Attorney Tricia Wang
First Class Service

Bicycle vs. Car Accident

In California, drivers of motor vehicles owe the same duty of care to cyclists as they do to other drivers. If you are injured and suffered other losses due to a driver’s negligence, you are entitled to claim monetary damages from the liable driver’s insurance company. Here at Law Office of Tricia Wang in Fremont, CA, our personal injury lawyer and staff can help you to file a claim against the driver to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

California Bicycle Law

Cyclists as well as drivers should familiarize themselves with the bicycle laws. California Vehicle Code provides that a person riding a bicycle has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle, including laws on driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, not wearing earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears; yield to pedestrian, stop for stop signs, signal turns, etc. (VEH § 21200)

“3-feet or safe passing laws” California law requires that all drivers give cyclists at least three feet of space when driving alongside or passing them to ensure that motor vehicles allow adequate space to avoid sideswiping cyclists. In addition, no one may obstruct a designated bicycle path by stopping in the path or parking a car or bicycle in it.

Bicyclist’s right to “take the lane”. Usually bicyclists move slower than traffic, and must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. But if you are riding as fast as the traffic, you can ride in the traffic lane. California law allows bicyclist to “take the lane” in the following circumstances:

  1. overtaking and passing another bicyclist,
  2. preparing to take a left turn, and
  3. when “reasonably necessary to avoid conditions . . . that make it unsafe to continue to ride along the right-hand curb or edge,” such as pedestrians walking in the roadway (CVC 21202).

When biking at night time, cyclists are required by law to use lights and reflectors.

Who is Liable for a Bicycle Accident in California?

If you were hurt after a bicycle accident as a result of a driver’s negligence, you are entitled to claim money damages for your injuries. Negligence is defined as failure by someone to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.

“Negligence per se” is a legal theory in which negligence is presumed based upon a person's violation of a statute or ordinance. In California, you are presumed negligent when you violated a statute, ordinance, or regulation and your act caused death or injury to person or damage to property. For example, John was driving a car when he hit a bicyclist and broke his elbow while he was using his cell phone. California Vehicle Code 23123.5 makes it unlawful to drive while holding a handheld cellular device. By violating the law John is presumed to have violated a duty of care to the bicyclist and to be negligent per se. So if the driver who hurt you in a bicycle accident was issued a traffic ticket or charged with a criminal offense for the accident, this can be strong evidence of negligence.

Likewise, bicyclists have the same responsibility and duty of care as drivers. When sharing the road, bicyclists must follow all traffic laws, obey traffic signals, and be aware of their surroundings. If bicyclists fail to obey the rules, they can also be held liable for a collision. Examples of negligence on the part of bicyclists can include not following traffic signals, biking under the influence, not signaling on turns, children under 18 not wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle, etc. However, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still have the right to claim damages if the other party was also negligent and contributed to the accident under the legal doctrine of "comparative negligence”.

If you have sustained injuries resulted from a bicycle accident, you are encouraged to call and talk with the experienced bicycle accident attorney and injury claims manager at Law Office of Tricia Wang. We are conveniently located in the downtown area of Fremont, California, within the walking distance to the Fremont Bart station. Consultation with us is FREE.

We advise you that you do not underestimate your losses in a bicycle accident case and, and do not underestimate the difficulty in pursuing full compensation for your injuries from insurance companies. Having an experienced bicycle accident lawyer by your side can increase your chances of a successful claim and relieve you from the stress of fighting lowball settlement offers from insurance adjusters. Our staff know the best about how to negotiate for the maximum amount of compensation you deserved according to the nature and severity of your injuries; the cost of your medical treatments required for your injuries; your lost income; estimates of future medicals if needed; long-term or permanent impairments, disfigurement, or disabilities if applicable; and both of your physical pain and emotional stress and suffering due to your injuries.

At Law Office of Tricia Wang, our experienced and passionate personal injury lawyer and staff are ready to help you with your bicycle accident injury claims. If you are hurt and wish to get immediate and professional help for your fair compensation, just give us a call 510-791-0232! We offer FREE consultation and get paid only from the settlement check from insurance company.