Santa Cruz offers some of the best biking backdrops in the world, but even in a cycling paradise, careless motorists can be the fly in the ointment. When sharing the lanes with riders, distracted drivers seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. The errors in judgment that send bicyclists into dangerous crashes seem to repeat themselves.
One common situation that leads to many collisions between cars and bikes is the hazard of the “right hook” turn. It comes down to a driver ready to make a turn and not looking to see if a cyclist is right beside them on the road. The car is suddenly in front of the rider and there’s no time to avoid an impact.
Depend on a Local Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bay Area Bicycle Law of Santa Cruze understands the risks that cyclists face on every ride. Our attorneys are cyclists themselves and we’ve been helping fellow riders recover from tragic accidents for over a decade. We are the only Northern California-based law firm to exclusively specialize in representing cyclists. If you are injured by a careless driver and left to face hospital bills and other expenses alone, please contact our offices. We can make sure the at-fault driver is held responsible and demand compensation for all of the emotional, physical, and financial hardships you’ve suffered.
Right Hook Accident Dangers In Santa Cruz
Bicyclists have to be cautious whenever they must come in close proximity to larger, faster cars, SUVs, and trucks. Even in a place like Santa Cruz a ride can be dangerous. Bicycle accidents with injuries were tracked by the California Department of Public Health over seven years. In that time, 1,234 Santa Cruz bicycle accident victims reported injuries.
One of the most common causes of bicycle collisions with vehicles is the right hook turn. It’s when a driver passes a cyclist on the left, only to then turn right, directly in front of the bike. For some reason, the driver forgot the cyclist was there or never saw the bike and failed to check their right-hand mirror and blindspot before they turn.
The results can be devastating for the bicyclist. Victims suddenly have the full length of a vehicle turning in front of them. The situation is likely to end with a rider striking a wall of metal and glass. The rider then faces a fall to the pavement and can even land under the vehicle. All of the outcomes are extremely dangerous.
Experts find those right hook accidents usually occur for a couple of reasons.
- A cyclist is established in the right-hand lane. A vehicle passes the cyclist on the left and then cuts right and slows to make a right-hand turn. Cyclists then have a split-second to react before crashing into the rear or passenger side of the vehicle.
- Large Trucks are the other common denominator. A large truck slows, veers left, and traces a wide arc to prepare for a right turn. The bicycle rider sees the right lane open up, but doesn’t realize the truck is preparing for a turn. The cyclist moves up into the newly-opened lane space. The collision occurs when the truck driver swings back to the right to complete the turn.
Right hook accidents involving big trucks have been on the rise and pose an extreme hazard to the rider. Because trucks can sit up so high, riders may end up underneath their frames in an accident. It’s such a dangerous risk that some safety groups have been advocating for laws that would require companies to install side guards on big trucks. The safety bars extend down between the wheels of a truck to keep pedestrians and cyclists from falling underneath in collisions.
What to do after a bicycle accident in Santa Cruz
If you are the victim of a right hook accident, check on your own condition first. Make sure you are safe and call 911. If you are feeling up to it, start documenting the scene to collect proof of what happened.
- Fully explain how the accident unfolded to the police.
- Get checked out by ambulance crews and later by your own doctor.
- Don’t say you’re OK. Saying things like, “I’m OK “ or “It’s my fault,” can come back to haunt you later. Don’t make any statements about the accident to the driver responsible. His or her insurance company can use these comments later to poke holes in your case.
- Take pictures of everything. Fill your cellphone with photos of the damages to your bike, the other vehicle, and street signs. Check the area for any surveillance cameras that might have recorded the accident.
- Get witness contact information. Talk to them about what they saw and jot it down. If they’d rather write down their account make sure they sign and date it. If not, witnesses can hopefully be contacted later to get their testimony.
- Don’t throw out the evidence. Keep your wrecked bike and damaged clothing and any other damaged personal belongings.
Contact a Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Attorney
If a mistake by a careless driver left you with serious injuries Bay Area Bicycle Law wants to support and protect you throughout your recovery. The goal is to get you back on your bike as soon as possible. We will win you the compensation you’ll need to cover things like medical and rehabilitation costs and the time you’ve missed from work.
The attorneys with Bay Area Bicycle Law want safe rides for all bicyclists and also want to support riders who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in or around Santa Cruz or anywhere else in Northern California, contact us right away for a confidential, free consultation and case review.