A pickup truck struck a cyclists knocking her off her bike and sending her to the hospital in Vista early Monday, November 10, 2018. The woman was riding her bike in traffic along the 700 block of Sycamore Avenue when the incident happened.
She was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido where she was treated for several broken bones. According to a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy at the scene, the pickup driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with officials.
Bicycle Riding: Traffic v. Bike Path v. Sidewalk
Most adults that remember riding their bikes when they were kids also remember being told not to ride in traffic. If riding on busy streets, then ride on the sidewalk. However, for adult cyclists, riding on the sidewalk isn’t practical, especially if you are going any distance or are commuting.
In the Bay Area, there are over 1,200 miles of bike paths on city streets and another 500 off road with more being planned. This gives riders an option when riding on some streets with traffic. However, these paths don’t typically cover all of one’s desired trip and are more often placed high-traffic areas in the downtown regions. Also, when riding in these paths, typically, if you want to take a left-hand turn, you have to get out into traffic.
Many adults don’t want to ride in traffic and will stick to sidewalks were there is not a bike path. However, in downtown regions in most Bay Area cities, there are laws against riding on the sidewalks. This is to protect those walking in the high-pedestrian areas. Under California law, riding on the sidewalks is legal except that each municipality can pass their own rules regarding their streets and sidewalks.
San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco have all passed similar laws regarding a limited number of their downtown streets and made it illegal to ride on those streets unless you are under 13. This means that all cyclists 13 and older have to ride on the bike paths or Streets.
This leaves many riders to ride on the city streets, and under California law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle for purposes of traffic laws. Safety experts say that you have to use common sense as well. If you are riding on highway with a 50-mile-an-hour speed limit, riding in the middle of the road going 15-20 mph is dangerous. (If you can go 50, then Godspeed).
When riding in traffic, there are some safety tips:
- Obey the traffic laws of the road, ie: Stop at stop signs and lights.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Ride in control at all times. Proceed at a safe speed that permits you to react quickly to unexpected circumstances.
- Never ride in low-light or dark conditions without front and rear bike lights and reflectors.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and other riders or vehicles.
- When on a highway, don’t hug the curb too closely. Maintain a comfortable distance from the pavement edge.
- Ride in single file. This is required by law in most states. (Note: Some states allow cyclists to travel 2 abreast. Do this only on less-traveled roads that are free of traffic. Riding 3 abreast is usually illegal.)
- Avoid sidewalks unless no other safe option exists. Motorists at intersections or when leaving or entering driveways often do not see swift-moving cyclists traveling on sidewalks..
- Don’t pass other cyclists on the right.
- Have Road Awareness: Stay alert to changes in your surroundings at all times.
- Communicate your intentions to drivers and other cyclists as much as possible. Use hand signals whenever you turn or stop.
Click here for more riding tips.
What to do If Injured in Traffic
If you are hit while in traffic, the first thing to do is get to a safe place, if possible. While it’s sometimes not good to move when you are injured, you have to avoid getting hit a second time. The next thing is to focus on getting medical attention for any serious injury.
After all of that is taken care of, then you can concentrate on what to do about the financial losses that came from the accident.
Do I need an Attorney?
In most cases, especially if the injuries are severe enough, at the least, you need to talk to a professional who knows bicycle law, traffic law and how insurance companies work. The attorneys at Bay Area Bike Law have the knowledge and experience to help you in these cases as they are the only firm in North California that deals exclusively with bicycle law. A consultation is free, and if you decide to have them represent you, there are no fees paid until you get paid by the insurance company.
Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’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.