If you or a loved one were involved in a bicycle accident in California and were injured as a result, trust the personal injury professionals at MI ABOGADO® to get justice for you. We will fight to hold any negligent party accountable for their actions and to secure the maximum settlement you deserve. You have the right to be compensated for your losses.
Bicycle riding is a favorite pastime for many Californians. Not only is it a great way to exercise, and a cost-effective hobby, but it is an environmentally-friendly and convenient method of transportation, allowing you to beat California’s notoriously bad traffic. With more and more companies turning to cycle-to-work schemes as an employment benefit, bicycle riding is becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport for Californians.
While everybody should have the right to travel safely on California roads, especially bicyclists, that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, bicyclists are known as “vulnerable road users” for a reason and are at a heightened risk of injury when involved in an accident. Put simply, when a car strikes a bicycle, the car is going to come out of the accident with far less damage. Bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic, even fatal injuries, where motorists can leave the scene unscathed.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
Bicycle accidents are unfortunately common, especially because they’re typically the result of a party acting negligently or violating traffic laws. The sad truth is that bicycle accidents usually could have been prevented. In an average year, 11,000 bicyclists are injured in California, with about 160 of those accidents resulting in fatalities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration operated by the United States Department of Transportation has additional information on bicycle safety here: Bicycle Safety: Bike Safety Tips for Kids and Adults | NHTSA The Department of Motor Vehicles for the State of California also provides bicyclists information here: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety – California DMV. Lastly, see these videos from the California Highway Patrol on bicycle and pedestrian safety: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety (ca.gov).
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Many factors play into why bicycle accidents occur, and more than one factor may be responsible. California law is adapting to keep its roads safer for cyclists. The newest law, which took effect at the start of 2023, requires that motorists must change lanes if they can when approaching or trying to pass a bicyclist.
Here are some common causes of Bicycle Accidents:
- Distracted Drivers: Distracted drivers are one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents. Drivers need to use extra caution when driving near bicyclists. Accidents as a result of distracted drivers can result in life-threatening injuries, especially when the distracted driver doesn’t see the accident coming and has a chance to slow down.
- Reckless Drivers. Like distracted drivers, reckless drivers can do great harm to bicyclists. They may be driving aggressively, speeding, tailgating, failing to follow traffic laws, or they may be driving while impaired.
- Dangerous Weather Conditions. While dangerous weather can cause accidents in any vehicle, bicycles are most susceptible due to their lightweight and reliance on the driver to keep balance. Slippery roads are difficult to navigate in all-terrain vehicles and can present an even larger challenge to cyclists. Fog, wind, rain, ice, and snow can all contribute to bicycle accidents.
- Dangerous Road Conditions. Poor road conditions can play a huge role in bicycle accidents. While a car may glide over a pothole with minimal difficulty, even a small pothole can eject a cyclist from their bicycle. It is the local government’s duty to maintain public roads so they are safe for all who use them, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. While conditions such as debris or an animal in the road are out of anyone’s control, when the bicycle accident is the result of poor road conditions, the cyclist may be entitled to collect from the local government or from the property owner if cycling
- Low Visibility. Cyclists can be hard to spot, especially at night, and, as such, the rate of fatalities in bicycle accidents is higher at night. Bicyclists must take extra precautions, such as installing lights on their bicycles and wearing high-visibility reflective clothing to make it easier to spot them. Just as it is the responsibility of the local government to provide safe roadways, it is also their responsibility to provide adequate lighting. If your accident was due to poorly lit roads, you may be able to hold the local government responsible for your injuries.
- Traffic Violations. Like any accident, issues of failing to stop, yield, and misjudging the right-of-way can play a huge role in bicycle accidents, especially at intersections, merging lanes, and traffic circles. Similarly, changing lanes and turning without checking for obstacles can result in accidents.
- Failing to leave an adequate buffer. Drivers have a tendency to become agitated when a cyclist is in front of them, due to the cyclist’s lower speed, and may follow too closely. This can pose a serious danger to cyclists.
- Motorists driving too close to the bike lane or using the bike lane. California law requires that motorists leave at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist from behind, but that is not always the case, and, even without making contact with the cyclist, approaching a bicycle rider too closely can spook them and cause them to lose control of their bicycle.
- Car door injuries. All too often, bicycles collide with car doors when irresponsible drivers and passengers fail to check for oncoming traffic when opening their car doors. This can lead to serious injuries for cyclists.
