San Rafael Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Although many people associate car accidents with collisions between motorists, the reality is that many crashes are actually between motorists and pedestrians or cyclists. Cyclists, in particular, are especially at risk. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that more than 1,000 bicyclists lose their lives every year in collisions with motorists, while an additional 467,000 sustain injuries.

To help reduce their chances of injury, bicyclists are encouraged to wear helmets, equip their bicycles with lights, and wear fluorescent clothing. Unfortunately, even when bicyclists take these precautionary measures, they are still more at risk of sustaining serious and even deadly injuries if they are involved in a crash, as they do not have the protection of seat belts and air bags. For these reasons, motorist-cyclist collisions tend to have particularly devastating consequences for cyclists, many of whom suffer from serious head trauma, broken bones, and lacerations. Treating these types of injuries is prohibitively expensive, making it especially important for cyclists who were injured when a motorist collided with them to speak with an experienced San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer who can help them seek compensation for their medical bills and other losses.

Risk Factors

Like car accidents, bicycle accidents can occur just about anywhere and at any time. There are, however, certain people who are more at risk of being in an accident than others. For example, according to the CDC, adults between the ages of 50 and 59 years old have the highest rate of bicycle accident-related deaths, while children and adolescents have the highest rates of nonfatal injuries, with the latter group accounting for more than one-third of all bicycle accident victims. Most bicycle accidents occur in urban areas and in non-intersection locations, while alcohol involvement is involved in around 37 percent of bicycle-motorist accidents.

Other situations that are notorious for resulting in bicycle accidents, involve the following:

  • A failure to obey traffic signals;
  • Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes;
  • Speeding or otherwise driving recklessly;
  • A failure to yield as directed;
  • Drifting into a nearby bike lane; and
  • Failing to give a cyclist enough space when passing.

Tragically, this kind of negligence causes thousands of bicycle accidents every year, many of which were preventable.

Road Conditions

Although human error accounts for most motorist-cyclist collisions, cyclists also face a number of other dangers on the road from which motorists are protected. For example, obstacles that are merely irksome to drivers, such as slick pavement or potholes, can pose a serious risk of injury to bicyclists who are not shielded from the road. Potholes in particular are some of the most dangerous road hazards that a cyclist can face, as cyclists who encounter them could spin out of control or even be thrown from their bicycle and into traffic where they could be struck by a passing car. Potholes are almost always the result of either improper road repair or long-term wear and tear that is left unaddressed. This type of negligence can also result in uneven road surfaces, which can also be extremely dangerous to bicyclists.

Slick road surfaces are another unique hurdle faced by bicyclists. Painted roadways, for example, can cause a bicyclist to lose control, especially when the markings in question are wide, such as those in pedestrian crosswalks. These types of accidents occur when the road paint fills in the asphalt’s natural gritty texture, which then reduces a bicycle tire’s ability to grip the surface. Metal surfaces, such as manhole covers, are equally as dangerous if they become wet, as are leaves if they are left to pile up in such a way that they completely carpet the area. Sewer grates are also problematic for many cyclists, as the bars are often placed in the same direction as traffic, which can result in the tires themselves becoming lodged between them. While many cities have started using different designs to prevent these types of accidents, many outdated grates still remain across California.

Fortunately, those who are injured in accidents caused by poor road conditions may still be able to collect compensation from the party responsible for maintaining the roads. This could be a private company contracted by the city or the city itself. In the latter case, the injured party will need to comply with stricter filing requirements, as it is generally much more difficult to hold a government body liable for injuries. However, it is not impossible, especially for those who are represented by an attorney who is well-versed in the necessary deadlines and other filing procedures required to file a claim.

Dooring Accidents

Dooring accidents are another type of common bicyclist-motorist collision, although in these cases, it is not the motorist who crashes into the bicyclist. Instead, these accidents occur when a motorist is parked on the street and failing to see an approaching bicyclist, opens his or her car door into the cyclist’s path. Drivers have a duty to keep an eye out for cyclists and so can be held liable for negligently failing to check surrounding areas before opening their door. However, bicyclists can also share some liability for these types of accidents if they were also careless. For instance, cyclists who dart out from between two cars before crashing into a motorist’s door will most likely not be able to collect the full amount of damages.

Potential Injuries

When motorists collide with cyclists, it is much more likely that the bicyclist will sustain serious injuries, as their exposure to the full force of a collision’s impact leaves them vulnerable to the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can cause coma, mood swings, paralysis, and even death;
  • Spinal cord injuries, which can also result in partial or full paralysis;
  • Compound bone fractures;
  • Joint dislocations;
  • Muscle and soft tissue injuries;
  • Severe lacerations;
  • Chest and abdominal injuries; and
  • Amputations.

Treating these kinds of catastrophic injuries often require multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Even after treatment ends, the injured party could remain permanently disabled, resulting in additional medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Fortunately, by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, injured cyclists stand to collect compensation to cover these and other costs.

Call Today to Speak with an Experienced San Rafael Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you are reading this post and were injured in a collision with a motorist, then you’re in the right place. Please don’t hesitate to call 415-942-6915 to discuss your questions and concerns with a compassionate and dedicated bicycle accident attorney at the Dolan Law Firm who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.