GJEL is a Northern California bicycle accident and serious injury law firm that specializes in helping bicycle riders & victims who have seriously been injured in bike accidents across the state.

Our bike lawyer is here to protect you on the road based on all valid bike laws.

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If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a bike crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to our award-winning bicycle accident attorneys for a free no-obligation case evaluation.

At GJEL, our bicycle attorneys advocate for your bicycling rights and safety, whether you are riding for pleasure, sport, or transportation. We are armed with the state’s up-to-date bike laws to stand up for our clients. Our bicycle accident attorneys are standing by, ready to answer any questions you may have after your bike accident.

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GJEL Is An Award-Winning Personal Injury Law Firm

We have recovered over 950 million dollars with a 99% success rate for victims injured in bicycle accidents. Our firm is ranked among the top national injury firms and is proudly known by our clients to assist with not just their trials, but medical, rental, and vehicle repair bills, too.

GJEL Accident Attorneys was just rated a top California bike accident law firm by Best Lawyers for 2021 and 2022. You can trust that we’re equipped with the best tools and mastery of the bicycle laws in California to protect you and your rights. Our bicycle accident attorney stands up for client rights and makes sure your claims are heard.

Our team will fight the insurance companies and help you with the most experienced representation in California. Bike accident injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and fatalities are possible. Hiring the best personal injury lawyers who have extensive experiences helping bicycle accident victims will help you get the best outcome for your case.

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A bicycle after an accident in California

In Case You’re Involved in a Bike Crash in California

Having a California bicycle accident lawyer handle your case offers you the best chance of getting the money you deserve after an accident.

Most cyclists are aware of the dangers of bike travel and take precautions to prevent accidents. Still, nobody expects to be involved in a serious bicycle accident.

An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you navigate the road to recovery after a bike accident. An attorney can help negotiate a claim with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf. He or she can also evaluate your case based on California bike law to determine whether legal action may be necessary.

Why You Should Contact a Bicycle Lawyer

Reputable bicycle injury attorneys will offer you a free, confidential consultation to discuss your accident and the various legal options you have. We will give you all of the information you need to make a decision on whether or not you should pursue a claim.

After a bicycle accident, you should work with an experienced bicycle injury attorney with a proven record of obtaining successful outcomes for their clients. You should never hesitate to ask a personal injury attorney for recommendations or references from past clients.

Here are just a few of the awards GJEL Accident Attorneys have won

Awards GJEL Accident Attorneys have won

Why are California Bike Accidents so Common?

Cyclists face unique dangers on California’s busy roadways. Drivers of passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, and buses often fail to see cyclists when they are riding in a designated bike lane or sharing a traffic lane.

In fact, in Alameda County alone there were over 638 collisions involving bicycle accidents in 2016.

Graph showing bicycle collisions in Alameda County

While motor vehicle occupants are well protected by seat belts, airbags, and thousands of pounds of metal, cyclists typically rely on little more than a helmet to protect themselves in the event of a bike accident.

It’s no surprise that bicycle-related injuries lead to nearly 500,000 emergency room visits per year and hundreds of bike accident deaths. Most of these are severe injuries or catastrophic injuries.

More than 120 cyclists died in California in 2014 alone.

A Typical Bike Accident Case Result in California

A woman was hit while training for a triathlon on her bicycle in Martinez when she was cut off by a vehicle making a turn across her lane of travel. She and her bicycle collided with the motor vehicle and then collapsed onto the pavement. As a result of the bicycle-car accident, she suffered a compression fracture in her lumbar vertebra, as well as elbow, wrist, and knee injuries.

Due to these injuries, she was severely limited in continuing to work effectively in her position as a physical therapist. She suffered significant wage loss during her healing period. Additionally, her back pain became extremely uncomfortable during her subsequent pregnancy.

GJEL advocated for this woman using California bike laws to help her receive a $250,000 settlement to compensate for her wage losses and continuing medical expenses resulting from the bike accident. Because she hired a bicycle accident lawyer, she was able to offset the impacts of the accident on her personal and professional lives.

Bicycle Laws California 2022

Bicycle riding isn’t a new way of getting around by any means. The new part of bike riding is that it is becoming increasingly popular as people search for eco-friendly, healthy transportation methods. Across the state of California, bike lanes are being built, and bike-share platforms are popping up, allowing riders to rent bicycles on a minute-to-minute basis. With the rise of accessibility has come a slight uptick in car accidents with bicycles.

