When a motorist makes a right turn in front of a bicyclist and causes a crash, it’s often called a “right hook” maneuver. The bicyclist is jammed with no safety outlet, and his or her bike and body must absorb the impact of the collision. Then comes the second impact with the pavement below. “Right hook” (aka “right cross”) collisions are terribly dangerous for bicyclists. They can result in severe and permanent injuries or even fatalities.
The Controlling Statutes
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 21200(a), a bicyclist has the same rights and responsibilities on the roadway as a motorist. As per section 21202 of the California Vehicle Code, the general rule is that if a bicyclist is traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic, the rider must ride as “close as practicable” to the right curb or edge of the roadway. There are four exceptions to this general rule when bicyclists are permitted to take the roadway. Those are when the bicyclist is:
- Overtaking and passing another bicycle or motor vehicle that is traveling in the same direction as the bicyclist
- Preparing to make a left turn at an intersection, a private road or driveway
- Necessarily avoiding hazards or perils on the far right side of the roadway
- Approaching a location where a right turn is permitted
Bicyclists in Blind Spots
Many motorists either just don’t see bicycles in their right-side blind spots, or they forget about them. The larger that the vehicle is, the bigger the blind spots are too. Many right turn accidents between motorists and bicyclists happen when the driver of a vehicle waiting to turn just doesn’t see the bicyclist who is stopped in his or her right blind spot at a red light. When the light turns green, the motorist makes a right turn into the bicyclist. Another right turn accident scenario involves a motorist overtaking and passing a bicyclist only to turn right directly in front of the bicyclist.
Dealing with Insurers After an Accident
Insurance companies often try to shift the blame for a bicycle accident over onto the bicyclist. That’s why you don’t want to consent to giving a statement of any kind to the opposing insurer. It will only try use your own words against you in the future. Contact us first.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured as a bicyclist in a right turn accident with a motor vehicle, contact our offices right away to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll listen carefully to your version of events, and then we’ll advise you of what we believe we might be able to do for you.
There’s no question that you have the same rights on the road that a motorist has. Protect those rights, and invoke them by contacting us right away after being injured in any bicycle accident in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere in Northern California.