- Defective bicycles or helmets. Bicycle and helmet designers, manufacturers, and distributors have a duty to sell safe products. If a cyclist is in an accident as a result of a bicycle malfunction, or if their helmet fails to adequately protect the cyclist following a collision, the designers, manufacturers, and distributors could be held liable for their injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycles provide little protection to riders, especially when hit by a car, which weighs, on average, 2,700 pounds. As such, bicycle crashes can result in grave, even fatal injuries, with the potential for lifelong complications.
It is only legally required for cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet, under California law. However, wearing a helmet is good practice for all riders, as they have been shown to drastically reduce the potential for head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Similarly, cyclists can protect themselves by wearing proper protective gear, such as cycling shoes, proper clothing, and reflective vests.
Common injuries that result from bicycle accidents include:
- Scrapes, lacerations, and abrasions
- Soft tissue damage
- Road rash
- Bone fractures
- Back and neck injuries, including spinal cord damage.
- Head injuries, including skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Facial, eye, or dental injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
How MI ABOGADO® Can Help with Your Bicycle Accident Claim
The team at MI ABOGADO ® understands that, following a devastating bicycle accident, you need to make your recovery your first priority. That’s why, if you trust us with your case, we make it our mission to take care of the rest. We pride ourselves on offering the timely, responsive, and effective advocacy only a boutique practice can provide, and we will fight relentlessly for the maximum possible settlement.
First, we will put our network of trusted medical professionals across the state of California to use to ensure you’re receiving the highest quality care. From there, we begin with a comprehensive investigation of your accident, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and ascertaining which parties need to be held accountable for their negligence.
After we’ve constructed the strongest possible case, tailored to your unique circumstances, and after we’ve explored every avenue to strengthen your case and your rightful settlement, negotiations begin. We hope to resolve your case out of court to save you the grief, uncertainty, and stresses associated with trial, but if we cannot reach a settlement that fairly addresses the harms you’ve suffered, we are prepared to take your case before a judge and a jury so you can see justice.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
While headquartered in Los Angeles, MI ABOGADO ® takes cases across the state of California. We have an extensive network of trusted professionals and have implemented sophisticated technology, allowing us to proudly represent clients from San Diego to San Jose.
MI ABOGADO ® believes that, after a bicycle accident, with medical bills and lost wages burdening you already, you shouldn’t have to give anything more to seek justice for your losses. That’s why we take all cases only on a contingency fee basis. In short, we don’t get paid you get paid. Again, we don’t receive a dollar until you see results for your losses.
We offer free and confidential consultations, as well as second opinions. Contact us today, so we can get started fighting for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible for compensation to repair or replace my damaged bicycle?
If your bike has been damaged, you have the right to receive compensation for the cost of repairs or, if it is beyond repair, the replacement value. This part of your claim, known as the property value portion, is typically resolved before the rest of your case is finalized.
What is the deadline for filing a bicycle accident claim in California (i.e., the statute of limitations for bicycle injury claims)?
In general, you must file a lawsuit for your bicycle accident within two years from the date of the accident. However, if the injured cyclist is a minor, the two-year period does not start until they turn 18, allowing them to file any time before their 20th birthday.
NOTE: If a government entity may be responsible for your accident, you must file your claim with them within six (6) months of the accident, regardless of whether you are a minor. Failing to do so may result in the judge dismissing your claim.
Who should I sue to recover damages?
You should sue the person(s) responsible for your damages, which may include the vehicle owner, driver, bike manufacturer or retailer, bicycle repair shop, or a government entity that maintains the road where the accident occurred.
Can I still recover damages if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Yes, although California law only requires cyclists under 18 to wear helmets. The final compensation amount will depend on the fault percentage of all parties involved in the accident and/or injuries.
Can I still receive compensation if I was riding at night without lights on my bike, riding on the wrong side of the street, or riding on the sidewalk?
Yes, in each case. Some cities have specific rules for bike riding locations, including sidewalk restrictions.
Can I still obtain a settlement if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes. The final compensation amount will be based on the fault percentage of all parties involved in the accident and/or injuries.
Can I still file a lawsuit if the car didn’t hit me but caused me to sustain injuries?
Yes. If someone’s actions forced you to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision (but didn’t hit you), you can pursue a claim against them if you can prove they were negligent and responsible.
What if the police report is unfavorable to me?
A police officer’s report is generally inadmissible in court. Without a favorable police report, you’ll need to establish the facts and fault independently. Our investigators at MI ABOGADO ® can help recover and document evidence while it’s still fresh to ensure crucial information isn’t lost. We handle cases where payment depends on obtaining a recovery for you; if there’s no recovery, you owe no fee.