Bicycle Accidents in Northern California
Northern California can serve up some of the most beautiful bicycle rides in the world. Whether you prefer the fresh, sea air on a coastal trip or the cool, crisp air on a higher elevation ride NorCal aims to please.
A biking vacation can provide plenty of routes to lead you away from the gridlock of the bigger cities. Rural roads and mountain paths have less car and pedestrian traffic to dodge and can offer peace and quiet not found in the urban sprawl.
Northern California Traffic Dangers for Bicyclists
The rides can be brisk and invigorating, but leaving the city behind doesn’t mean cyclists leave behind all the hazards of traveling alongside cars, trucks, and SUVs. These vehicles are present no matter where you go in California. They are much bigger, faster, and heavier than anything on two wheels and can present a perilous obstacle for riders whenever they meet, causing for severe bicycle accidents in Northern California.
Distracted and careless drivers can miss seeing a bicyclist under the best weather conditions. Drivers who hit cyclists often claim they couldn’t see the biker and his smaller profile. This is usually a cover for the driver who really didn’t take a proper look before making a move on the road. It’s a dangerous scenario for riders in the city or in out-of-way places.
A coastline ride or a forest loop can hold certain dangers that may be less common in the city:
- Narrow Backroads – Rural roads can be one or two lanes with zero room on the shoulders and medians. There are rarely extra-lanes for bicyclists or for motorists to pass a rider. Road conditions may also be more treacherous when maintenance is lacking.
- Less Experienced Motorists – Drivers out in the country or a small town may have less experience sharing the road with bicyclists and may be surprised to see a cyclist in their lane. They may not be as familiar with the state laws protecting a person on a bicycle. Inattention and ignorance of the law can lead to devastating collisions.
- Isolated Rides – You may be among giant trees or be overlooking a desolate beach. The solitude is a huge draw, but if you’re in a collision it can be harder to reach help. Dialing emergency services may be difficult in some remote areas. Getting proper treatment for your injuries may also be a challenge.
- Repairs and Service – A blowout or an urgent repair need can ruin a ride anywhere. In rural areas, locating a part or getting a lift to a bike shop may take a while.
Finding Legal Help After Bicycle Accidents in Northern California
When your trip ends with an encounter with a careless motorist, one of the other hurdles you’ll face will be finding help when you try to hold that at-fault driver responsible for your injuries.
Lawyers can be found in every corner of the state, but bicycle accidents involve many factors that greatly differ from an accident only involving cars. An inexperienced lawyer who has handled zero or few bicycle accident cases will often be in the dark about many of the options available under state law to get injured riders compensation for their hardships.
Filing a claim for damages can recover money for things like hospital bills and missed time from work, but many other losses can be included in a lawsuit. The emotional anguish and a loss of enjoyment of life in the aftermath of an accident can be covered. This would include the pain of being unable to get back on a bike. Money for the long term health of the victim can also be factored in when lifelong medical treatment is needed. The costs stemming from a resulting physical disability may be involved in a claim for damages. These are just some of the claims an experienced Northern California bicycle attorney would know to demand from at-fault drivers and their insurance companies.
What if I was partially to blame for my bicycle accident?
Victims may think they can’t get help with their medical bills if they made a mistake that contributed to their accident and injuries. This is not true. California is a pure comparative negligence state and that means that drivers and cyclists can share a percentage of the blame in an accident. A rider may be assigned 30% of the blame because he or she was in an unfamiliar setting and made a wrong turn. The driver may be liable for 70% of the accident because he or she was speeding. The end result, the cyclist can be awarded financial compensation, but the 30% blame he or she shared with the driver will be subtracted from the total.
Can I get compensation if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
This is another question many lawyers get wrong. Bay Area Bicycle Law Attorneys have helped many accident victims who weren’t wearing their helmets win compensation for their injuries. Comparative Negligence comes into play in these instances as well. Victims may be assigned a percentage of the blame for their injuries because they didn’t wear protective gear, but they may still seek partial compensation from the driver involved.
We Represent Northern California Bicycle Accident Victims
Bay Area Bicycle Law has spent years advocating for the bicycle community across Northern California. We want safer rides for every cyclist. In the event of bicycle accidents in Northern California, we also want to help protect the victim. We concentrate our practice solely on bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident anywhere across Northern California, in the city or along country roads, contact us right away for a confidential free consultation and case review.