Owing to the climate and the citizens’ environmental awareness, motorcycles and bicycles have become the transportation means of choice for a huge segment of California’s population. This means that motorcycle and bike riders must share the highways and streets of the US state with other automobiles. Even though it may appear that auto drivers are always guilty when an accident takes place, this is not necessarily the case.
Under the law of California, anyone who is operating an auto, bicycle, Segway, motorcycle, or any other means of transportation upon a roadway or public street is required to follow all the local and state traffic laws. The law in California necessitates that bicycle riders follow all stop signs, lane access and road access restrictions, traffic lights, and turning lanes as if they were driving a car. The decision of guilt would thus be based upon the facts determined by the investigating police officer at the collision scene.
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about bicycle and motor vehicle accidents, which throw more light onto this topic.
Do the Highway Laws Favor Cycles over Automobiles
No, they do not favor bicycles over autos. The laws of California, the nation, and city apply to all in much the same way. Questions of both fault and responsibility are decided upon the basis of facts, as they apply in a given situation.
Why Do So Many Accidents Involving Cycles and Automobiles Take Place?
While it may appear that there are so many bicycle-automobile accidents, in reality, there are fewer of these collisions than there are auto-auto or auto-truck crashes. We are still likely to hear more about cycle-auto accidents since a cyclist is likelier to be injured in such accidents, often severely, than a car driver. It is also true that bicycles are even more difficult to spot than an auto, especially if they are coming from the left or right rear of the automobile.
If a Helmet Was Not Worn by a Bicyclist, Can They Recover Compensation for Injuries Induced by an Accident That Involved a Bike-Auto Crash?
To cut the long story short, Yes, they can. Even though the laws in the state concerning helmet require that bicyclists and motorcyclists wear a helmet, this stipulation is often ignored, especially by those who are aged below fifteen years. That the bike riders were not wearing the head protective equipment has no bearing upon whether or not they were injured. The fact is the actions of the automobile driver/defendant party caused an accident, which would have occurred irrespective of what the bike rider was wearing at the time.
Yet again, in instance of an accident or collision, the bicyclist should still be prepared to prove the four facts mentioned below.
- The defendant party had a legal duty to operate their automobile in a safe way
- The party failed to meet this obligation, thereby causing the accident
- The defendant’s failure as such caused an injury to the bicyclist
- The party’s actions were obviously the cause of their injuries
What Happens When an Auto Driver and a Bicyclist Were Equally to Blame in an Accident That Injured the Latter?
The California civil courts operate under the “pure comparative negligence” doctrine. Under this legal doctrine in the state, the fact that they may have been guilty does not relieve one of them of their liabilities solely since the other person may have been behaving in a reckless way. In such cases, it will typically be up to the jury or arbitration to determine whose negligence set off the chain of events that resulted in an injury.
What to Do from a Legal Standpoint When Injured in a Cycle Accident While Not Wearing a Helmet?
The questions concerning legal responsibility for injuries in bike versus auto crashes can become extremely complicated matters even in what seems to be a situation that is best explained as “cut and dried”.
The laws change from time to time in the state. A bicycle rider who sustained injuries in an accident has to consult with a California personal injury lawyer who is experienced in cycle/automobile accidents. Accident injury lawyers will be well informed about any recent changes to the law and will have accesses to accident investigators as well as accident reconstruction experts who are often essential to find out matters of fact.
While you may feel that you do not have legal recourse following a bike accident, you can completely understand your rights only by consulting one of the more experienced personal injury lawyers. If you need legal help, do not hesitate to get in touch with personal injury and accident injury lawyers in your area.