A boy was riding his bike on the River Road U.S. 101 overpass when he was struck by a Toyota. According to police, the accident happened around 6 p.m., Monday, September 25, 2019, when the cyclist crossed the entrance to the onramp to U.S. 101 and the Toyota attempted to turn right onto the onramp.
Police say that the boy wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was struck and was transported by Sheriff’s helicopter to USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The driver of the Toyota remained at the scene and cooperated with police. Neither drugs nor alcohol were believed to be a factor in the accident.
Cycling in Traffic
In California, a cyclist is allowed to ride in traffic with other vehicles and is treated as a motor vehicle for the purposes of rights of way and code violations. The law also requires cyclists to travel with traffic and stay to the far right-hand side of the lane—or in a bike lane—when traveling slower than the flow of traffic.
Who’s at Fault?
So what happens when a cyclist is violating those rules and gets hit by a car? Is it automatically the cyclists fault?
It seems to make sense that if someone is incorrectly riding their bike by going the wrong way and not obeying helmet safety laws and gets into and accident, it would automatically be the cyclist’s fault.
However, this isn’t what the law says. In California, a violation of a traffic law can’t be used to be a final determination of civil liability in a personal injury suit. This doesn’t mean that the driver’s attorneys can’t bring up the fact that the cyclist was driving contrary to traffic laws, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the cyclist can’t collect compensation for his or her injuries.
In a civil suit, the injured party has to prove that the other person was negligent in the way they operated their vehicle, and that the negligence was the cause of the person’s injuries. In California, a driver of a car has a duty to be on the lookout for cyclists—especially children. The idea is that children need to be protected and they don’t always do what’s reasonable and prudent. Basically, they are children, and adult drivers are to take that into consideration.
California also uses comparative negligence which means that each party’s actions will be given a percentage of negligence and the damages will be paid according to those percentages. This means that if a child cyclist was 30 percent negligent, the driver that hit the child would be responsible for 70 percent of the injuries.
Injured? Contact a Specialist
Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing injured cyclists. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base and familiarity to handle bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise.
Contact us today for a free consultation by email or by calling 415-466-8717. California cyclists who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to a wide array of compensation. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.
Please be aware that these case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and case values turn on small facts and differences. Thus, the results achieved on one case do not necessarily mean the attorney will achieve the same result, or a similar result, even for a case which may have some similarities.