With its warm weather, diverse terrain, and beautiful scenery, California is one of the best places in the country to explore on a bicycle. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a new rider, there’s something for everyone when it comes to bicycling in California. While it’s certainly a popular activity for thousands of Californians, there are countless others that are either brand new to the experience or in the early stages of development.
This inexperience can sometimes lead to accidents, especially when you consider the number of other people on the road throughout the state. California routinely sees thousands of bicycle accidents per year. In fact, data from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) found that there were 7,639 bicycle accidents statewide in 2021. In short, accidents can happen at any time to even the most experienced rider.
Thus, it’s important for new bicyclists to educate themselves on how to ride safely and what to watch out for in terms of the causes of these accidents.
California Bicycle Accident Victims Can Rely on Maison Law
No matter what level of experience you have riding a bicycle in California, Maison Law can help if you’ve been in an accident. Our team of experienced California bicycle accident lawyers provides full-service legal support for you and other bicycle accident victims, helping you recover from injuries and damages by explaining your rights and how to approach a claim. While the recovery process can be challenging, having our team on your side can make things much easier. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
Why Are Bicycle Accidents So Dangerous in California?
While bicycling is a great way to stay active and healthy, it’s not without its risks. Unfortunately, California is not unique in the various risks and dangers of riding a bicycle. In fact, there are certain factors that make bicycling in California more dangerous than in other areas. These include:
- High traffic – California is a heavily populated state, and many cities and urban areas have high traffic volumes. This means that bicyclists are more likely to encounter cars and other vehicles on the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Limited infrastructure – While California has made significant strides in improving its bicycle infrastructure in recent years, many roads and streets still lack designated bike lanes or other safety features. This can make it difficult for bicyclists to ride safely and can increase the risk of accidents.
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving is a growing problem in California, as it is in many other states. When drivers are distracted by their phones or other distractions, they are more likely to overlook bicyclists on the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Reckless driving – Speeding is also a significant problem in California, particularly on highways and major thoroughfares. When drivers are traveling at high speeds, they have less time to react to unexpected obstacles or changes in traffic, increasing the risk of accidents involving bicyclists.
These factors are often in conjunction with more general dangers of riding a bicycle, like:
- Lack of protection – Unlike motorists who are protected by the frame of their vehicle, airbags, and seat belts, bicyclists have very little protection from the force of an impact. When a bicyclist is hit by a car or collides with a stationary object, their body is directly impacted, increasing the likelihood of serious injury.
- Lack of visibility – Bicyclists are often hard to see, particularly in low-light conditions or when motorists are not paying attention. This can result in collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, or other obstacles.
- Road hazards – Bicyclists are also more susceptible to road hazards such as potholes, gravel, or debris in the roadway. These hazards can cause a bicyclist to lose control of their bike, resulting in a fall or collision.
- Inexperience – Many bicyclists are inexperienced or do not follow proper safety procedures, such as wearing a helmet or following traffic laws. This can increase their risk of accidents and injuries.
It is important for both bicyclists and motorists to be aware of these dangers and take appropriate safety measures to prevent accidents. This is especially true for those California bicyclists that are just starting out. Things move fast on California roads, so being able to take things slow isn’t always possible.
Tips For New California Bicyclists
If you are a new bicyclist in California, here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road:
- Wear proper equipment – Always wear a properly fitting helmet when you ride. This can greatly reduce your risk of head injury in the event of an accident. Also, wearing safety gear on other parts of your body can reduce the risk of other injuries.
- Follow traffic laws – Bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as other drivers. This includes obeying traffic signals, using hand signals when turning, and riding in the same direction as traffic.
- Use bike lanes and paths – Whenever possible, use designated bike lanes or paths. These areas are generally safer for bicyclists and can help reduce the risk of accidents.
- Stay visible – Make sure you are visible to motorists, especially in low-light conditions. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, use lights or reflectors on your bike and avoid riding in blind spots.
- Be predictable – Signal your turns and movements, and ride predictably to help motorists anticipate your actions.
- Stay alert – Stay alert and aware of your surroundings while on a bike. Watch for hazards such as potholes, debris, or other obstacles.
- Stay off the sidewalk – Riding on the sidewalk is generally not safe or legal. Use the roadway or designated bike lanes instead.
- Practice and build your skills – Practice riding in safe, low-traffic areas to build your skills and confidence before venturing onto busy roads.
Even if you’re just starting out, following these tips can help you reduce your risk of accidents and injuries while enjoying the many benefits of bicycling in California. At the same time, accidents can happen at any time–even if you’re being careful. Thus, it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself in a bicycle accident.
What Should You Do If You’re In a Bicycle Accident in California?
The unfortunate reality of riding a bicycle in California is that you’re vulnerable. You’re vulnerable to accidents, vulnerable to injuries, and vulnerable to elements. No matter how cautious and careful you are, you can find yourself in a bike accident. The question is, what are you supposed to do if it happens to you? Here are a few steps to take:
- Check for injuries – Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. Call 911 if anyone is seriously injured. That way, you or others can get immediate medical attention.
- Move to safety – If possible, move yourself and your bike to a safe area to avoid further accidents or hazards.
- Seek medical attention – Even if you don’t feel injured, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Exchange information – Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved in the accident. This includes name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
- Collect evidence – Collect as much evidence as possible, including photos of the scene, damage to your bike, and any injuries sustained. Get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
The top priority for you after a bicycle accident should be your health and safety. But it’s also important to act quickly and follow these steps to protect yourself. If someone else was at-fault for the accident you’re in, you have legal rights. Thus, you should strongly consider contacting our team of bicycle accident lawyers. We can help protect your rights and seek available benefits and support for your damages.
Experience and Dedication From California Bicycle Accident Lawyers
California is a great place to ride a bicycle, whether you are just a beginner or a seasoned pro. But it’s not without its dangers. Of these dangers, the most serious are the accidents and the injuries that result from them. When you are injured in a bicycle accident, Maison Law will be there to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been in a bicycle accident in California.