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Bicycling Accidents in the Bay Area

By Kelly Balamuth on November 30, 2019

Traffic crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles are a growing problem in California. Bicycle injury rates increased by 21% over a recent seven-year period while overall traffic injury rates decreased, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Bicycle accident injuries are increasing in both absolute terms and relative to total vehicle crashes.

Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Happen?

  • In the seven-year period analyzed by CDPH, 98% of bicycle accidents occurred in urban areas.
  • The rate of fatal and non-fatal bicycle accident injuries was 33.9 per 100,000 population in urban areas, as compared to 20.5 in rural areas.
  • 86,927 non-fatal injuries and 918 fatal injuries were sustained in bicycle accidents during the seven-year period.
  • 892 bicycle fatalities occurred in urban areas, as compared to 26 in rural areas.

What Are the Peak Times for Bicycle Accident Injuries in the Bay Area?

CDPH reports that 26.9% of bicycle accident injuries occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Most bicycle injuries occur on weekdays. During the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 90% of bicycle accident injuries happen during the week.

E-Bike Accidents in the Bay Area

E-bikes are pedal bikes assisted by electric motors that are operated by rechargeable batteries. Companies drop off e-bikes in different locations, and users log in on mobile apps to pay for their rental. When users are done with the bikes, they drop them off at an e-bike location.

In the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Davis, and San Jose all have e-bike programs running, and all these cities are beginning to experience e-bike accidents and injuries. This gives rise to the question of liability. Who can be held legally responsible for e-bike injuries depends on how the accident occurred. In most cases, either the e-bike rider or the other driver, cyclist, or e-share rider involved in the accident is liable. In some cases, however, liability may lie with the e-bike company or the city where the accident occurred.

Common Causes of Bay Area Bicycle Accidents

Lacking the protection of an enclosed vehicle, cyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash. Common causes of bicycle accidents in the Bay Area include:

  • Slick roads and hazardous street conditions: Potholes, utility hole covers, and Muni tracks can be treacherous street obstacles for bicyclists. Wet weather conditions make the roads even more hazardous when they become slippery and visibility is poor.
  • Dooring: When a driver opens a car door in the path of an oncoming bicyclist, it can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. A collision with a car door can cause a cyclist to be ejected from the bike and thrown into oncoming traffic. Dooring is expressly prohibited under California law.
  • Negligent right-hand turns: Bicyclists ride in bike lanes to the right of traffic when those lanes are available. Cyclists traveling straight through an intersection in a bike lane are often hit by inattentive drivers who turn right without noticing the bicycle in the roadway.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists: Many drivers fail to share the road and yield the right-of-way to cyclists. For example, bicycle accidents frequently happen when a vehicle appears suddenly out of a side street or driveway, cutting the bicyclist off.

If you have been hurt in a Bay Area bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have options under the law. Call Balamuth Law at (925) 254-1234 or toll-free at (888) 254-1234 as soon as possible. Our San Francisco personal injury attorneys can help you seek justice by tenaciously pursuing the compensation you deserve.

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Posted in: Personal Injury

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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