Cycling is a popular way to get some fresh air and exercise. It is also one of the ways that people choose to get around town, avoiding both crowded roadways and packed public transportation systems. However, it is not without its risks. Every year cyclists are injured or killed in collisions with motor vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that "[e]ach year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects and reports crash statistics, including statistics on accidents involving cyclists. The NHTSA includes cyclists in the category of pedal cyclists, which also includes "riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals." In 2013 the NHTSA reported that 743 pedal cyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles and another 48,000 people were injured. As cyclists have little to no protection in a collision with a motor vehicle, a cyclist who survives an accident can suffer severe injuries and life-long disabilities. If you or a loved one has been injured, or if your loved one was killed, in a collision while riding a bicycle, contact the attorneys at Woods Williford today.
Characteristics And Causes Of Cycling Accidents
Cycling accidents can happen for any number of reasons. These type of accidents can occur because of mistakes made on the part of the cyclist or the motorist, or a combination of the two. According to the NHTSA, these some of the common mistakes made include:
- A bicyclist fails to stop or yield to traffic when riding out into the road when turning from a side street or driveway
- A bicyclist fails to follow the traffic laws and does not stop at a stop sign or a red light
- A motorist turns in front a person riding a bicycle at an intersection or other location on the road
- A motorist fails to check his or her surroundings for cyclists when operating his or her vehicle
Cycling accidents are more likely to occur in urban areas and more than half of the accidents occur later in the day, between 3 p.m. and midnight. Additionally, the NHTSA reports that accidents involving cyclists are more likely to occur at a non-intersection location than at an intersection and the majority of those killed or injured were men. The IIHS stated that the most serious injuries suffered by cyclists were head injuries and that "[h]elmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent."
In order to recover compensation from the driver who caused your injuries in a cycling accident, you will have to show that the driver was negligent. Negligence can be defined as the "failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation." Black's Law Dictionary 1133 (9th ed. 2009). To prove negligence is a court of law, a plaintiff has to show that the driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the driver breached that duty, and that the breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff's injuries. Ladd v. County Of San Mateo, 12 Cal.4th 913, 917 (1996). If the plaintiff can prove these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, then the plaintiff may be able to recover damages from the defendant.
Sometimes in an accident, more than one party is at fault. If the plaintiff is partially to blame for the injuries he or she suffered in an accident, then comparative negligence may become an issue. Comparative negligence is used as a defense to apportion fault among the parties based on how much each party contributed to the plaintiff's injuries. Any damage award the plaintiff receives is then reduced based on the percentage of the plaintiff's fault.
Contact A California Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your loved one has been injured by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, you want an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. The attorneys at Woods Williford have been practicing personal injury law in California for many years and are dedicated to helping their clients recover just compensation for their injuries. Please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Woods Williford today for a free consultation. You can reach our office at (888) 340-2440 or you can fill out our online form by clicking here.