California law prohibits bicycles on most of its freeways, allowing them in only around 1,000 miles out of the roughly 4,000 miles of freeways. Most people think that riding bikes aren’t allowed on any of the freeways in the state, however, federal law allows the states to determine if cyclists are allowed.
In turn, the state allows cities and counties to determine if bicycles are allowed in their jurisdiction. This makes for a hodge-podge of stretches where riding is allowed and where it’s not. The reason that freeway riding is allowed is if there lacks suitable travel options between larger communities for cyclists.
Obviously, the reason for not allowing cyclist is the danger from the lack of space for bicycles to ride and the speed of the cars on the freeway.
Cyclist Killed on I-80 in Richmond
California Highway Patrol responded to a call about metal debris on I-80 in Richmond around 8:15 p.m., Saturday, November 23, 2019, and when they arrived, they found that a cyclist had been hit and was lying in the westbound lanes of the freeway.
According to CHP, the man was traveling westbound on the freeway just east of Richmond Parkway and was stuck by a passing motorist and then struck by several other vehicles. It’s uncertain why the cyclist was hit originally or how many other cars struck him.
A sign on the onramp to the I-80 Freeway just east of where the man was killed states that bicycles are prohibited.
Who’s at Fault when a Cyclist is Hit on the Freeway?
When a cyclist is riding on a freeway and gets struck by a motor vehicle, it almost seems that it’s going to automatically be the cyclist’s fault for even being there in the first place. Then when the accident happens in a section of the freeway where bikes are prohibited, then it seems fairy cut and dry.
However, that’s not the way the law works. In California, a charge or conviction of a vehicle code violation doesn’t automatically mean that the person is negligent in a personal injury suit. The law requires that the injured person prove that the other driver was negligent.
So, the questions then become is whether the driver of the car was negligent when he or she hit the cyclist, or was the cyclist negligent when the accident happened? Since we can’t say that the cyclist was negligent just because he was out on the freeway when it was prohibited, then we have to look at what happened when the car struck the bicycle.
If the cyclist was out in the lanes of traffic, then it would seem that the cyclist was at fault. However, if the cyclist was on the shoulder, and the car hit him after leaving the traffic lane, then this might shift some or all of the blame to the motorist.
Either way, to determine negligence, the circumstances of the collision need to be presented in court, and a jury would decide who was negligent and at what percentage. In California, a jury is allowed to assign blame to each party, and that party has to pay for their share based on their percentage of blame. This is called comparative negligence, and it can be used to share the costs of the injuries and other damages based on the negligence of each person.
Northern California’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers.
Bay Area Bicycle Law works with clients all over the State of California and is one of the state’s only personal injury law firms working exclusively with injured cyclists.
We handle cases in your area, and there are many benefits to working with a specialist.
Years of advocacy for bicycle crash victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills to handle bicycle accidents cases with the utmost level of professional expertise. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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.