A cyclist riding his bike in traffic and at night ran into the path of an oncoming Dodge Caravan and was killed. The accident happened in the area of Oswell Street and Alloway Lane, Monday February 11, just after 10 p.m.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the man was not wearing reflective clothing nor had reflector on his bike. The driver of the Caravan stopped and attempted to render aid and waited for authorities to arrive.
Night Riding Bicycle Crashes
Most of the bicycle crashes take place during the day, which makes sense because nature of riding and the demographics of the riders—not to mention the sun being out. However, when cyclists ride their bikes at night, they are at an increased risk of being seriously injured or killed.
According to a Canadian study of bicycling accidents, 20 percent of all bike accidents—those reported to police—happen at night while only 8 percent of bike riding happens at night. This means that when riding at night, a bike rider needs to be more cautious and intentional regarding their safety.
How to Avoid Crashes Riding in the Dark
Bike riding at night is more dangerous, but these dangers can be reduced by following certain steps and using common sense. Some tips to riding at night:
- Reflectives Reflectives Reflectives: It can’t be stated enough (apparently) that reflective clothing and bike reflectors make a bike more visible, especially at night.
- Bike Lights: Head and tail lights can increase the visibility of a cyclist as well.
- Plan your route: Don’t just start riding. Plan out your route and avoid highways with a lot of traffic and high speeds, if possible. Choose streets that are lighted well.
- Go with traffic: This is good advice even in day riding, but at night with less visibility, a driver has even less time to react, so riding with the traffic allows the driver more time to see you before they pass you.
- Ride with Someone: Two bikes and riders with reflectors and lights shows up even more. Also, if someone is hurt, or you have to repair your bike, there is someone else to help and stop traffic.
Who is at Fault?
According to a study on bike riding and liability, the vast majority of bike accident resulting in injury or death are the fault of the motorist. However, even if the fault is the motorists, many cyclists feel that their injuries are their fault if they didn’t have reflectors or lights on their bike.
California law requires cyclists to have certain approved visibility equipment on their bikes and if they don’t, they can be fined. However, if a cyclist is inured and doesn’t have their bike up to code, it doesn’t mean that they will not be compensated.
California also has a law that says if you violate a vehicle code it doesn’t automatically make you at fault for a personal injury if it was due to the violation. 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.
So if you are injured and weren’t following the proper bike visibility laws, don’t assume it’s all your fault. Talk to an attorney about your rights and give you an evaluation of your case.
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 of 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 with bike accidents, 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.
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.