s always recommended that bicycle riders use mirrors and never move (or swerve) to the left without first checking to see what’s behind. This, of course, can be easier said than done when traveling at high speed and encountering an unexpected roadway hazard. But hazards like potholes can be easier to brake or avoid than motor vehicles you can’t see behind you (as well as much less dangerous).
5. Red Light or Stop Sign Collision: Car, truck, and motorcycle drivers routinely make mistakes that can lead to accidents with bicyclists and pedestrians at stoplights and even intersections with stop signs. Right of way crashes with bicyclists are common, and if you are struck while on your bike and you have the green light (or right of way at a stop sign), you may have a valid personal injury claim. That said, if you’re riding your bike and fail to yield to a motor vehicle with either a green light or the right of way at a stop sign, proving an injury claim may be difficult if not impossible. Bicyclists are strongly encouraged to always err on the side of caution when at any type of intersection – cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even pedestrians are known to not look out for bike riders, and serious accidents leading to injuries or even fatalities can result.
6. ‘Dooring’ Collision: Bicyclists riding with traffic on streets with parked cars are often unexpectedly struck when a motorist suddenly opens a vehicle door. Additionally, riding your bike on the sidewalk with traffic can lead to a ‘dooring’ collision when a motorist opens his or her right door. An easy way for bicyclists to avoid dooring collisions is to always ride with enough space between your bike and parked vehicles to ensure that, if a door suddenly swings open, a collision doesn’t occur. But this can be difficult in high traffic areas where bicyclists have vehicles passing on their left and potentially even a number of pedestrians in the vicinity. Accordingly, riding a bicycle with vigilance and caution is always recommended.
7. Right Hook Collision: If you’re traveling with traffic and a motor vehicle passes on your left with an upcoming intersection or street on your right, it’s recommended that you slow down as a bicyclist. Cars and trucks will often pass bicyclists without even noticing, and when they attempt to make a right turn, you could be struck directly or slam into the vehicle’s side. Checking your mirrors and riding to the extreme left side of the bike lane can help reduce the potential for this type of collision occurring.
8. Drunk or Distracted Driving Collision: Just as great a risk to bicyclists as to other cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians sharing the roads, drunk driving/driving under the influence and distracted driving collisions frequently cause serious injuries and fatalities. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol have reduced reaction times, and distracted drivers who text or send emails while behind the wheel are responsible for countless accidents every year. But while bicyclists need to always remain cautious in order to reduce these types of collisions, it’s also important to note that riding a bike while under the influence or distracted in any way is extremely dangerous. Moreover, bicyclists who do ride while under the influence or distracted are much less likely to recover any financial compensation in the event of a collision leading to injury.
9. Uncontrolled Intersection Collision: The right of way at an uncontrolled intersection is granted to the vehicle reaching the intersection first. However, many motor vehicle drivers don’t always follow this rule when it comes to oncoming bicyclists. Accordingly, bike riders are urged to exercise extreme caution when approaching an uncontrolled intersection, especially in high traffic areas. Slowing down at uncontrolled intersections can reduce the potential for a collision and limit unnecessary injuries. Furthermore, it can save lives – especially those of bicyclists.
If you’re injured in a bicycle accident due to negligence on the part of another motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation. Damages can vary depending on the facts of your bicycle accident, as well as the severity of your injury. Some common damages that may be recoverable after a bicycle accident injury include:
With Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) experienced bicycle accident attorneys on your side, as an injured victim you can be confident that we will fight to recover all applicable damages and work tirelessly to secure you the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
California follows what is known as comparative negligence law. This means that if you were injured in a bicycle accident, a portion of the responsibility will be assigned to all involved parties. Comparative negligence can mean that, for example, if a car hits you while you’re riding your bike, the driver may be found to be 100% liable.
However, in some cases, bicycle riders may share a portion of the responsibility for a collision with a motor vehicle. This can happen in many scenarios, such as right hook collisions where a bicyclist may be passing a motor vehicle as it is making a right turn.
Comparative fault is one of many reasons why injured bicyclists are encouraged to hire a trusted and proven personal injury lawyer from DLG. Our bicycle accident lawyers have the experience and skill you need, and we will fight to prove the at-fault driver’s full and fair amount of liability for your injury.
Contact us today at 818-322-4056 for a free and no obligation consultation with a DLG bicycle accident lawyer. There is never any fee until we recover maximum financial compensation for your injury. With more than $100 million successfully obtained in settlements and verdicts for our clients, you can be assured that we will do everything we can to help you make a full recovery after your bicycle accident injury – physically and financially.
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