Bicycle Injuries and New Safety Laws in California

darkedinburgh_bike2Are San Diego bicyclists safe from a serious car accident when they head onto the roadways? While a recent article from CBS Sacramento emphasized that a bicycle safety law took effect around this time last year, that report also underscored that many California drivers simply do not know what the law entails or how to share the road properly with cyclists. A recent string of severe and fatal bicycle accidents in the San Diego area makes clear that our state may need to get tougher when it comes to bicycle accident prevention and law enforcement.

Recent Bicycle Accidents in San Diego

When it comes to recent news surrounding serious and deadly bicycle crashes in San Diego, the news simply is not good. For instance, earlier this week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a 51-year-old bicyclist suffered serious injuries after being struck by a car in Pacific Beach. The automobile crashed into the cyclist as he attempted to cross Mission Bay Drive. According to a San Diego police officer on the scene, the rider did not attempt to cross the street at a crosswalk or an intersection. In striking the cyclist, the vehicle caused “several abrasions, a broken arm, and a head injury.” The rider was transported to a local hospital by emergency responders. At the time of the collision, the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet.

While the recent accident in Pacific Beach did not prove deadly, other bicyclists have not been as lucky. A recent report from San Diego 6 News indicated that a 63-year-old rider suffered fatal injuries at the end of last month after he rode into an intersection against a red light. And other cyclists in Southern California have suffered serious injuries—potentially attributable to negligence on the part of the automobile drivers—within the last month.

For example, an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on a hit-and-run bicycle accident that occurred on September 17th and left a woman with a “major leg injury.” The rider had been cycling behind her husband in a designated bike lane when a compact car struck her from behind and kept driving. Status reports on the injured cyclist have suggested that recovery from her injuries may take up to two years. During the first week of September, a similar news report revealed that a 38-year-old bicyclist suffered critical injuries after being struck by a driver in Balboa Park. The rider suffered head injuries that were described as life-threatening.

California Bike Lane Laws

Could ignorance about certain California bike safety laws be to blame for the recent increase in serious and fatal bicycle injuries? The CBS Sacramento article reminded readers that our state established a three-foot bike law more than a year ago, which went into effect on September 16, 2014. The law is designed to give riders a “buffer” between themselves and dangerous automobiles on the road.

However, the California Highway Patrol recently indicated that it has only issued six citations for violations of this law. According to Jeanie Ward-Waller, a spokesperson for the California Bicycle Coalition, “it’s surprising that there’s been so little enforcement when we know there are huge safety issues in every city and town across California.” Bicycle safety advocates suggest that better enforcement could help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents and fatalities throughout the state.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you should discuss your case with a dedicated San Diego bike accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about your options for seeking compensation.

See Related Blog Posts:
Bicyclist Sustains Head Injury in San Marcos
Bicycle Accidents and Highway Interchanges

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