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Bicyclist Struck While in Bike Lane at Night


A Toyota Corolla drifted into a bike lane at 11 pm on Thanksgiving Day striking 29-year-old male cyclist sending him to the hospital with serious injuries. The accident happened at the 8600 block of Clairmont Mesa Boulevard, when the Toyota drifted out of a right-turn-only lane into a designated bike lane striking the cyclist.

Visibility seemed to be a factor according to the police officer at the scene. The  driver of the Toyota remained at the scene and was cooperating with police and was not suspected to be impaired.

Night Time Cycling

Cycling after dark poses a host of risks for both cyclists and motorists. Although we do not know what caused the accident mentioned above, when a cyclist does not have lights or reflective equipment on the bike, the risk of collision and injury are greatly increased. In a Florida survey, it was found that 60 percent of cyclist adult fatalities occurred between twilight and sunrise even though the same time accounted for only 3 percent of cyclist ridership.

According to California Vehicle Code, Section 21201, a cyclist riding in the dark must have a light on the front of the bike that illuminates up to 300 feet away. The bike must also have a red reflector in the rear of the bike that can reflect light seen 500 feet away, and a white or yellow reflector on the pedals and on each side of the bike.

Night Time Bike Riding Dangers

Riding at night carries certain innate dangers. Some of these are:

  • Poor visibility for cyclists and motorists.
  • Increase risk of impaired driving and cycling.
  • Street lighting poorly designed or maintained.
  • Light glare.
  • Bicycles not having proper lights and reflectors.

Who is at Fault?

So what happens if I’m injured by a vehicle while riding my bike, but I didn’t have the proper lighting and reflectors on? Does this mean that I won’t be compensated for my injuries? Not necessarily. While it’s true that the law requires certain visibility equipment, failure to do put those on might put you at risk for a citation, but also under California law, a vehicle code violation doesn’t mean that you were negligent.

Why? Because citations are dealt with in criminal court, and the issue of who was at fault in a personal injury is determined in civil court. There are different laws and standards used to determine negligence.

Do I need an Attorney?

If you were injured while cycling at night, speak to an attorney even if you think you might be at fault. Don’t take the word of the insurance agent or their lawyers, talk to an attorney that understands the laws regarding night time bicycle riding. The attorney’s at Bay Area Bicycle Law have the experience dealing bike accident, and they are the only law firm in Northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law.

Contact the attorney’s at Bay Area Bicycle Law to get someone working for you. You can call (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online.