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State Highway System: Accessibility for Bicycles

Accessibility for Bicycles

The Central Valley of California, which includes Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Kern counties, have state highways that lead to scenic and popular regions. Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are accessible through the state highway system. Currently, there is no accessibility for bicycles or pedestrians. That’s why Assembly Bill No 2615 was introduced.

Assembly Bill No 2615

This piece of legislation was introduced to give more people better access to federal, state and local parks that are adjacent to or connected to the state highway system. The Department of Transportation will be required to partner with the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as federal, regional and local agencies, or public entities.

Dangers of No Protection

Bicycle safety means something different to us now than it did when we were kids. We were of a mind that throwing on a helmet was enough then, but now we know the serious repercussions that can happen when we’re not fully aware. Bicycles don’t have any of the protective features cars do. An impact could lead to serious conditions. It could even be fatal. Laws that help promote safety and protect more people with better accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians is a step in the right direction.

Accessibility for Bicycles

Most state parks, like Yosemite, Kings and Colonel Allensworth, are popular biking spots, so having more accessibility for bicycles makes sense. Access should be enjoyed. Biking is not only a form of exercise, it’s a form of relaxation, especially when accompanied by refreshing scenic views. While safety should always be at the top of your mind, knowing you’re more protected can help you enjoy the ride.

We’ll Fight for You

Bicycle accidents and the personal injuries they can create are no joke. If you need someone to take your concerns seriously, call the attorneys at the Maison Law Firm. Big insurance companies don’t want to compensate you for your injuries, medical costs, missed wages and more. We are on your side and will make sure they play fair. Maison Law Firm has three locations that cover the Central Valley. We are in Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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CA A 1755: 2018 Bicycle Operation

Bicycle Operation

In 2018, California legislation submitted Assembly Bill No 1755. It makes all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle on the road also apply to a bike on a path. Essentially, it makes an accident on bike paths and other Class I bikeways subject to the Vehicle Code.

This piece of legislation regarding bicycle operation began with a case in which a hit-and-run cyclist hit a jogger who ended up hospitalized. No charges of hit-and-run could have been brought against the perpetrator, had he or she been found, since it happened on a Class I bikeway.

Here Are Some Ideas to Keep You Safer

  • Comply with all traffic laws.
  • Use the bicycle lane if available.
  • Stay as close to the curb edge as possible.
  • Yield to pedestrians and make use of crosswalks.
  • Use lights when biking at night.
  • Don’t ride with earplugs in both ears.
  • Stay off freeways.
  • Keep up maintenance on brakes and safety systems.
  • Never operate a bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear a helmet – it could save your life.

Dangers of Bicycle Operation

When we were younger, we might have thought bike safety meant to not let anyone ride on the handlebars. Now, we know bicycle operation is more serious than that. There is no steel surrounding you. No air bags or seatbelts. No thick, rubber tires to help absorb a blow.

Impact is direct. Some personal injury claims from bicycle accidents include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, eye injuries, torn ligaments and soft tissue, internal organ damage and lacerations. A bicycle accident could result in not only a loss of wages, but it could impact your quality of life.

Don’t Fight Alone

You could represent yourself in a bicycle accident claim but with changing laws, like the newly introduced AB 1755, it’s best to have someone who knows what your rights are and how to enforce them. Visit us at Maison Law Firm in California’s Central Valley. We have a team of experienced lawyers ready to fight for you.

You can call us 24/7 and your first consultation is free: 559-203-3333.

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Most Common Bicycle Accidents in the Central Valley

Bicycle Accidents

With the highest concentration of commuters on bicycles of any state in the nation, California is actively committed to increasing the safety and comfort of cyclists throughout the state. At the same time, city and county initiatives to support cyclists have grown in popularity throughout the Central Valley. The question is: Is it safe to take to the roads on a bicycle in Fresno, Bakersfield and the surrounding areas? With an increase in cyclists often comes a corresponding leap in bicycle accidents, which can have far-reaching implications for those injured while riding a bike.

How Common are Bicycle Accidents?

