The state of California is ranked as the seventh most dangerous state in which to ride a bicycle. In fact, if someone is killed by a car while riding their bicycle, there is a good chance they are over the age of twenty, male, and live in California. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association bicyclist safety report, there were 338 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles, an increase of 23 percent, between 2010 – 2012.
As for the city of Los Angeles itself, it did not make the top ten for the most dangerous cities for bicyclists. However, any busy city can be dangerous for bicyclists. If you have been injured while riding a bike, call Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney Joshua Glotzer to discuss your case. The consultation is free and we don’t get paid unless we win.
Los Angeles Bicycle Accidents
According to the most recent data, there are approximately 4,468 bicycle accidents annually in Los Angeles County. Between 2010 – 2015, the following L.A. streets led the way in bike accidents:
- Vermont Ave: 230 accidents
- Venice Boulevard: 202 accidents
- Figueroa Street: 200 accidents
Additionally, 30% of the statewide bicycle fatalities occurred in Los Angeles.
Bicycle Accidents Nationwide
Overall, the number of U.S. bicyclists killed in traffic increased in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, there were a total of 722 American cyclists dying in motor vehicle crashes. While there are indicators that the increase in the death of bicyclists corresponds with an increase in the overall number of cyclists on the road, the data to support that is limited.
How Long You Have To File a Personal Injury Claim After Your Bicycle Accident
After a cycling accident, you should immediately speak with a qualified Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney regarding your potential claim. Under California Civil Code 335.1, you only have two years to bring a lawsuit. As such, it’s your best interests to quickly began the legal process so that your personal injury attorney can investigate your claim and determine how to best move forward.
Establishing Liability After Your Bicycle Accident
In the aftermath of any accident, no one is likely to be clamoring to take responsibility. Your bicycle accident is probably no exception. Therefore you need a Los Angeles attorney who will work hard to prove negligence on the part of the driver by:
- collecting the necessary evidence, and
- presenting that evidence in a positive manner.
In many bicycle lawsuits, there are discrepancies in the stories of those involved. It will be necessary to determine whether:
- You had the right-of-way or the driver had the right-of-way,
- the driver breached his or her responsibility to drive with care, and
- whether traffic laws were violated by the driver of the automobile.
In order for your case to be successful it must be shown that:
- The driver failed to act in a reasonable manner;
- The driver breached the duty of care between motorists;
- That such a breach was responsible for your accident, and
- That your injuries were directly caused by the accident.
Just as with car accidents, it could be that your bicycle, or a bicycle part was defectively manufactured and led to your accident. If this is true, you could have a claim against the manufacturer. It would be necessary to prove that:
- Your bicycle or bicycle part was “unreasonably dangerous;”
- You were operating the bicycle in the manner it was intended at the time of the accident, and
- Your bicycle’s performance has not significantly changed since it was purchased.
A product liability claim regarding your bicycle accident could require a full analysis and expert testimony. If your bicycle or bicycle part was defective and caused your accident, it is extremely important following your bicycle accident that you store your bicycle safely until it can be examined by an expert. Because a car vs. bicycle accident often yields fewer clues as to the cause of the accident, it is all the more important that you have a skilled accident lawyers by your side.
The Nature and Causes of Bicycle Accidents
The vast majority of the bicycle deaths which happen every year occur when the bicyclist collides with a vehicle. According to the Center for Disease Control, 900 bicyclists died in accidents, while another 494,000 were seen in the ER for moderate to severe injuries in 2013. Head injuries are responsible for about 75% of the fatalities and over half of the serious injuries.
Most bicycle accidents occur in urban areas rather than rural areas and almost half of all bicycle fatalities happen to children under the age of 16. When a bicycle/automobile accident occurs, it is likely due to an automobile driver engaging in one of the following behaviors:
- Improper lane switching
- Making an illegal turn
- Running stop signs or traffic lights
- Opening a car door without checking for bicyclists
- Reckless, aggressive or distracted driving
- Failure to obey basic rules of the road
- Backing out of a driveway or parking space without looking
- Failure to allow the bicyclist sufficient space
What Type of Injuries Result from Bicycle Accidents?
As noted, when a vehicle hits a bicyclist, the injuries are likely to be severe. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Head injuries and brain trauma (the most common)
- Injuries to the spinal cord or other back and neck injuries
- Broken bones, contusions and bruises
- Internal injuries
Those injured while riding a bicycle may have medical expenses which will continue for months, years, or even for the remainder of their life. Typically, injured bicyclists may face astronomical medical costs, lost wages, lost-earning capacity and pain and suffering following a bicycling accident. Further, the families of victims who were killed in a bicycle accident could be left with funeral expenses, medical expenses, and the loss of support and services.
The Complexities of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents have the potential to become extremely complex, just like any auto accident. It is extremely important that witness statements and evidence be gathered immediately following the accident before the witnesses have disappeared or their memories have faded. It is also extremely important to:
- Have an expert analyze your medical records in order to successfully prove your injuries;
- Investigate the driving history of the driver who was responsible for your accident;
- Inspect—and document—the damages to your bicycle;
- Have an expert recreate the scene of your accident, and
- Obtain the official police report and review it carefully.
Can a Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Change the Outcome of My Bicycle Accident?
If you are unable to work due to your Los Angeles bicycle accident, we may be able to successfully recover compensation for lost wages. Finally, depending on the circumstances of your accident, your attorney may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you endured following your accident. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, speaking to a Los Angeles bicycle attorney could well change the outcome of that accident.
Your attorney will ensure you are not “stuck” with your medical expenses, or left with serious injuries, unable to work and make a living for yourself and your family. Your attorney will also have the necessary background in bicycle accidents to accurately read the evidence surrounding your accident. This could include determining whether the automobile driver took evasive action, accelerated or applied their brakes, as well as whether the driver was distracted or negligent.