As one of the largest, most populous states in the nation, California provides ample opportunities for bicyclists to suffer injuries in accidents. The Golden State is also known for its favorable weather year-round, so there is not really such a thing as an off-season for biking. As one of the many Californians who enjoys the exercise and fresh air of a bicycle ride, you should also understand the dangers you face each time you ride near traffic.
Serious bicycle accidents are not a new thing in California. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 147 fatalities among cyclists in the state in 2016, the highest number of cyclists killed in 10 years. Bicyclist fatalities are consistently high in California. The hazards you may encounter on your rides include the following:
- Congested traffic and few lanes marked specifically for bicycles
- Drivers who are not paying attention to nearby cyclists or who are distracted
- Aggressive, reckless, impatient or rude drivers
- Limited visibility of cyclists, especially at night
- Obstacles on the road, such as debris or pedestrians
- Adverse weather conditions
You may take several defensive precautions to keep from becoming another bicycle accident statistic. These may include always being aware of your surroundings and understanding that any driver near you can be a threat. It can help to periodically brush up on your bicycle safety knowledge. This means knowing which helmets are the most effective in reducing your head injury risks and understanding that you should ride your bike with the flow of traffic – not against it.
However, the drivers of motor vehicles carry most of the responsibility for not causing accidents with bicyclists. You may be eligible for compensation if you sustain injuries in an accident caused by another driver, whether you were on your bike, in another car or walking across the street.