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Southern California Bike Accident Lawyer

Fatal bicycle accidents happen in California at a rate that is more than one and a half times greater than the national average. California sees the second-highest overall number of bicycle accident deaths in the nation and ranks seventh in the country for the most bicycle accident fatalities per capita. A significant number of fatal bike crashes in California happen in Los Angeles County. They are also on the rise.

With an abundance of fantastic weather and committed environmentalists, southern Californians take to their bicycles in droves, for commuting, exercise, and recreation. Unfortunately, cycling is not always a safe activity, especially on poorly-maintained roads and around negligent drivers. Because of their vulnerability to serious damage from cars and road surfaces, bicycle riders run the risk of suffering the most catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in a collision with a motor vehicle.

At Machtinger Law, we focus our personal injury legal practice on helping victims and families who suffered the most serious and catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. We know how costly these injuries can be and how important it is to recover a significant amount of compensation for accident victims and their families. Their financial needs require it, and justice demands it. We at Machtinger Law are committed to strong and effective representation of our clients, and we have a solid record of success that stands behind us when we take on any new case.

See below for more information about bicycle accidents in Southern California. If you or a loved one was hurt in a bicycle crash in Los Angeles or Orange County caused by another driver’s negligence or an unreasonable road hazard, call Machtinger Law to review your case with an experienced and compassionate Southern California bicycle accident attorney.

Bicycle Accidents From Negligent Drivers

Bike accidents happen for various reasons, including the rider’s own inexperience or lack of attention. Frequently, however, negligent drivers are responsible for causing a crash. When they are, they can be held liable for the damages they inflicted on the accident victim, including all the costs of present and future medical care, payment for time missed from work or any disability that results, and compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other similar damages.

Some of the most common mistakes negligent or reckless drivers commit that end in bicycle accidents include:

  • Making a left turn into the path of an oncoming bicycle
  • Making a right turn without checking for a cyclist coming up on the right
  • Speeding through an intersection when a bicycle is turning left
  • Running a stop sign or stoplight
  • Opening a car door into a bike lane or into traffic when a cyclist is approaching
  • Refusing to share the road or lane with a cyclist, forcing them out of their lane or off the road
  • Striking a cyclist due to distracted driving, drunk driving, or other negligent behaviors

Municipal Government Claims for California Bicycle Accidents

Bicycles are also vulnerable to potholes, cracks and other defects in the road surface. If the road was negligently maintained, an injured rider may have a claim against the government agency responsible for maintaining the road properly. If this is the case in your situation, be sure to act quickly and call an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Actions against the government must start with filing a California Tort Claims Act claim within just six months of the accident in most cases. If the government doesn’t settle the case within 45 days, you may have only another six months to file a lawsuit. Cases against the government proceed differently from claims against private citizens, so if your accident involved a road defect or if you were struck by a public employee in a government vehicle, be sure to call an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle your claim appropriately.

Tips for Safe Riding

Cyclists have all the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers and are subject to the same laws, except for any provisions of the law that by their nature don’t apply to bicycles. Bicycle riders would do well to heed the following laws which were designed for their safety:

  • Ride in the direction of traffic and stay off the freeway
  • Use the bike lane if one is available and you are riding slower than the surrounding traffic
  • You may exit the bike lane to make a left turn, when passing, to avoid a road hazard, or when coming up on a right turn
  • If you are riding as fast as the surrounding traffic, you can lawfully occupy a lane of traffic
  • If no bike lane is available and you are riding slower than traffic, ride as far to the right as you can, except when passing, getting ready to make a left turn, avoiding a road hazard, or coming up on a right turn
  • If there is no bike lane and the traffic lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle, you have the right to occupy the lane by riding in the center of the lane
  • Riders 18 and under must wear a helmet, as must passengers five and under. The helmet should be properly fastened and fitted and meet ASTM or CPSC government standards. A good helmet is a good idea for any rider of any age.

Get the Help You Need After a Serious or Catastrophic Bicycle Accident in Los Angeles or Orange County

If you were riding carefully and were struck by a negligent driver, you can recover compensation for your injuries. Even if you were partially to blame for the accident, you can still recover from another driver for their portion of the fault in causing the crash. A skilled and experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you get the compensation you need and deserve to deal with the harm inflicted on you. In Los Angeles or Orange County, call Machtinger Law at 310-943-9300 to speak with a dedicated and successful Southern California bicycle accident lawyer.

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