In response, the State of California has passed a series of regulations altering biking laws in California to handle where biking is permitted and how cars should interact with bikers. These laws dictate the responsibilities of bikers and drivers to protect bicycle riders in cases of accidents. You can find these laws under California’s Vehicle Code.

Bicycle injury lawyers can assist people dealing with the aftermath of bike accidents. Having a breadth of knowledge of California bike laws allows us to protect and serve the bicycle community.

Northern California Biking Laws

Section 21200 of the California Vehicle Code provides that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. This means that anyone riding a bicycle is subject to laws on driving under the influence, giving pedestrians the right-of-way, and traffic signals just as if they were driving a car.

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There are a few special rules that apply to motorists’ interactions with cyclists on the road in bike law. Since 2014, California has required that all drivers give cyclists at least three feet of space when driving alongside or passing them. In addition, no one may obstruct a designated bicycle path by stopping in the path or parking a car or bicycle in it.

Cyclists Can Take the Lane! What Does It Mean?!

One of the cycling laws in California that many drivers don’t understand is that cyclists have the right to “Take the Lane” even if they are moving slower than traffic in the following circumstances:

  • When passing,
  • When preparing for a left turn,
  • When avoiding hazards in the roadway,
  • When a lane is too narrow to share, and
  • When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

What Cyclists Should Know

According to bicycle laws in California, cyclists also be familiar with a few other “rules of the road.” California law requires that all cyclists ride with the flow of vehicle traffic unless passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction.

Also, on any California road with a designated bike lane, cyclists traveling slower than the flow of vehicle traffic must use the bike lane unless they are making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

Hit-and-Run Is a Crime!

Hit and runs are when a driver hits a cyclist or a pedestrian and flees the scene. This is illegal, but unfortunately, it happens frequently because motorists feel they can get away quickly without getting caught.

There are ways to locate hit-and-run drivers even if you didn’t catch their license plate numbers, and bike accident lawyers can help. Nearby witnesses, such as other drivers, pedestrians, or shop owners, sometimes notice helpful details. Security camera footage from nearby posts or along the driver’s route can pick up license plate numbers or even catch the entire collision on camera.

Who is Liable for a Bicycle Accident Injuries in California?

If you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you probably want to know who is legally responsible (or “liable”) for your injuries. Sometimes, drivers in California are cited with only a minor infraction after a bicycle accident.

In more serious bicycle accidents, drivers can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense such as reckless driving, failure to properly stop at a stop sign or crosswalk, hit and run, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Although it serves the interest of justice for drivers who injure cyclists to face criminal charges as a result of their conduct, criminal charges do little to help cyclists who are left with medical bills or cannot work after an accident. This is where civil courts come into play.

How a Bicycle Injury Lawyer Can Help Recover Financial Damages

If you were hurt after a bicycle accident as a result of a driver’s carelessness, California law allows you to sue the driver in court to recover monetary damages for your injuries. This type of bicycle accident lawsuit is frequently referred to as a “personal injury lawsuit”.

Most personal injury lawsuits include a legal claim for negligence. Negligence is defined as the failure by someone to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.

If you can establish that a driver’s negligence caused your injuries and other losses, such as time away from work, you can secure a court order that requires the driver to pay you an appropriate amount of money to compensate you for the financial and personal harm you have suffered. An experienced bike crash lawyer who has a good command of the law can help you go through this process easier.

Identifying Evidence of Negligence

Negligence is defined as the failure by someone to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.

If the driver who hurt you in a bicycle accident was issued a traffic ticket or charged with a criminal offense in connection with the accident, this can be critical evidence of negligence. Under a legal theory called “negligence per se,” you do not need to prove that the driver should have acted differently under the circumstances.

California courts view a violation of any law meant to protect public safety, including the majority of traffic laws, as automatically negligent. This makes it much easier for injured people to establish legal fault for their injuries. Read more about how fault is determined in a bicycle vs car accident here.

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What Cyclists Should Do to Prevent Bike Accidents

On the roads, some things are out of our personal control. However, bicycle riders can take precautions to protect themselves and their rights.

