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Two Bay Area Biking Stories in the News and What To Learn from Them

Bay Area news outlets survey bike and motor vehicle accidents when they occur, particularly when they involve serious injuries and/or lead to traffic congestion. However, these media reports often fail to contextualize these crashes and help readers understand what they mean and how they can prompt better safety habits. Below, we report on two scary bike crashes that recently shook up the area and explore some useful lessons from them.

Conflicting Reports about Bike Accident at Green Light

In late August, a man riding his bike suffered serious injuries after an accident in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. Apparently, the driver had been turning right won a green light, but the 31-year-old man attempted to pass the vehicle and hit the car’s mirror. He fell down, hitting his head on the concrete. The blow caused life-threatening injuries, but he fortunately survived after being hospitalized immediately. The police did not take anyone into custody, and the car’s driver reportedly cooperated with the investigation.

Initial news analysis suggested that the driver had been following standard traffic protocols and that he could not have prevented the accident. Instead, investigators argued that the cyclist engaged in risky behaviors and thus caused the collision. Of course, without a detailed forensic examination of what happened, it’s impossible to say exactly what went wrong and who was to blame. The lesson: avoid jumping to conclusions about your accident. An investigation might reveal surprising key details.

Fatal Bay Area Biking Collision Inspires Road Safety Reform Movement

After the death of a 52-year-old bicyclist on November 3, 2015, several area bicycle safety advocates issued a strong call for road safety improvements near the site of the crash. Four agencies, including Caltrans, Santa Clara County and the cities of Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills, have joined forces to address how to improve the area. The city plans to replace current bicycle crossings with new lanes and a path that offers a more scenic route.

While the bike safety groups have applauded these temporary measures, they want a permanent fix. One measure proposes installing colorful bike lanes that clearly show where bikes and vehicles belong. Authorities are also considering installing flashing traffic lights. However, funding needs, estimated at between $200,000 and $300,000, are delaying the temporary renovations. A new interchange could cost an estimated $20 million.

The lesson: poor road conditions and signage can and do lead to bicycle accidents and even deaths. Depending on circumstances, victims might be able to pursue legal action against government agencies that should have taken preventative measures.

Our Bay Area Biking Attorneys Can Help You Obtain Fair Compensation

Most bike accidents do not make the news, because they involve solo riders and, fortunately, do not lead to fatal consequences. However, even seemingly minor collisions or incidents can prove quite costly to victims in the long run. For instance, a biker who suffers a neck sprain might miss 3-4 months of work (billable time lost) and also need to pay for ongoing, expensive chiropractic or massage therapy to avoid being in discomfort. Depending on what happened to you, you may be able to hold a driver, insurance company or other liable party responsible for those and other costs. Our seasoned Bay Area bicycle lawyers can help you. Please call or email us to schedule a free consultation.