Bicycle Riding Is Popular But Also Risky

During the Covid-19 lock downs, and even after most areas ended their lock downs but still imposed restrictions, vehicular traffic on roads nationwide plummeted. As you might expect, the number of traffic accidents decreased, but with more room on the street, certain types of accidents, mainly due to speeding and reckless driving, rose. Apparently, reduced traffic inspired some drivers to drive faster and take risks.

Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 lock downs closed gyms and other exercise venues, people bought bicycles and took to the roads. The combination of more bicyclists and more speeding and reckless driving did not work well for the bicyclists. Many areas reported an increase in traffic accidents involving bicyclists even as traffic accidents overall declined.

The California personal injury attorneys at Maire & Deedon explain more about bicycle safety below.

Bicycling Is Dangerous In The Best Of Times

Every year, almost 1,000 bicycle riders die in traffic accidents, and another roughly 130,000 are hurt. Beyond the human toll, these accidents, fatal and non-fatal, lead to more than $23 billion in lost productivity and work time, medical costs, and quality of life.

The federal government estimated 932 bicyclist deaths in crashes involving motor vehicles in 2020, accounting for 2% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths. Another source puts the number of cyclist traffic deaths for 2020 at 806, with an additional 454 deaths in non-traffic situations. The federal government put the number of cyclist deaths in 2021 at 966. The numbers, even with their variations, make it clear that bicyclists on the roads operate in a dangerous environment.

California Law Tries To Make Cycling On The Roads Safer

California has several laws aimed at increasing biking safety. Of course, laws only work when they are obeyed, and even then, things happen. Nonetheless, the state has taken legal steps to enhance the safety of bicyclists using the roads. Those laws include:

  • Bicycles are the same as motor vehicles as a legal matter. This is the case in almost all states, but California law clearly states that bicyclists must obey traffic laws, and drivers must respect bicyclists’ right to use the roads and be treated the same as any other vehicle on the road.
  • By the same token, bicyclists have to obey the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles. Bicyclists can be charged with driving under the influence, for instance.
  • Bicyclists can use sidewalks, depending on local law.
  • Bicyclists have to report certain accidents, just as motorists have to do.
  • Bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear helmets, and all bicyclists operating a bicycle at night must have specific safety equipment, including lights and reflectors.

If You Have Been Injured In A Bicycle Traffic Accident, Call The Attorneys of Maire & Deedon

Obeying California’s bicycle laws isn’t complicated for bike riders or drivers of motor vehicles, but that doesn’t always happen. Even when it does, accidents happen.

If you or a family member was hurt – or worse—by a bicycle traffic accident, get in touch with the Redding, CA, personal injury attorneys of Maire & Deedon. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.