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Oakland bicycling fanatics love the scenic rides the city provides.  Whether it’s across the Port of Oakland, along the Embaradero Highway, or just getting around downtown there’s plenty of variety for every need.

Local bicyclists know they often have to share the lanes with some heavy Oakland traffic levels at times. There are enough commuters out every day but add to that all the rideshare and delivery traffic buzzing around 24/7 and bikers can find a hazardous road ahead at times.

Uber Traffic Dangers Around Oakland

Uber got its start in the bay area and pulling up their app is a handy alternative for many locals needing a lift to get to work or for a shopping trip.  The biggest rideshare company of all wants our business and will pick us up almost anywhere, but in return, they owe us some safety on our roads.

If you bike in Oakland you’ve probably gotten good at spotting the vehicles out for Uber.  The drivers tend to make a lot of stops and can sometimes be distracted by their jobs.  Bicyclists already have an uneasy relationship with distracted drivers. Careless drivers cause thousands of bicycle accidents every year.  Someone on the clock can have even more reason to forget to double-check that mirror and fail to see bicyclists.

An article from Bay Area Bicycle Law collected the sad traffic statistics on bicycle accidents in California.  In a single year, bicycle deaths in California made up 4% of all auto accident deaths in the state which is double the national average of 2%. Over a six-year period, 98% of the bicycle accidents resulting in a fatality involved a collision with a motor vehicle.

Bicyclists may be the most vulnerable people on the roads.  They have almost no protection when compared to cars and SUVs that can weigh over two tons.  An Uber driver can be alongside a cyclist and be more focused on a customer than the road.  An accident can be the result and a cyclist can face the consequences of a collision and tumble to the ground.  The rider can suffer severe injuries and be left wondering how to hold a driver and the company they drive for responsible.

Uber Distracted Driving Causes

Distracted driving is always a major cause of collision between cars and bikes.  Uber drivers can battle distractions all day when they’re on the clock.

Here are just a few of the added distractions:

  • “Deadheading” or cruising while waiting on the next passenger. Uber drivers can spend around 40% of their shift waiting on ride requests. Some companies encourage drivers to stay on the road so they’re closer to potential riders. This can lead to more accidents.
  • Locating destinations. Drivers will need to find the passenger’s current location and destination. Drivers utilize GPS systems but even the directions those devices provide have been known to recommend unsafe traffic decisions.
  • Speeding so that riders aren’t left waiting or dropped off late. Drivers get rated on their performance and they may become careless trying to keep a passenger happy.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Rideshare drivers have gotten charged with DUI on the job before. They actually have to maintain a blood alcohol concentration under .04% when on the job.  Normal drivers only have to stay under .08%.

Uber Insurance Policy for Drivers

Uber provides drivers with insurance coverage, but depending on when the accident occurs it could be only the driver’s personal policy that applies.

In California, Uber drivers are required to carry rideshare insurance. The policy provided by Uber is intended to be supplemental to the driver’s own insurance. In most cases, the Uber policy doesn’t fully cover the contract driver when they are listed as “available” but don’t have a customer yet.

Uber coverage for its drivers varies according to what “periods” the driver may be in. In simple terms, if a driver is logged into the Uber app and available to pick up passengers, on the way to pick up a passenger, or if they have a passenger in the vehicle.

  • Period 1: Period 1 begins when a driver logs in to “driver mode” in the Uber App, and ends when they accept a ride request, known as a “match notification.” Uber provides $50,000 per person injured, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
  • Period 2: Period 2 begins when a Uber driver accepts a ride request and drives to the customer’s location. Uber offers One million dollars in liability insurance and One million dollars in uninsured /under-insured motorist coverage. This insurance is in effect until the passenger is dropped off at their destination.
  • Period 3: The Passenger is in the car. The one million dollar coverage extends until the passenger gets off a destination. There’s also limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bicycle Accidents

If I was partially at fault in my bicycle accident can I still sue?

Even if you believe your actions may have been responsible for part of the accident you may still be able to file a claim.

California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means both the driver and the rider can share the blame in an accident.  They can be assigned a percentage of the fault.

For example, a cyclist may be found to be 20% at fault for an accident, but a speeding Uber driver might be found to be 80% responsible. In that case, a bike rider could still get compensation for injuries and other losses, but the 20% blame he or she shared would be deducted from the final award.

How long do I have to file a Bicycle Accident Claim in Oakland?

2 Years. It is not recommended that victims wait this long though.  The more time that passes after an accident, the harder it’ll be to gather evidence, contact witnesses, and collect documents needed to build a strong case against Uber.

Can I file a Bicycle Accident Claim if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

Yes. You can still file for damages in a bicycle accident even if you weren’t wearing a helmet.  The concept of comparative negligence would come into play here too. You might be assigned part of the blame for your injuries if you rode without a helmet, but the Uber driver involved could also be assigned a percentage of the blame for careless driving. You could be awarded damages, with your percentage of the blame subtracted.

Contact an Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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. Oakland 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.