California Bicycle Accidents


Operating a bicycle is a convenient and accessible means of transportation, especially in California; bicycling also has many physical, economic, and environmental benefits.

However, a simple bike ride can take a turn for the worst if you are struck down by a motor vehicle. California, also known as the "Golden State," attracts many residents to commute by bicycle due to its warm and sunny weather. Although the weather for bicycling in the Golden State is superb, it is one of the most dangerous states to ride.

The reality is that 2 percent of the yearly fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents are bicyclists each year. California Department of Public Health Traffic Safety Report revealed that bicyclists represent a growing percentage of total traffic fatalities and injuries since 2007. Many factors put bicyclists more at risk of severe motor vehicle collisions. The lack of protection on the bike, especially riding in highly congested urban areas such as big cities with no bike lane, increases the likelihood of severe consequences of crashes.

The Main Causes of Bicycle Collisions

Bike fatalities data from the U.S Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) found that 843 bicyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019. Although California residents enjoy riding bikes for leisure, fitness, or commute, it poses significant dangers and safety risks if involved in a crash with a motorist.

The most common causes of bicycle-related motor vehicle crashes are:

  • Speeding

  • Distracted driving

  • Driving while impaired

  • Reckless and aggressive driving

  • Drowsy driving

  • Failure to obey traffic signs and signals

  • Unsafe lane changes

  • Failure to yield

  • Road hazards

  • Low visibility conditions

Safety Tips to Prevent a Bicycle Accident

According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 100 bicyclists are killed, and over 10,000 sustain injuries in crashes each year in California. It could be a complicated legal process when involved in a bicycle-related accident. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, it could result in catastrophic injuries, lost wages, and overwhelming medical bills. Don't add to these numbers; It's crucial to take safety precautions when operating a motor vehicle or bicycle to prevent a severe bicycle-related collision.

  • Ensure your bicycle's brakes and reflectors are working correctly as a bicyclist.

  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles when riding.

  • If riding at night, make yourself visible by wearing reflective clothing.

  • Choose residential areas to ride rather than areas with high traffic.

  • Wear a bicycle helmet; this can reduce the risk of a severe head or brain injury if involved in a crash.

  • Obey traffic laws, signs, and signals.

  • Be cautious when riding through intersections.

California Bicycle Laws

When involved in motor vehicle accidents, fatal injuries to bicyclists are a critical issue that California residents face every day. The California Legislature takes bicycle safety very seriously. The state enacted several laws to promote bicycle and pedestrian public safety and responsibilities for motorists sharing the road with riders. The California Vehicle Code contains state laws about where and how bicyclists can ride their bikes.

Several laws relate to cycling:

  • Utilize the bicycle lane if you are moving slower than traffic.

  • Bicyclists must travel on the right side of traffic.

  • Bicyclists are prohibited from riding on freeways and expressways.

  • No one can park a bicycle on a bicycle path.

  • Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

  • Bicyclists are prohibited from riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Contact Newport Beach Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Manning Law, APC has over 100 years of collective legal experience representing injured victims throughout California. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle-related motor vehicle accident, we can help. Contact us today at (800) 783-5006 to schedule a free case consultation. Our dedicated team of attorneys will fight for you every step of the way to help you get the results you deserve.