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California Bicycle Accident and Injury Attorneys

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peer-rated in the top 5% of all attorneys nationwide

Call 866-218-3776 for a free consultation about your bicycle accident.

  • We’ve successfully handled hundreds of bicycle accident cases with a success rate of over 99%.
  • We’ll coordinate payments for your doctor and hospital bills, and make sure you get the medical treatment you need, from Day One.
  • We stand up for the rights of bicyclists every day–and win.
  • We routinely resolve our cases more quickly and more successfully than less-experienced bicycle accident lawyers.
  • Multiple members of our office are avid cyclists and active members in a number of East Bay bicycle clubs. They provide additional expertise to our teams.

Number of Bicycle Injury Accidents

After declining steadily in the early 2000s, the number of Bay Area bicycle accidents causing injury is on the rise again. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which published this data, suggests that a significant number of auto-bicycle collisions occur each year but are not reported to authorities.

Where Bicycle Accidents Happen

As is the case with pedestrian accidents, the most bicycle accidents tend to happen in the cities with the greatest population. However, the college towns of Berkeley and Palo Alto both rank significantly higher (4th and 6th respectively) for the number of cyclists injured than their population would suggest. A number of students, faculty, and staff are likely bike to campus in these towns, creating a greater likelihood of injury and fatal accidents than in other communities.

Last year, the League of American cyclists ranked San Francisco and Oakland as two cities with the most bicycle commuters (4th and 5th respectively). As bicycle commuting becomes even more common throughout the Bay Area, the number of bicycle accidents could increase if the city is not proactive about improving streets for cyclists and implementing stronger laws to protect cyclists.

Implications

The steady downward trend in the number of Bay Area bicycle accidents over the past several years seems to have leveled off. Perhaps the increased driver awareness that came about as a result of the bike lanes and dedicated bike paths implemented by a number of municipalities in these years has finally reached a plateau.

We can’t imagine how difficult this would have been for our family without GJEL in our corner.
–M. and S.
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However, unlike with pedestrian accidents, nearly three-quarters of all bicycle accidents occur at intersections and driveways, suggesting that neither bicyclists nor drivers fully understand the Rules of the Road when it comes to turning and cross-traffic situations. The Federal Highway Administration has suggested that both drivers and those who ride bicycles be better informed about these situations before setting out on the road.

How to Avoid a Bicycle Accident

For Drivers

Clearly, the best way for drivers to avoid accidents with bicycle riders is to remain alert and vigilant behind the wheel at all times. It is critical that drivers know that bicyclists are entitled to the same rights, and have the same responsibilities, as automobile drivers. Here are some specific steps that drivers can take to minimize the number of bicycle accidents:

  • Always drive at a speed that is safe for conditions. Wet or icy roadways mean that your car will need extra room to stop, and also significantly increases the risk of falling in the roadway for bicyclists.
  • Exercise caution on two lane roads – 60% of all accidents occurred on these roadways where traffic moves at a high speed in narrow lanes.
  • Be particularly alert during early morning and evening hours when the glare of the sun may impair your ability to see out your windshield. Two-thirds of bicycle accidents nationwide occur in the late afternoon and evening hours. Keep your windshield clear of dirt and debris.
  • Avoid distractions such as talking on a cell phone or consulting a map while driving. Pull over to the side of the road if you need to do either of these things, particularly on roads where bicyclists are often present.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Although alcohol was an issue in only 5% of all bicycle accidents nationwide, it is never a good idea to drive if you have been drinking.
  • Check your mirrors carefully and proceed slowly when backing out of driveways and parking lots. Nearly 75% of all bicycle accidents nationwide occur at intersections or driveways.
  • Slow the speed of your vehicle when proceeding through an intersection, and always come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Be aware of any bicyclists at other entrances to the intersection, and be sure to check your mirrors and blindspots for any bicyclists behind or to the side of your vehicle. The Federal Highway Administration warns that not all bicyclists believe they must obey the same rules as drivers, creating a dangerous situation. Drivers should not assume that bicyclists will yield right-of-way.

For Bicyclists

First and foremost, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers. It’s important to remember that not all drivers feel it is their duty to share the road with bicyclists, and few drivers check their mirrors and blindspots as often as they should.

Experienced bicycle riders are rarely found to be at fault for accidents. Failure to yield, riding against traffic, stop sign violations, and safe movement violations are the factors cited by the Federal Highway Administration as those that most often contribute to a bicycle accident.

