Importance of Hiring a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Even though highway traffic deaths have fallen over recent years, fatal bicycle accident rates have seen an increase. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 857 people died in bike crashes in 2018. That's a seven-percent increase from 2017, and the big picture is even worse.
Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that, since 1975, adult bicycle deaths have tripled. Given this troubling trend, it's wise to keep the five most common bicycle accidents in mind to reduce your chance of an accident. If you've already been in such an accident, contact a bicycle accident lawyer in Torrance for help as soon as you can.
Going Too Fast
Generally speaking, a bicyclist will not go as fast as a car. However, this doesn't mean you can ride as fast as possible. Speed of travel can have an impact on injury severity and risk of death. Take weather and road conditions, the terrain and the other vehicles around you into account to determine a safe traveling speed when biking.
The speed of cars around you also plays a part in the severity of an accident outcome. If you believe you were hit by a speeding car, be sure to tell your personal injury attorney in Torrance about it.
Not Paying Attention
Distracted driving or biking are significant problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nine people die in distracting-driving crashes each day nationwide. Just like a driver, you should never take your eyes off of the road when you're on a bike. Many bicycle-related accidents involve someone using a mobile device, and as more people become addicted to these devices, the problem is only likely to get worse.
Lane Merge or Intersection Mistakes
Your bike is considered a vehicle in the eyes of the law. This means, legally speaking, you have the same responsibilities and rights as someone driving a car. It also means you need to follow the road rules for bicyclists, such as staying on the side of the road designated for bikes or in the area that is the most safe for bikes.
As a bicyclist, you also have to obey traffic signs and lights and signal when you decide to turn. Many cyclists lose their lives because they did not follow the road rules.
Confined Area Misjudgment
Driveways, parking lots and sidewalks are more confined than roads, leaving you with less time to avoid an accident and at a higher risk of one. Riding in a confined area demands extra caution on your part and a more proactive approach to anticipate any potential problems.
Never assume a car will stop when it should or that another driver sees you when you spot them. Should a driver break a traffic law or fail to pay attention to their surroundings and end up hitting your bike, speak to a Torrance bicycle accident lawyer about what occurred.
Riding Too Close
A driver should ensure the widest point of their vehicle is at least three feet away from the widest point of a bicycle. Many states require that drivers allow bicyclists to have at least three feet of space when sharing a lane, including California.
However, despite this law, you should never assume a car is going to give you enough space to operate your bike safely. Drivers may not see you or be distracted by something else.
Sometimes, it will be safer for you to use a sidewalk or shoulder than the right roadway edge. It's also important to learn which, if any, highway and freeways in your area you are not allowed to bike on.
Reduce Your Risk of a Bicycle Accident
More people are looking for eco-friendly, healthy lifestyles. When you add that to the increase in pollution, rising car costs and the worsening congestion on roads, it's not hard to see why so many people are turning to bikes for exercise and transportation.
The Bike and Walk Alliance estimates that the number of people commuting by bike jumped by 51 percent between 2000 and 2016. As that figure continues to rise, so will the number of bike fatalities.
You can help lessen your chances of an accident while on your bike by taking some simple safety precautions, including those listed below.
- Wear a proper bike helmet at all times.
- Dress in bright clothing when you bike so you are easy to see.
- Use the front and rear lights on your bike.
- Wear a reflective item, such as a vest, when you bike at night or in dark areas.
- Keep your bike away from other objects and vehicles whenever you ride.
When you constantly remain vigilant and follow all of the road rules, you can help reduce your chances of a bike accident. However, note that even if you take all of the proper precautions and follow all of the rules, you could still end up in an accident because of someone else or something else on the road.
If you or someone you care about was hurt in a bicycle crash, consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Torrance about your case. Your attorney will protect all of your rights and help you get the compensation you're entitled to because of the losses and suffering you experienced.