Over the past decade, Los Angeles has seen growing popularity in bicyclists across the city. With the trend of “going green” taking over and the rise in gas prices, it’s no wonder why many people ditched their vehicles for outdoor activities. However, with the increasing amount of cyclists on the streets, so have the number of bicycle accidents.
What are California’s Bicycle Laws?
The following California Vehicle Code VC 21301 pertains to bicycle requirements:
– Handlebars must suit the rider and not rise above rider’s shoulders
– It is illegal to ride a bike with broken or deteriorating brakes
– All bikes must have a headlight that can be visibly seen from 300 feet away
– Bike pedals must have bright yellow or white reflectors attached to them
– The rear of bikes must have a bright red reflector attached to it and must be able to be visibly seen from 500 feet away
How Long Does a Person Have to File a Personal Injury Claim Following a Bicycle Accident
An individual in California has up to two years to file a lawsuit for damages due to a car accident. However, if you don’t file within this time frame, otherwise known as a statutory period, a judge can drop your claim. But, if you were incapable of filing a claim from physical or mental incompetence due to the accident, certain exemptions protect you and your case. You can also receive an extended statutory period if you discover any later injuries due to the accident you were in.
Minors that are involved in a bike accident are allowed to wait until they are 20 years old to file a personal injury claim. However, once they reach the age of 18, they only have a two-year statutory period until their claim will no longer be valid.
How are Bicycle Accidents Caused?
On average, the majority of bike deaths happen due to vehicle collisions. In 2013, 900 bicyclists died in accidents and 494,000 were taken to the ER because of severe injuries, according to the Center for Disease Control. However, head injuries are the leading cause of death in addition to a leading serious injury from bicycle accidents.
The majority of bike accidents happen in urban areas, rather than rural areas, and most of those accidents happen to children 16 years of age or younger. The cause of bicycle and automobile accidents happen due to a number of factors, such as:
– Illegal turns
– Poor lane switching
– Opening car doors without looking
– Aggressive Driving
– Running traffic lights and/or stop signs
– Inability to obey the rules of the road
– Inability to allow cyclists enough space
– Backing up without looking
– Backing out of a driveway or parking space without looking
Determining Fault in an LA Bike Accident
In certain states, the driver of the vehicle is always at fault in an accident with a car and a bike. California, however, is not one of those states. In CA, the fault is placed on the negligent party. The negligent party is responsible for paying any and all damages.
In order to file and win a lawsuit against the driver involved in your accident, you must prove they were the negligent party. To do this, the accident must have caused either personal injury or property damage. It must also be proven that the driver or cyclist was acting carelessly and their carelessness caused the accident to occur.
Hiring an Attorney
Regardless of whether you were driving a car at the time of the accident or riding a bike, you should consider hiring a professional attorney to handle your lawsuit. They can help you to determine negligence, build your case, and get the reparations you deserve. Be sure to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later to aid you in filing and winning your case.