Bicycling is a fantastic way to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors, especially in California, where cyclists enjoy premium cycling weather year-round. Unfortunately, when cars and cyclists collide, it is always the cyclist that loses, often faced with serious and life-threatening injuries.
Such was the case in Soquel this past week when a 31-year old cyclist was struck and killed by an Audi late one Wednesday night. The 18-year old driver stopped at the scene, but was not arrested.
Police are searching for witnesses who may be able to shed light on what happened. It is not known whether the driver was driving in a reckless fashion or whether the cyclist was riding with lights.
What laws are in effect in California to keep bicyclists safe?
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, over 100 bicyclists are killed or injured each year in bicycle accidents. These accidents are caused both by the actions of cyclists and inattention by drivers.
As more and more cyclists converge on California roadways, they are fighting for more rights to protect them. These laws are directed both at cyclists and at automobile drivers. Laws aimed at cyclists include:
- Following the same rules and regulations as automobiles – this includes riding sober, riding for conditions, speed control, signaling and obeying traffic signals.
- Riders under the age of 18 must wear helmets (CVC §21212)
- Being visible and alert – this includes wearing reflective clothing and riding with lights and reflectors at night (CVC §21201)
- Not riding with earphones in both ears (CVC §27400)
- Riding with traffic (CVC §21650)
Automobile drivers must also recognize that cyclists are allowed to occupy traffic lanes, pursuant to CVC §21202. This is often an issue of contention between cyclists and automobile drivers.
California also enacted the “Three Feet for Safety Act” in 2014, which requires automobile drivers to give bicyclists 3 feet of space before passing. If there isn’t enough room to do so, the driver must slow down and pass only when there is room and it is safe to do so.
The bottom line – everyone on the road must do there best to avoid a collision. This requires patience and awareness.
Injured in a Bicycling Accident?
At the law firm of J&Y, our experienced bicycle accident attorneys know that each case has a unique set of circumstances. If you were injured or had an accident while cycling, call our office today at (888) 806-6722 for a free evaluation of your case.