California is widely known for its sunny weather, bustling city streets, and beautiful landscapes. It's also a place where cycling is an integral part of many people's lives. However, as a cyclist in California, it's essential to know your rights.
The Vehicle Code of California states that cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities applicable to drivers of motor vehicles, except for those provisions which can have no reasonable application to cyclists. This means that you have the right to travel on most roads (excluding freeways, unless specifically allowed) and you are expected to abide by the same traffic laws as motor vehicles.
At the same time, motorists must respect your right to share the road. According to California law, drivers are required to maintain at least a three-foot buffer when passing cyclists - a law enacted for your protection. Failure to adhere to this law can result in a citation, according to California Vehicle Code Section 21760.
What to Do After a Cycling Accident
In the unfortunate event of an accident, it's crucial to know what steps to take to protect your rights:
Call for Help: Dial 911 immediately. Even if injuries aren't apparent, adrenaline can mask pain and injuries. A medical professional should assess you.
Document the Scene: Capture as much information as possible. Take photographs or videos of the accident scene, your injuries, the involved vehicles, and any witnesses present. Record details of the incident while it's still fresh in your mind.
Exchange Information: Get the name, contact information, driver's license number, and insurance details of the driver involved in the accident.
Report the Incident: File a police report. In California, any accident resulting in injury should be reported. Moreover, this report can serve as important evidence in your claim.
Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon as possible. They will help guide you through the complex legal landscape and advocate for your rights.
Tips to Reduce Injury Risks While Cycling
While no amount of preparation can completely eliminate the risk of accidents, these tips can significantly reduce the likelihood of injuries:
Wear a Helmet: California law mandates that cyclists under the age of 18 wear a helmet. However, it's wise for everyone to use this life-saving equipment. A helmet can dramatically reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in an accident.
Stay Visible: Use lights and reflectors, especially when cycling at night or in poor weather conditions. Wear bright, reflective clothing to enhance visibility.
Follow Traffic Laws: Respect traffic signals, signs, and right-of-way rules. Remember, you're subject to the same laws as motorists.
Stay Alert: Keep an eye out for road hazards and always anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists might do.
Protect Your Rights With Phillips & Associates - Accident and Injury Lawyers
As cyclists ourselves, we at Phillips & Associates understand the challenges you face on California roads. We're committed to helping you navigate the aftermath of an accident, ensuring your rights are protected, and seeking the compensation you deserve.
Our seasoned team of accident and injury lawyers have extensive experience with California cycling laws and have successfully represented numerous cycling accident victims. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Bicycle accidents can be life-altering. But with proper knowledge and representation, you can protect your rights and secure your future. Stay safe on the roads, and remember that Phillips & Associates is here for you when you need us most.