Bicycle accidents have the potential to catastrophically injure or even kill a cyclist. Traffic accidents killed 455 bicyclists in California from 2016 through 2018, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Those figures translate to about 3.9 bicycle accident deaths per million people, which is the highest rate over any three-year period since the mid-1990s, before many cities even had bike networks.
NHTSA collects bicycle crash data in order to learn where, when and how bicycle accidents occur. Common bike accident data can prove extremely useful in preventing bicycle accidents that are often life changing not just for victims, but also their families.
So, where do bicycle accidents occur?
It is worth noting that an overwhelming number of fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas rather than rural areas. In 2020, 79% of bicyclists were killed in urban areas. This means that there is a higher probability that you may get hit in Los Angeles rather than in rural California.
Cities in California are also increasingly getting congested. After the pandemic, more people have resorted to bicycling to work or school in addition to recreational biking. This has increased bicycle traffic in urban areas putting cyclists at an even greater risk of a number of common injuries.
Major public roadways can be quite dangerous for bicyclists. Heavier vehicle traffic and higher speed limits could potentially increase the risk of major injury or even fatal bicycle accidents on these roadways. Even though California has a 3-foot law in place where motorists must give bicyclists at least 3 feet as they pass them, there are many who don't follow this bicycle law. Nationwide, 61% of bicyclist deaths in 2020 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways and 33% occurred on minor roads
According to NHTSA, a majority of bicycle accident fatalities did not occur at street intersections. Statistics show that in 2020, 26% of bicyclist fatalities occurred at street intersections.
While a majority of bike accident deaths occur on major roadways, it is still important to recognize that intersections can be extremely high-risk because it is where bicyclists cross paths with motorists. Also, motorists must yield the right of way to bicyclists at street intersections when appropriate. Failing to do so can increase the risk of a collision at a street intersection.
Driveway Access Roads
Again, a majority of bicycle accidents do not occur at driveways or access roads. However, they are high-risk locations for bicyclists because motorists may not pause and check for bicyclists before backing out of a driveway into the sidewalk or a bike lane. Motorists are required under California law to check both mirrors, look over the shoulders and proceed out of driveways or alleys with caution checking for bicyclists as well as pedestrians and other vehicles.
Public roadways can be hazardous for bicyclists. In California, motorists are required to share the roads where there are no bike lanes or shoulders with bicyclists. However, not all motorists are aware of this law or use the road responsibly. Sadly, in these situations, bicyclists are more vulnerable and more likely to get hit and suffer major injuries. Accidents are most likely to occur when drivers and bicyclists are not obeying the rules of the road.
The Most Common Time of Day for Bicycle Accidents to Occur
According to NHTSA's data, in 2020, more bicyclist fatalities occurred in the daylight (50%) than in the dark (45%), dusk (3%) and dawn (2%). The period between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. had the highest frequency of bicyclist fatalities during both weekdays and weekends. The second highest percentage of bicyclist fatalities occurred from 9 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both weekdays and weekends.
Your bicycle accident lawyer can help evaluate the history of accidents in the area including examining blind spots, dangerous roadway conditions and other factors that may have caused or contributed to your bicycle accident. The experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group will work to obtain police reports and surveillance videos, which can provide crucial evidence to support your claim.
Damages You Can Recover After a Bicycle Accident
Under California law, victims of bicycle accidents can seek damages seeking compensation for damages including:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of life's enjoyment
- Cost of ongoing medical treatment
- Cost of rehabilitative treatment
- Permanent injuries and disabilities
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Wrongful Death Damages
If you have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages including your loved one's:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost future income and benefits
- Loss of love, care and companionship
Timeframe for Filing A Lawsuit
Under California law, the time period or deadline to file a bicycle accident lawsuit can be different given the circumstances of your case. For personal injuries and property damage, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit in a bicycle accident case must be filed within two years of the date of death.
If the victim of the bicycle accident is a child, they would have two years from their 18th birthday to file the lawsuit. The statute of limitations is also different if your lawsuit is against a governmental entity. In such cases the deadline is 180 days from the date of the accident. Statute of limitations can be a complex matter. It is best to consult an experienced bicycle accident lawyer who can better guide you through the process.
Getting Help After A Bike Accident
The experienced Los Angeles bike accident attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group Personal Injury Attorneys can help you assess all your damages and losses, assist you with collecting and compiling evidence and determining fault and liability. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you any fees unless we win compensation for you. Call us today for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.