Understanding cycling rules and regulations before taking to the roads are essential. If you find yourself in a bike accident, we recommend calling the police at the scene immediately. Many bicycle accidents result in doctor visits, physical therapy, or surgery. Some injuries take weeks or months to become noticeable – get checked out after the accident, even if you feel okay.

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from a California bicycle accident attorney. With extensive experience representing injured cyclists in personal injury cases, the attorneys at GJEL understand how devastating a bicycle accident can be.

If you are a cyclist in the Bay Area, our bike accident lawyers strongly encourage you to take the following steps to prevent accidents.

  • Wear a helmet. All children under the age of 18 in California must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. While helmets are not required by law for adults in most California cities, they can prevent serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Always wear a bicycle helmet. Read more about what can happen in case of bike accidents without a helmet here.
  • Equip your bike.  California bike laws require bikes to be visible at night. Install lights and reflectors if you plan to ride after dark. Cyclists should also purchase mirrors to assist with safe lane changes. Find out about the up-and-coming bicycle safety technologies here.
  • Wear bright gear. Cyclists should always wear brightly colored or fluorescent gear to make themselves more visible to drivers. Cyclists who ride at night should add reflective tape to their helmets or wear reflective arm or ankle bands.
  • Know the rules of the road. Cyclists should familiarize themselves with the laws that apply to bicyclists in the areas where they ride. The California cycling laws discussed above are uniform in all California cities and counties. However, individual cities are free to determine whether or not cyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk.
  • Ride in the Same Direction as the Traffic. Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic when riding on the road. If you find yourself going the wrong way, carefully walk your bike to the sidewalk out of traffic. Going against traffic may seem safer because you can see oncoming traffic, but it puts riders and drivers at risk. California does not have a state-wide ban on sidewalk cycling. Some local governments prohibit cyclers from riding on the sidewalk because it is unsafe for pedestrians. Bikes travel at speeds that put walkers at risk, so bicycle lawyers recommend biking on the road or in bike lanes.
  • Signal when turning or braking. Cyclists should always use proper hand signals to indicate when they will make a right turn, make a left turn (or overtake a lane of traffic), or brake.
  • Do Not Stop on Crosswalks. Cyclists and pedestrians have different statuses on the roads. Crosswalks are meant for pedestrians, so they have the right-of-way there. Bicycle injury law experts recommend cyclists stop behind crosswalks, not in them. You want to avoid blocking pedestrians and getting in the way of cars turning right.
  • Always stay alert. Cyclists should never wear earphones or talk on a cell phone while riding. California biking laws specifically prohibit wearing earphones that cover both ears. Cyclists should stay alert and aware of their surroundings at all times and pay attention to any vehicles (parked or in motion) and pedestrians around them in all directions. Also, keep an eye out for erratic driving which may be a sign of a drunk driver.

If you are in a bike accident you should call the police and call an ambulance right away if you’re injured. Bicycle accidents may require a doctor visit, surgery, rehabilitation, and therapy before you are back to normal.

Bicycle Accident Case Result from GJEL

A woman was hit while training for a triathlon on her bicycle in Martinez when she was cut off by a vehicle making a turn across her lane of travel.
She and her bicycle collided with the motor vehicle and then collapsed onto the pavement. She suffered a compression fracture in her lumbar vertebra, as well as elbow, wrist, and knee injuries.
Due to these injuries, she was severely limited in continuing to work effectively in her position as a physical therapist. She suffered significant wage loss during her healing period. Additionally, her back pain became extremely uncomfortable during her subsequent pregnancy.
GJEL helped the woman receive a $250,000 settlement to compensate for her wage losses as well as continuing medical expenses resulting from the bike accident.

Here you will find a series of articles that will teach you what to do in the event of a California Bicycle Accident.

A bicycle accident can be a frustrating and painful experience, especially if it was caused by a negligent driver. If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while on your bike, please contact us now.

Bicycle Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Is the driver always at fault in a bicycle accident?

When a large vehicle collides with a bicyclist and causes injuries, it is often assumed that the bicyclist is the victim and the driver is the one at fault.

However, this is not always the case and, in some instances, the bicyclist may be the one who was negligent and caused the accident. For this reason, careful investigation should be conducted and evidence should be gathered by an experienced bike crash attorney to support your claims that the driver was at fault in the accident.

Does car insurance cover a bicycle accident?

