Bike riding at night can be dangerous and motorists are sometimes blind to the low-profile of a bicycle and rider. When the sun goes down, it gets even riskier for the cyclist. According to a report from the National Transportation Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of accidents happen between 6 pm and 6 am.
Riding at night in rural areas like Tulare County where many of the roads are two-lane with narrow shoulders presents challenges. Most have orchards, vineyards and farmland on both sides with few—if any—street lights. This makes riding dangerous on its own, let alone when it’s dark out.
Cyclist Killed Riding at Night in Tulare County Recently:
A 76-year-old man was hit by a motorist while riding his bike eastbound along Avenue 192 just west of Road 200 near Woodville. The California Highway Patrol said that the accident happened around 10:30 pm Monday, April 6, 2020, when an eastbound motorist struck the cyclist from behind.
Unfortunately, he died at the scene. The CHP also says that the driver was unable to see the cyclist in time to swerve out of the way.
Night Riding Dangers:
California law requires cyclists who ride at night to have reflectors on the pedals, the front and rear of the bike along with a white light visible from 300 feet (CVC §21201). While we have no idea if the cyclist in the above-mentioned story had reflectors and lights on his bike, the reason for these is simply for visibility.
The number one risk is that a motorist won’t see the cyclist in time to avoid him or her. There are other risks when riding at night. The cyclist might not be able to see enough to avoid potholes, abandoned or parked cars, ditches, and debris.
Who is at fault for accidents at night?
First, understand that just because you were hit riding at night on a dark, two-land rural road doesn’t mean that the accident is automatically your fault. There are a lot of factors that will determine who was at fault. California law requires that the at-fault driver of a car be negligent before he or she is liable for damages.
When riding at night, the question becomes whether the driver was watching the road and being vigilant by not speeding, texting, fiddling with the radio or engaging in any other activity that could increase the risk of an accident.
For the cyclist, the question is whether the cyclist took reasonable steps to made sure he was visible. Many cyclists think that if the bike was one reflector shy or the light was only visible 100 feet that the law will declare the cyclist at fault.
This isn’t necessarily true.
Find out your Rights.
If you’ve been injured while riding your bike in Tulare County, speak to an attorney to will advise you of your rights under the law. Don’t take the word of the other party or the insurance company that you were at fault. Most attorneys don’t charge for a personal injury consultation.
Contact a Tulare Personal Injury Lawyer.
After any accident involving a serious injury or a death in Tulare, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian is a Tulare personal injury lawyer who takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and personalized attention to detail their case deserves.