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California Bicycle Laws: Know Your Rights

Bicycle safety in California is just as important as vehicle safety — if not more. The California Vehicle Code has rules for bikers on the road, which are similar to those for drivers of vehicles. 

In California, more than 100 bicyclists die and over 10,000 get hurt in accidents every year, as stated by the DMV. For these reasons and more, bikers must be cognizant of traffic signs and signals to increase safety on the roads. 

This article will outline the information you need regarding California bicycle laws, safety precautions, and the proper wrongful death attorneys and personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles to contact in the case of an accident

Where To Ride a Bicycle

Cyclists must ride on the right side of the road with traffic on shared streets, going in the same direction. Bikers should stay near the right curb unless there are bike lanes. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • When passing another bicycle or car moving in the same direction. 
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  • When avoiding unsafe or hazardous road conditions, such as objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, etc. 
  • When approaching an area where right turns are permissible. 

Keep in mind that it is prohibited to park or stop a bicycle on a bike path. Before riding on a walkway or sidewalk, check the specific city and/or county’s jurisdiction to determine whether it is permitted. Bikers are not authorized to cross toll bridges or ride on freeways or expressways unless the California Department of Transportation allows it.

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Safety Precautions and Effective Interventions

Bicycle accidents can result in severe injuries or fatalities. If people do not take the proper precautions, victims may suffer from physical and mental disabilities and/or trauma. Always keep your focus on the road and avoid getting distracted by not wearing earphones or texting while driving.

Below is a list of safety tips and interventions to help prevent bicycle accidents. 

  • Equip your bicycle. Every bicycle must be small or large enough for the rider to start, stop, and support the bicycle with one foot on the ground. Handlebars must be positioned at or below shoulder level, and each bicycle must be equipped with brakes that allow riders to stop or slow down on dry, level, and clean pavement.
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets provide protection from traumatic brain injuries and life-threatening or catastrophic head damage. Bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet when riding on public roads. It is highly encouraged, however, that all bikers, regardless of age, protect themselves with helmets. 
  • Obey traffic laws. Cyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws as motor vehicles, including obeying traffic signals and signs, riding on the right side of the road, and yielding the right of way.
  • Use hand signals. Riders should warn surrounding traffic before making turns or changing lanes. Extend your left arm out to signal a left turn, hold your left arm up with your elbow bent to signal a right turn, and extend your left arm down to signal slowing or stopping.
  • Use lights and reflectors at night. Bicycles must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red reflector or red light when riding at night or in fog. Additional reflectors or fluorescent clothing are also recommended.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Riding under the influence is illegal and can result in a DUI.

What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of a Bicycle Accident?

If you are involved in a cycling accident, first and foremost, call 911 or seek medical assistance. After prioritizing your health and safety, contact law enforcement to report the accident and document the details. Collect as much information as possible at the scene, including the following: 

  • Driver’s name, contact information, commercial driver’s license (CDL) details
  • Trucking company’s name, contact information, and insurance information
  • Eyewitness contact details
  • Photos and videos of the scene, damage, and road conditions

Do not admit fault to anyone at the accident scene; instead, provide factual information. Notify your insurance company, and document your injuries, medical treatment, and other pieces of evidence. Then, consult an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney.

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Los Angeles Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims

Even with proper precautions, riding a bicycle can result in a number of personal injury and wrongful death accidents. It is best to contact a legal representative at Los Angeles personal injury law firms or Los Angeles wrongful death law firms immediately to ensure timeliness. Remember, each state has its own statute of limitations.

A wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles will work directly with insurance companies to identify the best compensation for any injuries. In cases of wrongful death, surviving loved ones may receive financial support to recover funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney

By following the safety precautions outlined in this guide, such as obeying traffic laws, avoiding distractions while riding, using hand signals before turning or slowing down, wearing a helmet, and more, you can reduce the risk of serious bicycle accidents on public roads. 

John J. Perlstein, one of the best personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, has over 25 years of experience securing fair and just outcomes in personal injury cases. He will ensure accurate compensation for victims and clearance for those wrongly accused.

You can reach us at (213) 583-5786. Alternatively, you can complete our form to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. This consultation will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your situation and see what we can do to help.

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