If you determine the driver was at fault in the accident, you may wonder how you should go about seeking compensation from the driver. The good news is that bicyclists can make third-party claims with the driver’s insurance company, just as other drivers can file claims after accidents between two cars. Bicycle accident insurance claims can be complicated, however, so you should always discuss your situation with an experienced bicycle accident attorney before filing a claim.

Is my bicycle accident case a civil or criminal case?

When many people think of cases in court, they think of criminal cases. However, criminal cases are brought by a prosecutor for unlawful behavior and do not include personal injury claims. Instead, your claim will be filed as a separate case in civil court by a bicycle attorney. If there is a coinciding criminal case for a violation of law–such as a DUI–evidence in the criminal case may be helpful in your civil case, as well.

What Are My Options for Financial Recovery After a Bicycle Accident?

As mentioned above, one way to seek financial recovery for your medical bills, lost wages, and other bicycle accident-related losses are to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, an insurance company will not always be willing to offer enough to cover all of your various losses and you may need to seek compensation another way.

A bike lawyer can help you do so by filing a personal injury claim in court. Cycling laws in California only give you two years to prepare and file a claim, however, if you miss that deadline, you lose your right to recovery.

How much is my bicycle accident case worth?

The value of a bicycle accident claim can vary significantly from case to case. The following factors will help determine the value of your case:

  • Your injuries’ nature and severity;
  • The costs of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries and whether you require ongoing treatment in the future;
  • Whether your injuries caused you to miss work and lose income;
  • Whether your injuries caused any long-term or permanent impairments, disfigurement, or disabilities; and
  • The amount of physical and/or emotional suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries.

Experienced bicycle injury lawyers can review the circumstances of your individual case to determine what your claim may be worth.

Will my bicycle accident case go to trial?

Just because you filed a claim in court does not mean you will go to trial. In fact, the majority of accident cases are settled through negotiations that happen before trial and out of court. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer should seek out the most efficient way to resolve your case in the most favorable way possible.

Auto vs Bicycle Accident at Contra Costa

Accident Overview This bicycle accident versus vehicle accident happened in unincorporated Contra Costa County. Our client was lawfully riding her bicycle when the automobile driver made a left…

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Bicyclist struck by Automobile

Accident Overview On July 23, 2015, on First Street at its intersection with Laurel Street in the city of Napa, county of Napa, in the State of California,…

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The Safest States for Bicycling in 2022

Welcome to May, which marks the first full month of Spring, and the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month. The group will celebrate the month with a variety of programs and events, including Bike-to-Work Week May 16-20, and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday May 20. Here on the GJEL blog, we will be posting a series of in depth blog posts on bicycle safety and bike accident statistics here in California and nationwide. To start off the month, we’ve collected data on the states that have pushed ahead of the pack with strict bicycle safety laws: Oregon, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California, and Maryland.

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Who’s at Fault When a Bicyclist Gets Doored?

If you do not regularly ride a bike in urban areas, it may sound odd, but a car door can be a lethal weapon. A driver or vehicle passenger suddenly opening a car door as you ride by can lead to a truly devastating injury. This type of accident is often referred to ‘getting doored’. Car door-related bike accidents are far more common than many people realize. Indeed, according to data collected and published by the League of American Bicyclists, approximately eight percent of all bike accidents occur as a result of a biker ‘getting doored’. This leads to an important question: If someone opens a door while you’re riding by on your bicycle, the question becomes, “who is at fault.”

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Unsafe Lane Change Accident

Case Details: Our client, an experienced bicyclist, was riding westbound on Lone Tree Way in Antioch, California. He was in the #3 lane approaching the on-ramp for northbound…

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Bike Accidents Without a Helmet

Many times if someone is in a bike accident and they aren’t wearing a helmet, the insurance company takes the position that the injury was the fault of…

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5 Great Bicycle Safety Technologies for National Bike Month

Cars seem destined for distracted driving. Though it’s essential to pay attention to the road and traffic signs, most cars come equipped with a navigation screen, complicated control panel, or at the very least, a radio. So driver safety technology has a lot to compete with. But the matter is different for bicyclists, who aren’t protected by a metal and glass shield and must always be aware of their surroundings. But that doesn’t mean technology can’t help reduce bicycle accident injuries. In honor of National Bike Month we’ve compiled a list of five of the most interesting technologies designed to improve bicycle safety. Take a look, and let us know of others in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

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