Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only law firm in Northern California to specializing exclusively in representing injured bicyclists. To learn more about how our Walnut Creek Bicycle accident lawyers can help you with your injury claim, contact us today for a free consultation at 866-242-9253.
Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer who Focuses on Bicycle Accident Cases
Many bicyclists of the East Bay prefer the convenience of cycling their local roads instead of driving or riding BART. For East Bay residents, cities in Contra Costa County like Walnut Creek are close in proximity to some fantastic cycling routes, making bicycling a top choice for people looking to go out and get some exercise. As with any metropolitan area, riders face a myriad of risks that come with riding in traffic. A cyclist’s vigilance is their best asset to staying safe on the road, but even the most cautious riders succumb to the negligence of distracted drivers. If you’re a cyclist who was injured in an accident while out riding, contact Bay Area Bicycle Law at 415-466-8717 to see if you have a case.
Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only law firm in the East Bay that exclusively represents cyclists. Founding attorney Michael Stephenson started Bay Area Bicycle Law in 2010 after recognizing the prejudice and underrepresentation of cyclists in our community. Many personal injury law firms don’t have the experience required to win cycling cases due to the generalized nature of their practice. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, our passion for bicycling is at the heart of everything we do. Because of our specialized focus in bicycle law and our dedication to being current on litigation techniques, tort law, and changes to California Vehicle code, we’re able to win the highest settlement possible for our clients.
Insurance companies are for profit institutions. They do not make money by paying out claims. Even with a legitimate claim, the at fault party’s insurance carrier will frequently undercut your settlement in order to save money. Although you rely on them to help put your life back together, insurance companies are massive corporations which are primarily concerned about their bottom line and maximizing their profit. To this end, insurance agents employ a variety of tactics to deny liability or dramatically reduce damages.
Bay Area Bicycle Law will protect you from commonly used insurance tactics. Our attorneys communicate with the third-party insurance carrier involved on your behalf, ensuring the proper steps are taken to negotiate a fair payout. We work hard to hold insurance companies accountable, which is a huge step in securing the financial help our clients need to make a proper recovery.
There are times however, where the other party involved in the accident may have little or no insurance. Luckily, if a bicyclist has UIM (uninsured motorist) coverage as part of their own automotive insurance package, their insurance will step into the shoes of the third party carrier and cover the accident. However, if there is no third party or UIM coverage, there may be no insurance coverage for their accident if hit by an uninsured driver. This is why we always recommend that cyclists check with their insurance broker to verify that they have UIM coverage; otherwise they may be left with substantial losses if struck by an irresponsible driver.
In 2014 the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) ranked Walnut Creek 72nd out of 105 cities (the higher the number, the better) regarding bicycle traffic accidents (http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Rankings/default.asp). Walnut Creek ranks decently for cities within its population bracket, but the statistics underline the obvious fact that accidents are still a daily concern for bicycle commuters. Busy intersections along Ygnacio Valley Road, North Broadway, South Broadway, and Mount Diablo Boulevard have all seen their fair share of crashes. Fortunately, city officials are recognizing that investing in bike-friendly infrastructure can greatly decrease the chance of an accident. After all, cars aren’t the only hazard cyclists face. Poor road conditions, overgrown foliage, poorly marked construction sites, and unclear lane designations or changes can all put cyclists in danger. Because of this, Walnut Creek is setting plans in motion to not only increase rider safety, but also promote cycling as an effective alternative to automotive transit.
Significant initiatives currently underway include the Olympic Corridor Trail Connector study and the Treat/I-680 Bike and Pedestrian Access study. The Olympic Corridor study seeks to connect the Lafayette – Moraga Trail and the Iron Horse Trail, two heavily used, paved, multi access trails. The Treat/I-680 study aims to “provide a plan that identifies improvements to serve bicyclists and pedestrians using the Treat Boulevard/I-680 corridor between the Iron Horse Trail, through the Interstate-680 (I-680) over-crossing near the Contra Costa Centre/Pleasant Hill BART station area, and extending west to Geary Road/North Main Street in the City of Walnut Creek”. Details about the changes being made by the city can be found at http://www.walnut-creek.org/departments/community-and-economic-development/transportation-planning/bikes.
Mt. Diablo a popular riding destination in the area that is as dangerous as it is beautiful. The California State Park is located just east of Walnut Creek, and it provides the cyclists of the East Bay with challenging climbs and technical descents. Unfortunately, its narrow roads and low-visibility through corners are safety hazards. Between 2010 and 2014 alone, there were over 20 auto vs. bike accidents on Mt. Diablo. Many locals who ride those roads have long ago accepted the risks they present. The mountain’s ascent is littered with blind turns, and motorists often cut into the opposing lane to make those turns at higher speeds. Park Rangers hand fliers out to drivers entering the park, warning them to be mindful of other road traffic, but in his opinion piece for the East Bay Times, writer Daniel Borenstein notes that “expecting motorists will read literature while driving is unrealistic”.
Cyclists should take care to make their personal safety their first priority when riding areas like these. Approach turns slowly while descending and resist the temptation to take the racing line (starting the turn from the outside lane and crossing to the inside of the corner). Ascending vehicles may also take this line, leading to a potentially fatal head on collision. Be sure to wear high visibility clothing and use bike lights when riding, as foliage and shadows cast along the road contribute to sudden changes in lighting and visibility.
Walnut Creek Bicycle Accident FAQs
If I’m injured by a motorist in Walnut Creek, shouldn’t I use a local auto accident attorney?
While auto accident injury attorneys know how to make auto accident claims, they are unprepared for the differences in how the system and the law treat cyclists differently. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we exclusively represent cyclists who have been injured and are seeking compensation. We understand how things are stacked against the injured cyclist and we have the experience and knowledge of bicycle injury law to help the victim get full compensation.
If I was hit in a crosswalk but wasn’t walking my bike, can I still get compensation?
Many times an insurance adjuster for the motorist will say things like if you weren’t wearing your helmet or not walking your bike in a crosswalk, you can’t get compensation for your injuries. This is not true. While the law does say pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk, this doesn’t mean the driver of a car can hit a cyclist in a crosswalk and somehow not be at fault.
I was hit by a car on my bike while riding down Mt Diablo, and the driver said it was my fault, what do I do?
Mt Diablo is a great place to bike, but it can be dangerous too. The roads are winding and narrow and difficult to navigate at times. However, on these types of roads, the law actually requires the motorist to use the appropriate level of due caution required by the circumstances. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we know what the law says about protecting cyclists, and we won’t allow false claims of negligence go unchallenged.
Contact a Walnut Creek Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If your best efforts to avoid an accident still weren’t enough, Bay Area Bicycle Law is here to help. Give us a call at 415-466-8717, or go to bayareabicyclelaw.com to get started with a free consultation. We promise to keep you informed about the progress of your case while keeping your best interests in mind throughout the process. Your case will always be handled by a lawyer, one who understands your rights and who will protect them during the litigation or claims process. When it comes to your recovery after a bike accident, having proper legal representation can make all the difference. Let Bay Area Bicycle Law ease the burdens caused by mounting expenses and paperwork so that you can focus on getting back in the saddle.