Here in Southern California, motorists are used to driving alongside bicyclists. If travelers are fortunate, they’re located in an area with dedicated bike lanes, which can help everyone maintain some space. Alternatively, some streets are marked with sharrows. A sharrow is a lane marking that’s a bicycle with two arrows (chevrons) above it. Lanes with sharrows are intended for both vehicles and bikes. They can be frustrating (not to mention unsafe) for drivers and cyclists alike.
Most responsible drivers do their best to allow plenty of room between their vehicle and nearby cyclists, whether they’re in a bike lane or ahead of them on the road. They know that car vs. bicycle crashes can be extremely serious, if not fatal, for the cyclist. These crashes, however, aren’t always the driver’s fault. Bicyclists aren’t always as careful as they should be. Some listen to music or other content in earbuds while they’re cycling, so they don’t always hear cars around them – particularly quieter ones like hybrids and electric vehicles. Those who are riding with a bicycle club or other group may be focused on keeping up. Some cyclists, unfortunately, just aren’t as cautious as one would hope.
Sometimes, cyclists are at fault for a crash – even when they remain unharmed
California, like all states, has laws that bicyclists must follow. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states, “Bicyclists must obey STOP signs and red signal lights and follow basic right-of-way rules.” In addition to state laws, some cities and other jurisdictions have further rules for cyclists.
Bicyclists should always stay in the bike lane when there is one and look around and signal before entering a road from that lane. However, most motorists have seen cyclists straddling that line, darting out into traffic and even crossing multiple lanes of traffic to make a turn. When a bicyclist makes a sudden move like that, drivers will sometimes have to swerve into another lane, stop short or even hit a sign other object as they attempt to avoid hitting the cyclist. All of these things can result in a collision with other vehicles and serious injuries. A cyclist may not even be involved in this kind of collision. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not responsible for it.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by the negligence or recklessness of a cyclist, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other costs and damages. If you’re involved in any collision caused by bicyclist, regardless of who was injured, it’s wise to get legal guidance to protect your rights – including, if you were injured, your right to compensation.