A man riding his bike was hit by a Cadillac Escalade which ejected him from his bike casing serious injuries. The accident happened Saturday, June 29, 2019, around 8 a.m. when the mirror of the SUV clipped the driver who was riding with traffic on the shoulder the road, according to police.
The cyclist was wearing a helmet but still suffered other injuries including a fractured clavicle, broken ribs and collapsed lung. Officers at the scene say that the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.
A DUI was ruled out, but the CHP will be recommending to the San Louis Obispo County District Attorney to file charges against the driver of unsafe movement and not leaving at least three feet between the cyclist and the vehicle.
Riding in Traffic
Bicycling is fun and a great alternative way to commute, but it’s also dangerous. California law allows cyclist to ride on the roadways with traffic and even treats bicycles as vehicles for the purposes of the right-of way-and for code violations. However, it also recognizes that a bicycle is not the same as a vehicle. It requires that a cyclist ride on the far-right side of the roadway unless the cyclist is turning left or to avoid a hazard or dangerous condition if the cyclist is moving slower than traffic, which is going to be most of the time.
So, while it’s legal to ride on the far-right side of the road on a busy highway were the speed limit is 55+, it may not be best. It might be better to ride on the shoulder. In the above-mentioned accident, according to the CHP, the cyclist was riding on the shoulder and was clipped by the mirror.
Shoulder on Lane?
This brings up a safety issue of whether it’s best to ride on the roadway to the right or on the shoulder on a high speed limit highway. Unless the shoulder is also a sidewalk, either is legal in California—but which is better?
Some say that the best is to ride on the far-right of the traffic lane so you are visible, others say that the speed of the cars are too great to safely ride on the road, and the cyclist is better off riding on the shoulder.
It seems there are good points on both sides, and it may be one of those cases where the rider has to do what he or she thinks is safe and is most comfortable with.
What do I do If I’m Injured Riding on a Highway?
If you are riding your bike on a highway and are hit by a car, then don’t assume that it’s your fault. The law doesn’t require you to ride on the roadway if there is a shoulder to ride on, only if there is a sidewalk or no shoulder at all. Even then, you have the option of riding in the lane to avoid a hazard or make a left turn.
So either way—on shoulder or on the road—you are not automatically at fault if you get hit by a vehicle. Don’t listen to the insurance company telling you there is no coverage because of the way you were riding, rather talk to an attorney today to find out the law and your rights.
The attorneys at Bay Area Bike Law are the only firm in northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law, and they have the experience to get you full compensation under the law. Call them at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact then online. If you still wonder if they’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.
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.