What is lane-splitting? Perhaps you’ve noticed in heavy traffic that is slow moving or stopped, motorcycles will sometimes drive on the dashed line between lanes to pass vehicles. You’ve probably seen it happen often enough that you may have already thought this was a legal maneuver. Recently, California law has acknowledged this practice for the first time, authorizing the California Highway Patrol to develop safety guidelines regarding lane-splitting. The bill does everything but plainly say the practice is legal.
What Does This Mean for Drivers?
It’s already important to look out for motorcyclists. One study performed in California revealed that nearly 6,000 motorcycle accidents occurred in a 15-month period. Interesting, about 17% of those accidents were related to lane-splitting. Now that the practice has been all but legalized, vehicle drivers need to be more conscious of this maneuver than ever.
Regardless of how you feel about the safety of the practice, its acceptance by California legislation could lead to larger settlements for motorcyclists injured while lane-splitting legally.
If You Have Been Injured While Lane-Splitting
If you are a motorcyclist who has been injured while lane-splitting legally, you may be deserving of compensation from the offending driver or from an insurance company. Whether your bike is damaged, you have mounting medical bills, or you need compensation for the pain and suffering you sustained due to the accident, Petrov Law Firm can help you to receive your due compensation. Call 619-344-0360 to get your claim started today.Read More
Bicycle accidents are common in California, and the best way to survive an accident is to know how to avoid one. Here are a few tips to help you be safe whether you use a bike for your daily commute, for recreation purposes, or to get a little exercise.
3 Ways to Ride Safely
In most cases, the driver of the car is at a fault when a car and a bicycle are in an accident, but here are a few ways to be more visible to motor vehicle drivers and protect yourself.
- Always Ride with Traffic – While pedestrians should always use sidewalks and walk toward traffic if possible, cyclists share the road with cars and need to observe normal traffic laws. This includes riding on the right side of the street. Stay as far to the right as possible and use bike lanes when they are available. Watch out for cars parked alongside the road as a door may swing open unexpectedly.
- Be a Defensive Driver – Be on the lookout for dangers and try to assume that most drivers will not see you. You should never expect a car to give you the right of way, even when they legally should.
- Wear a Bicycle Helmet – Whether required by law or not, a bike helmet is the best way to protect yourself in the case of an accident. Most cyclist injuries and deaths are due to head trauma. Be sure to wear your helmet, even if you are just going to the store down the street.
If You Are in A Bicycle Accident
The personal injury lawyers at Petrov Law Firm take the rights of cyclists seriously. If you have been injured in an accident, we’re here to help. And in the event of a tragedy, we can help surviving family members to pursue due compensation in a wrongful death suit. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation today.Read More
According to Southern California Cycling News, the state is usually among the top two in the nation each year for the most fatal bicycle accidents. In fact, recent years have seen bicycle fatalities make up as much as 4% of the state’s overall auto accident fatalities. That is about double the national average. How can you protect yourself?
A Helmet May Save Your Life
California was the first state in the US to develop a law requiring the use of a helmet. In fact, anyone who is under age 18 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle in California. Head injuries are the most common type of injury sustained in a bicycle accident. It is also the most common cause of death.
According to recent statistics, a person is up to 40% more likely to sustain a head injury while driving on a road as opposed to off-road biking. This is often attributed to fewer people wearing helmets when driving on the road as well as vehicle traffic. July-September are the most common months for bicyclist fatalities.
What if You Are Injured?
We hope you are able to ride safely and that you use a helmet for additional protection. However, if you are injured in a bicycle accident, we encourage you to seek a consultation with our personal injury lawyers at Petrov Law Firm. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation and learn what compensation you may be owed as a result of the accidentRead More
One of the best conveniences of life in the states is being able to live close to your work, granted you have to work every day. Living close means you don’t have to deal with a long commute that is almost always flooded with traffic in both directions. If this is the case, you have likely considered downsizing your personal automobile to a handy and earth friendly bicycle.
The many advantages of biking to work far outweigh the obvious risks associated with this physical activity. The most minimal advantages include saving on fuel, car maintenance, and health care costs. The more lasting and significant rewards comes in the form of improved physical and mental health that result from daily exercise.
