According to the NHTSA, there was a 6.3 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities in 2018. California is consistently at the top of the list for the highest number of bicycle deaths in the United States each year. During the past decade, California has had the highest or second-highest number of bicyclist fatalities each year. As an experienced California bicycle accident attorney, this sad distinction comes as no surprise.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in California?
There are many reasons why bicycle accidents occur.
Being hit by a car while you are riding a bicycle can result in life-altering injuries. Pursuing legal action against the driver typically begins by filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider. However, recovering compensation for a bicycle accident claim can be difficult. Many insurance companies can make the process of filing and settling an injury claim complicated and difficult. California bicycle accident attorneys help hold negligent drivers responsible for injuries, damages, and losses sustained because of bicycle accidents.
Bicycle Accidents Cause Severe Injuries and Deaths
According to the NHTSA,
It is estimated that wearing a bike helmet reduces the chance of a head injury in a bicycle accident by 50 percent. The chance of a neck, head, or face injury is reduced by 33 percent when wearing a bicycle helmet. Twenty-one states currently have some form of mandatory bike helmet laws, including California. Our California personal injury attorneys handle bicycle accident claims, including claims involving traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries.
California’s Bike Helmet Laws
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that, in 2015, more than 1,000 bicyclists died while bicycling. 2015 data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 818 of these were bicyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and that this marked a roughly twelve percent increase from 2014. Further, the NHTSA data shows that 120 of these deaths occurred in California, and that the state’s rate of bicyclist fatalities due to motor vehicle traffic crashes was the second-highest in the nation, only behind Florida.
Chesterton, Indiana — In the summer of 2014, Sheila Gonzalez was enjoying a bike ride with her children. As the family approached a busy intersection, Sheila was the first to cross. She thought there was enough time for her to pedal across the street. Unfortunately, there was not. Sheila was struck by Sara Ritz, a detective for the Chesterton Police Department and a member of the Porter County Drug Taskforce.
What’s the Lawsuit?
Gonzalez and her husband filed a negligence suit against the task force in the winter of 2016.
The University of Southern California reported recently on an alarming study released by the University of California San Francisco. The study showed that over the past 17 years, bicycle accidents have cost America more than $237 BILLION, and that the cost of those accidents is only going up. Some of the study’s most alarming findings include:
- The frequency of bicycle accidents has increased by 120% over the course of the study
- The costs of treating injuries from bicycle accidents has increased by 136%
- Older bicycle riders are increasingly more likely to be injured while cycling than younger riders
- Accidents involving both bicycles and automobiles are increasing,
Did you know that California also has the highest number of pedestrian accident fatalities?
In California, drivers always have a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving so as not to injure others. Some causes of driver negligence include distracted driving, excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and more. A driver’s duty of reasonable care is upgraded when driving in areas where children are present, such as within the vicinity of schools.
And pedestrians have a similar duty to exercise reasonable care for their own safety.
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.
Who’s at fault when a bike and a car collide?
Many cyclists, especially those who ride for pleasure rather than commutation, try to ride through as few intersections as possible. Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that most bicycle accidents (59 percent) involve only the biker cyclists most frequently collide with cars at intersections.
If you have suffered a serious personal injury in a bicycle accident, you should consult with a competent personal injury attorney at once to see if you have a viable case against the driver involved.
Is bicycling a leading cause of sports-related brain injuries?
Bicycling in Northern and Southern California is a popular exercise and recreational activity, and most cyclists ride with bike helmets – even though the state’s law only mandates helmets for riders who are under the age of 18. While helmets offer some degree of protection, and are obviously better than no helmet at all, accidents and head injuries can still occur.
Now, a bioengineer at Stanford University is testing new helmets that are designed to be safer than foam helmets.