San Francisco has the fourth-highest number of bicycle commuters in the United States, totaling 4.3% of the total population, and with that number comes many inevitable injuries. But San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers can help bicyclists in the event of an injury. However, bicyclists should always stay informed of San Francisco bicycle laws and know about the common causes of bicycle accidents. They should always know about the types of bicycle-related injuries that can occur, and what to do after a bicycle-related injury, an occurrence that a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer can always assist you with.
San Francisco Bicycle Laws
Per the California Vehicle Code, bicyclists and vehicles have the same rights and responsibilities, which means that bicyclists must adhere to laws in regard to driving under the influence, giving pedestrians the right-of-way, and traffic signs and signals just like a driver of a motor vehicle. Drivers must give cyclists a minimum space of three feet when driving beside them or passing them. Nothing must obstruct a bicycle path, nor may a vehicle driver or other bicyclist stop or park in it.
Drivers must understand that bicyclists have the right to “take the lane,” even if riding slower than traffic, during the following conditions:
- Preparing to turn left
- Avoiding road hazards
- When a lane is too narrow to share
- Approaching an authorized right-hand turn
Most Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation state that more than 700,000 bicyclists experienced injuries in motor vehicle-related accidents in the past ten years. More than 41% of injuries occur to bicyclists under the age of 15, and more than 500,000 Americans receive treatment in emergency rooms on a yearly basis. But what types of bicycle accidents create these statistics?
The most common types of bicycle injury-related accidents include:
- Riding against traffic
- Exiting from a private drive
- Stop signs and stop lights
- Driver overtaking the bicyclist
- Motor vehicles turning left
- Motor vehicles turning right
- Getting “doored”
How to Prevent a Bicycle Related Injury
Bicycle accidents commonly occur in San Francisco, but how do you prevent a bicycle-related injury?
The following list of tips can help bicyclists equip their bicycles to potentially avoid bicycle-related injuries.
- Brakes: All bicyclists must have bicycles equipped with brakes allowing them to carry out a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, flat, clean pavement.
- Handlebars: Handlebars must sit lower than the bicyclist’s shoulders.
- Bicycle size: Bicycle size must allow the bicyclist to stop, support the bike with one foot on the ground, and safely start riding.
- Lights: A visible front headlight should attach itself to the bicycle or the rider.
- Reflectors: Bicycles must have the following reflectors for nighttime riding: a red reflector visible from the back with an optional solid or flashing red rear light; white or yellow reflectors visible from the front and back either on each pedal or the bicyclists’ shoes or ankles; and yellow or white visible reflectors on the front half side of the bicycle, or red or white reflectors on the back half side of the bicycle. (The latter reflectors are optional if the bicycle has reflective tires on the front and back).
- Seats: All bicyclists must have a standard seat unless the bicycle manufacturer designed the bicycle without one. Riders weighing less than 40 pounds must have seat restraints that keep them in place and protects them from moving parts of the bicycle.
Other safety tips to prevent bicycle-related injuries include:
- Wear a helmet
- Wear bright clothing gear
- Know road rules
- Make sure to signal when turning or braking
- Stay alert at all times
What to Do After a Bicycle Related Injury
If you experience a bicycle-related injury, what do you do?
First, tell your side of the accident story to the police. As a crucial tool to protect your rights after an accident, the traffic report or police report must have accuracy. If you spot any mistakes in the report, contact the reporting officer to request changes.
Second, do not give any statements to anyone. Anything you say can work against you in the event of an insurance claim or lawsuit. Never state that you feel fine after an accident, even if you feel okay. The best response to use after a bicycle accident should simply be, “I’m not sure as I’m still in shock.” Never apologize to the driver or anyone else, as others will interpret it as an admission of guilt. Share your ID, insurance card, and contact information with the driver of the vehicle. Do not negotiate with the motorist.
Third, obtain contact information from witnesses.
Four, make notes of the accident and preserve evidence. Write down the key points of the accident: what, how, where, why, and when the incident occurred. Mark down the weather conditions during the time in question, any damage to the vehicles or people involved, and anything you may have heard people say. Following the accident, consistently document your injuries, medical care, and discomfort. If you have a camera with you at the time of the accident, take pictures of the location, injuries, and vehicles involved.
Five, refrain from throwing away or repairing any damaged property until you speak to a San Francisco bicycle injury lawyer. Take pictures of your injuries, damaged property, and anything relevant to your case.
Six, seek immediate medical attention.
Seven, always speak to a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer before speaking to an insurance company representative.
How San Francisco Bicycle Injury Lawyers Help
San Francisco came in seventh as the most dangerous city in America for bicyclists, making San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers a necessity in the event of an injury. But how can San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers help?
- Interview witnesses
- Obtain a copy of the police report
- Visit the scene of the accident
- Review applicable law
- Review appropriate case law
- Order and summarize medical records
- Order and calculate medical bills
- Write a settlement demand
- Oversee settlement negotiations
- Regularly communicate with you during the process
But how do you find the best San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer for your case? Contact TorkLaw today for a free consultation!