Before investing fully in this economical and beneficial routine, you should also consider the basic risks associate with biking to work and how you can protect yourself in case of accidents on the road. The biggest risk for a bicyclist on the roadways is collision with a moving vehicle. Needless to say, the resulting injuries can be debilitating or even terminal.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of getting involved in such an accident by practicing defensive bicycling. Map out the shortest, most convenient route and one that will avoid sharing lanes with other vehicles. Once on the road, be aware of all traffic and don’t assume drivers can see you or will yield to you. It is safest to bike defensively, obey traffic signals, and say in protected zones such as bike lanes.
The most immediate and reliable form of protection you can get for yourself is personal protective equipment such as a trusty helmet, appropriate biking clothing, and a well-maintained bicycle with the necessary reflective and lighting materials.
Lastly, if you do find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, treat it as you would if you were in your personal car: obtain the driver’s insurance and contact information; make note or take pictures of damages to yourself, your bicycle, and their vehicle; call for emergency services should you require it and make a police report for proper documentation. If you have been hurt, you are still eligible to file for personal injury claims from the other party. Know you can protect yourself beyond the physical equipment necessary for biking to work.Read More
Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always have right-of-way on the roads. While true, this statement has created confusion for some drivers and carelessness by some pedestrians. If you hit a pedestrian or cyclist, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. A thorough defense for your actions relies heavily on quick action to determine your side of the story. While you might not be charged with a criminal act, you could still face a lifetime of paying off a settlement or judgement.
Pedestrians do have the right-of-way. Everywhere. In the middle of the street, crossing against a green light, in a parking lot. However, this doesn’t mean you can be held responsible for any and all injuries you cause.
Let’s use the example of a pedestrian crossing against your green light. He is breaking the law. However, it’s in the middle of a bright, sunny day and you are more than 100 feet away from the intersection. As the driver, you have plenty of time to stop the vehicle. And because you are alert (and not looking at your cell phone) you have to give him the right-of-way.
Can he be ticketed by a police officer for jaywalking? Yes.
In a similar scenario (he is crossing and you are 100 feet away), you are texting while driving and therefore distracted by your phone. You don’t see him and you hit him. You will be held responsible for hitting him. You are breaking the law by using your phone, and while he also broke the law, the legal system still puts most of the blame on you — the person driving the two-ton car.
So let’s change the situation. You are driving (undistracted) and as you approach the intersection, the pedestrian walks out suddenly. He is on his phone and doesn’t bother to see if there are any cars coming. You hit him. Here, you won’t face much responsibility. You didn’t have the opportunity to give him the right-of-way.
Right-of-way is a legal construct that can shift and change in just a few moments. Don’t assume that the police or the insurance companies are concerned about your legal or financial future. Contact a lawyer to ensure your story is equally entered into all decisions about personal injury cases against you.Read More
Unfortunately, not all bike riders respect the rules of the road. As a moving vehicle, they are supposed to follow all traffic laws as if they are cars. However, because bike riders are particularly susceptible to injury, they retain almost all right-of-way advantages. As a vehicle driver, it can be particularly frustrating and unnerving when bike riders ignore traffic laws, putting themselves, you, and other drivers in danger.
If you were driving a car and you hit a bike rider, don’t let your insurance company be the only professionals handling the case. Consult with a personal injury attorney to make sure that someone else is reviewing the case. Blame and responsibility are an important part of any accident investigation. You shouldn’t trust that the police or the insurance adjuster is looking out for your best interests. Only your own lawyer can ensure that all evidence is taken into consideration.
Witness testimony can be a key factor in determining blame. However, because bike riders are assumed to have right-of-way, tracking down an eye witness might not be a priority for the police or insurance adjusters. However, a good personal injury lawyer knows how to question eye-witnesses in order to reveal new or unconsidered information about blame. Speed of traffic, road conditions, and angle of approach need to be reviewed in order to divide blame appropriately.
More cities in California are handing out tickets to bike riders for violating traffic laws and riding under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, until all bike riders learn how to share the roads and respect the laws, drivers may need to rely on lawyers to keep court decisions fair and balanced.Read More
Frequently, automobile drivers get frustrated when a cyclist is blocking traffic and riding in the center of the lane. And they have the right to do so. But why? Bicycles are vehicles. Although you might not like their slow rate of speed, bikes are considered to be equal to a car. A person can’t walk on the street and slow traffic, but a bike has every right to be there.
