More residents of Southern California are purchasing bicycles, and much of the increased demand for bikes has been driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, as a result of the pandemic, many people decided to spend more time outside and bought bicycles for recreation and travel. Given the combination of an increased number of cyclists on the road and motorists who have proven to be more aggressive than in years before the pandemic struck, bicycle fatalities have risen, and most of those deaths involve collisions with bicycles and automobiles. Indeed, urban fatalities have risen by nearly 50%, and bicycle accident death rates have also increased in suburbs across America.
If you have recently begun cycling, or if you are a seasoned bicyclist but recently suffered injuries in a crash involving a car or truck, what should you know about bicycle accidents and safety?
Common Causes of Bicycle Collisions Involving Motorists
The most serious bicycle accidents are those in which a cyclist is struck by a motorist in a car or truck. Pew points out that California and most other states across the country have specific laws that are designed to protect bicyclists from these types of accidents known as “safe passing laws.” Yet just because such laws are in place does not mean that motorists will necessarily abide by those laws, and in fact, many crashes involving cars and bicycles involve traffic violations committed by the motorist.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Southern California include the following:
- Distracted driving, which can involve a motorist texting or talking illegally on a smart phone while driving, taking his or her hands or eyes of the wheel for other reasons, or even taking his or her mind off the task of driving and veering into a bicyclist, for example, in the next lane;
- Impaired driving, which can involve driving after consuming alcohol or using any kind of illegal or prescription or over-the-counter medication; and
- Aggressive driving, which can take many different forms such as speeding, running red lights or stop signs, tailgating other motorists or bicyclists, or aggressively passing bicyclists and putting them at risk of a collision.
Taking Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Injury in a Bicycle Accident in Southern California
It is important for new and seasoned bicyclists alike in Southern California to take steps to avoid crashes with negligent motorists. The following are tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Always purchase a bike that fits your size;
- Ensure that your brakes work;
- Purchase and wear protective and reflective gear, and put a light on your bicycle;
- Learn proper signaling;
- Keep your shoe laces and pant legs tucked to avoid them getting caught in the bicycle chain;
- Know your route, and consider avoiding the most dangerous times of day to ride (usually between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.); and
- Never ride your bicycle after you have been drinking alcohol.
Contact Our Carlsbad Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you or somebody you love got hurt in a serious bicycle accident in Southern California, one of the experienced Carlsbad personal injury attorneys at our firm can help you to seek financial compensation for your losses. Bicyclists should be able to feel comfortable sharing the road and should not have to ride in fear of negligent motorists. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help you with your claim.
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