A safety report commissioned and released by the city of Bakersfield shows a total of 64 combined fatalities between 2014 and 2017 for pedestrians and cyclists. Of those fatalities, 9 were cyclists. What isn’t indicated in this data, however, are injuries resulting from accidents involving bicycles and additional data from the areas immediately outside the Bakersfield city limits.

In Fresno, approximately 130 collisions involving bicycles are reported to police each year. Of those accidents, 2 to 3 will result in loss of life. These rates earn Fresno one of the highest bicyclist fatality rates among the 50 most populous cities in the United States, despite a growing number of bike lanes and shared-use paths for cyclists.

Common Causes of Accidents

Cars in general are a justifiable concern for cyclists in the Central Valley. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 29 percent of injuries among cyclists between 2008 and 2012, in the United States as a whole, were caused by cars. Even more alarming, the same data shows that 74 percent of total cyclist fatalities in the United States during the same period were caused by cyclists being struck by the front of vehicles traveling in the same direction as someone riding a bicycle. The League of American Bicyclists report up to 40 percent of serious injuries resulting from bicycle accidents occur when their bicycle is rear-ended by a motor vehicle.

Distracted drivers, people driving under the influence and inexperienced drivers can all be perilous for cyclists. Despite a statewide bicycle and pedestrian support plan enacted in 2017, California still ranks 4th in the nation for per capita bicycle fatalities.

To stay safe, cyclists should always use appropriate hand signals when crossing in front of vehicles, but still assume the driver cannot see them clearly. Using lights and reflectors can help increase visibility, but the rate of cyclists struck by cars traveling in the same direction means it’s also important to pay attention to vehicles traveling behind you, as well as oncoming traffic.

Despite making every effort to stay safe in traffic, bicycle accidents do happen. When they happen to you, it’s vital you have legal representation to ensure access to the treatment and recovery time you need. Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm may be able to help you secure the compensation you deserve. Call today to discuss your unique situation.

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Bicycle Accidents are Down, but Only Due to Less Cyclers

Bicycle Accidents

While the fact that bicycle accidents are down is good news, the numbers are misleading under further scrutiny. The data shows sixty-two people lost their lives in 2017 due to being struck by cars while riding bicycles in Southern California. This is according to data tracked by Ted Rogers, who is the editor of Biking in L.A. Mr. Rogers obtains his data from local news reports along with information provided by coroners’ offices and family of the deceased.

The reduction in number of deaths, Rogers theorizes, is due to a reduction of bicycles on the roads as a result of infrastructure, which isn’t conducive to riding bicycles. The inability to safely ride a bicycle is an uncomfortable and harrowing experience, causing those who are less daring to ditch their bicycles for other forms of transportation – including walking.

Bike Lane Infrastructure

According to a number of sources, including Rogers and Zachary Rynew of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, bike lane infrastructure is an area of road safety which doesn’t receive enough consideration. Rynew contends that bike lanes are “added piecemeal but they aren’t forming a network that can safely get people to where they need to go.”

This results in cyclists running out of designated road and having to run the risks associated with mingling in normal traffic. An increase in bicycle accidents is an almost inevitable result, if the same number of riders present on the roads of California. The coalition has noted a decline in bicycle riders that has been ongoing since the early 2010s.

When bicycle accidents increased due to the popularity of cycling as a cheap and effective form of travel, safe street projects received a period of support in government. However, Los Angeles City Council members halted a number of bike lane projects in the city in 2017. Much of the rollback on bike lanes was due to protests.

The numbers are clear when comparing the work completed on bike lanes in recent years. Less than 9 miles of bike lanes were laid in Los Angeles in the fiscal year covering 2015-16. Rewind back to the 2011-12 fiscal year and there were 50 miles of bike lanes laid to help prevent bicycle accidents. This, the county bicycle coalition says, closely correlates with a reduction in the number of people prepared to actively ride bicycles on the streets of L.A.

Pedestrian or Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The reduction in number of bicycle accidents does not necessarily mean California citizens are any safer on our streets and roads. If you have been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you have the right to seek compensation, if you were not to blame. Maison Law can help you pursue monetary compensation for your injuries and losses.

Reach out to the offices of Maison Law to further discuss the details of your accident. We are committed to fighting for fair compensation on behalf of clients who have suffered injury or damages as the result of an accident which wasn’t their fault.