Bicycling and California are a great fit. Southern California has wonderful, mild weather, and beautiful scenery, as well as some traffic nightmares and gas prices that might make riding a bicycle attractive. Bicycling is a healthy form of transportation as well as a great hobby as long as you can stay safe.
Staying Safe on Bicycles
Unfortunately, according to the NHTSA, between 600 and 800 bicyclists were killed in U.S. traffic accidents each year between 1998 and 2008. California is one of the top four states that lead the country in the number of bicycle fatalities per year.
However, some simple steps can be taken that will decrease the odds of being involved in a bicycle accident, or being injured in an accident. First, be sure to wear a properly fitted helmet. Many of those killed in biking accidents die due to head injuries. Also, make sure your bicycle is adjusted to fit your body. Is your bicycle in good working order? Do your brakes work and are your tires properly inflated?
Second, it sounds like common sense, but dont ride a bicycle if you are under the influence of alcohol. Tragically, alcohol is a factor in around one-third of accidents that result in bicycle fatalities in the U.S., either because the bicyclist or a driver was drinking.
Finally, be sure to be visible, alert and let others know of your intentions. Wear bright colors or neon when riding, even during the daytime. Put reflective tape or lights on your bicycle, especially if you plan on biking at night. Keep alert for the actions of other drivers and be ready to stop if necessary. Signal all turns or lane changes.
Bicycling Laws in California
Bicycling rules in California are simple. You should ride in the same direction as traffic. If you are on a one-way street, you can ride on the left. Dont ride too far on the right, as that could cause you to hit the curb. If theres a bicycle lane, ride in it, but if not you will have to share the traffic lane. Bicyclists must obey stop signs and traffic signals. In California, bicyclists are legally required to use lights and reflectors at night, including a front lamp, a rear red reflector, reflectors on each pedal or the bicyclists shoes, and a safe braking system. Finally, bicyclists in California must wear helmets if they are under the age of 18 and are riding on a public road.
If you are injured in a bicycling accident due to the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The driver and his/her insurance company would be liable for your past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, property damage, lost wages and more. The amount you recover will depend on many factors. You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney before agreeing to any offer presented by an insurance company.
Bicycling can be great form of transportation, a fun hobby and a great way to keep in shape, but its important to keep in mind that drivers may not always be alert to your presence. If youve been injured in a bicycle accident in southern California, contact Don Sjaarda, bicycle injury attorney, at 714-963-8216.
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