If you attempt to pass the bike on the right and you cause an accident, then you are responsible for all of the costs that come about because of the accident. You can’t blame the cyclist. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a car and a bike, you will need a personal injury attorney to represent you in the inevitable lawsuit.
Throughout Southern California, cities are setting aside tiny lanes (marked by solid white lines and frequently painted green) for cyclists to use. In some places, where there is more than one lane in each direction, the city will paint the stencil of a bike indicating that the cyclist has the legal right to be in the lane.
These additions, intended to help bikers and drivers share the road, have cause some confusion. For example, if there is a bike lane, can the cyclist is ride outside of the lane and use the full lane of traffic? In short, yes. Although thin bike lanes are intended to encourage more bike riders to use busy streets, they still have full use of the road. Keep in mind, those bikes are automobiles. If the cyclist deems the bike lane unsafe (other cyclists, pedestrians, open car doors) the cyclist can opt for the vehicle lane instead — even if that means slowing traffic to 15 miles per hour.
For years, only daredevil riders opted to take on the California streets on a bike. Today, however, cyclists and drivers have to adapt and respect each other to make California streets safe and accessible for anyone willing to follow the law.Read More
If you were injured by a car while riding your bike, try to remain calm after the accident. Get yourself to a safe location and stay still. If you think you’ve been hurt, call 911. And don’t get into a yelling match with the driver of the car.
In the heat of the moment, you might be hopping mad. You might want to scream and yell. But in so doing, you might give the driver reason or cause for assigning blame to you as the bicyclist. The police will likely show up at the scene and ask lots of questions. Those questions will form the basis of who is at fault. Be cooperative with the police, but keep your answers honest and brief.
Unless you were tremendously wreckless, the driver of the car will bear the majority of the burden for the accident. Even if you had stretched the rules of the road as a bicycle rider, you still have the right-of-way in a significant number of situations. For example, the driver is still predominantly at fault if he or she hits you despite plenty of time to see you coming.
Take plenty of photos and use your phone to write down any notes. There is nothing more valuable to a lawyer than notes taken on the scene of an accident. Don’t let the insurance company talk you out of using a lawyer. Bike accidents cause long term injury problems. Consult with a lawyer immediately after the accident in order to recoup most of your losses.Read More
Adults riding bicycles in California do not have to wear a helmet while on a bike; but that law is under review with a potential new law. Wearing a bike helmet is a personal choice and, so far, no states demand that adults use bike helmets. In March of 2015, California state senator Carol Liu introduced a new law that would fine adults for not wearing a helmet. Bike advocacy groups immediately responded saying that this kind of bike helmet law ultimately discourages bike riding making the roads more dangerous for those who chose to bike among the cars.
Thanks to bike sharing programs in San Diego and San Francisco, drivers will be sharing the road more often with cyclists. In addition, San Diego has recently added more bike lanes to city streets. Plus, drivers may notice that many roads now host a right lane for bike use when a bike is present. Unfortunately, this could mean more accidents while drivers and bikers learn to adapt to the rules of the road. In fact, from 2008 to 2012, collisions with bike riders rose 18%.
If you’ve been in an accident as a driver or cyclist contact a lawyer immediately to determine how to settle the case in a fair and balanced manner. Filing a lawsuit is a responsible way to help push California bike laws into public view. When the courts have more case decisions interpreting state laws, more people can adapt and follow those laws.Read More
If you were injured by a driver, you have up to two years to file the injury claim. However, if you were injured by a city-owned vehicle (like a bus), then you only have six months to file the claim. Regardless of who injured you, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can.
Even if the legal time limit has not passed, contact an attorney immediately. Injury claims frequently rely on witness testimony and medical treatments to determine the value of the loss. As time passes, witnesses become difficult to find, and injuries heal. In addition, a defense attorney could claim that your injuries came about because of a different accident.
Your memories of the accident shift and fade over time as well. You and your attorney will need to visit the location of the accident, review the events, take photos of the scene, and document any additional property damage. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is to properly document the sequence of events.
The effects of an injury can take several weeks or months to surface. Contact a lawyer to discuss your current and future losses such as lost wages, on-going medical problems, and property damages.Read More