Bicycle Accident

Bike riders and cycling enthusiasts in the Southern California area bear an unfair burden when car and truck drivers do not drive carefully. With so little protection beyond a bike helmet and their quick reflexes, cyclists often suffer severe injuries when a motor vehicle makes a sudden stop or turns into their path.

If you or a loved one has been injured in the in a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle or suffered a cycling injury due to hazardous property conditions in the Southern California area contact the Hartunian Law Firm.

In Los Angeles, many roads have inadequate bike lanes or shoulder, and drivers often ignore these protected spaces even when they are present. If you or a loved one has been injured - or even killed - in a bicycle-vehicle accident, you need the services of a Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer - you have the right to take the responsible party to court.
Especially in collisions with automobiles, cyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injury, and lacerations even when wearing the proper safety gear.

However, some bike accidents are not due to careless driving but stem from the rider's
irresponsibility. Bicyclists must follow many of the same laws as car drivers.

What are the California bicycle laws?
California Vehicle Code VC 21201 deals with bicycle requirements.

  • Functional brakes - It is illegal (and dangerous) to ride a bike with faulty brakes.
  • Handlebars must be appropriately sized for the rider, and not above the rider's shoulder height.
  • LA Bike has a city by city breakdown of the vehicle codes in all L.A. County cities.
  • There are additional requirements for nighttime riding.
  • Bikes must be equipped with a lamp or headlight that can be seen from 300 feet to the front or either side of the bicycle.
  • The rear of the bike must be equipped with a red reflector that can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
  • The bike pedals must be equipped with white or yellow reflectors.

Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
Anyone involved in a bicycle accident in California has two years to file a lawsuit for damages that result from a car accident. This is called the statutory period; if you do not file your claim within this period, a judge may bar your claim. Certain exemptions do apply if the injured person was rendered incapable of filing a claim or suffers from mental incompetence (especially if said incompetence was the result of any of the accident injuries, such as a concussion).

If a minor is involved in a bicycle accident, he or she may wait until he or she is twenty years old to file a claim. The minor will be permitted to file any time up until an 18th birthday, at which point the two-year statutory period kicks on.

Fault in Los Angeles Bike Accidents
In some states, the driver is always at fault in a car-bicycle accident. Not so in California; the fault rests squarely with the negligent party, and said party is responsible for all damages. "Negligent," in California law, is defined as "failing to act in a manner expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.”

What does this mean for car-bicycle accidents?

To prove the driver was acting negligibly, the crash must have caused property damage or personal injury. It must also be proved that the driver or bicyclist acted carelessly and that the carelessness directly caused the crash.

Pure Comparative Fault in Los Angeles, California
If the faulty party is responsible for all damages. However, if there are two faulty parties, who will pay?

To fix this problem, California decided to use a pure comparative negligence model. The model asks: Who is more at fault? Who sustained more damage? If, for example, one party is 25% at fault and the other party 75%, the former party is entitled to 75% of the damages, which holds them accountable to the portion of the total damages for which they are responsible.
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