Specific steps bicyclists can take to avoid an accident with a motor vehicle are:

  • Wear a helmet. Although this may not protect against an accident, in the event one does occur, wearing a helmet could save you from serious injury or even death. Helmets are also a good place to place reflective tape for riding at night.
  • Do not try to make a left-hand turn from a designated bicycle lane. If you are making a left-hand turn, merge into the left-hand lane of traffic. Do not cut in front of other drivers, as they may not see you.
  • Avoid riding alongside cars as you pass through an intersection – a driver may turn in front of you without warning. Always merge into normal traffic lanes as you approach an intersection.
  • Be alert around parked cars, as the car’s occupants may open their doors suddenly without seeing you.
  • Always keep both hands on your handlebars to maintain maximum control of your bike.
  • Equip your bike with mirrors and check them frequently while riding.
  • Equip your bike with a light if you typically ride in the evenings or at night.
  • Make hand signals if you plan to turn.
  • Be alert during the late afternoon and evening hours. Two-thirds of all bicycle accidents occur during these hours because of visibility problems caused by the low angle of the sun.

Bicycle accidents and the law

If you have been hit in a bicycle accident, you are encouraged to consult a bike accident lawyer with a proven track record, even if you do not end up hiring one. Bicycle accident cases tend to be more complex than typical auto accident cases or pedestrian accident cases, because the right-of-way is so often in question. In some cases, insurance companies refuse to compensate victims because they are either found to be entirely or partially at fault for the accident. It is in these cases in particular that you may need the help of an attorney who knows the law in California.

A team that is experienced, trustworthy, and gets results.
–S.G.
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Our attorneys can help you determine your best course of action during a free, no-obligation consultation. We have over 30 years of experience in bicycle accident cases, and we can help you make an informed decision about whether to pursue your case on your own or with our help. Please contact us at 866-218-3776 or email lawfirm@gjel.com for a consultation.

Bicycle Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

If you are a bicyclist injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, your own automobile insurance policy may cover your injuries, despite the fact that you were not in your car at the time of the accident. The circumstances of each case differ, including the insurance policies involved, and the type and severity of the injuries, but our attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries even if the driver who hit you was uninsured or underinsured.

Bicycle Accidents Involving Big-Rigs, Commercial Trucks, or Other Commercial Vehicles

Despite abiding by the same guidelines of the California Motor Vehicle Code, truck drivers are subject to stricter regulations than car drivers. The actions (or inactions) of licensed truck drivers come under much closer scrutiny, particularly if they are in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. These issues include:

  • Difficulty for bicyclists to properly judge the rate of approach of big-rigs and other large vehicles.
  • Difficulty of seeing bicyclists in blind spots in front of, to the right of, or behind a semi-trailer.
  • Broken or inadequate mirrors, horn equipment, and other warning devices.
  • Turning radius issues related to tractor trailers and other extended vehicles.
  • Investigating the circumstances of bicycle accidents.

GJEL’s employs a former Oakland Police Officer, Robert Dutton, as its chief investigator. Bob’s experience at evaluating the circumstances of motor vehicle and bicycle accidents is extensive, and his relationship with Bay Area police departments often speeds the process of obtaining police reports in accident cases.

While a police report at the time of the accident is usually an accurate assessment of what happened, eyewitness statements and the statement of the driver involved are critical to your case. Physical evidence such as markings on the roadway and the severity and location of any damage to the vehicle, as well as your bicycle, are also important. An accident reconstruction expert may also help strengthen your case. Our clients benefit from our 30+ years of experience using all of these investigative techniques.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, and you have questions about your legal rights, please call us toll-free at 866-218-3776 for an immediate, no-obligation consultation. You will also receive an immediate response by emailing us at lawfirm@gjel.com. Our bicycle accident lawyers look forward to speaking with you.

RECENT BICYCLE ACCIDENT CASES HANDLED BY GJEL ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

$325,000, Multiple Insurance Companies

$325,000 for the family of a man hit and killed by a large truck whose driver had not seen the cyclist pass him on the right while riding his bicycle in the rain in Fremont.

$300,000, Farmers

$300,000 for a man who suffered serious wrist and hand injuries, along with a closed head injury, when he was hit by a car while he was riding his bike home from the Pleasanton BART station at night.

$225,000, USAA

Our client in this recent case was a woman injured in a car vs. bicycle accident in Danville, California. Our client was struck riding her bike as she was crossing the entrance to a parking lot on Railroad Ave. GJEL injury attorneys successfully recovered $225,000 for our client from USAA.

$195,000, Multiple Insurance Companies

$195,000 recovered by an experienced urban bicyclist who suffered a femur fracture when he was “doored” by a driver parked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Oakland.

$180,000, Allstate

Our client in this case was riding on the shoulder when struck by a vehicle at 6:15 p.m. in Alameda County. The lawyers for the insurance carrier contested both the injuries and the fault, but in the end agreed to pay $180,000.00.

$110,000, Multiple Insurance Companies

$110,000 from those responsible for tree maintenance was recovered for a man who injured his neck when he rode into a low tree branch hanging over a Class 1 bike trail/multi-use path.

$100,000, Multiple Insurance Companies

This was a case with strongly contested facts on both sides. Through deliberate investigation and accident reconstruction, we were able to overcome obstacles and resolve this client’s case in the amount of $100,000.00.


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