Bike Accident Attorney Safety Insight
Is Riding A Bicycle Safer Than Driving A Car? — Insight From Experienced California Attorneys
There are many pros to riding a bicycle in California. Not only is the weather always great, but it’s a convenient way to get around town without having to worry about parking or traffic, all while exercising and being eco-friendly. However, in a city like Los Angeles, known for its traffic violence, how much safer is riding a bicycle over driving a car?
By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Employers share key insight on the subject of bicycles vs. cars while out on the road.
Driving a Car vs Riding a Bike
Though bicycle trips account for only 1 percent of all trips in the U.S., bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injuries and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles. Nationwide, you’re more than twice as likely to die while riding a bike than driving in a car.
Moreover, California’s bicycle accident statistics are no better, and demonstrate the dangerous reality that many bicyclists face. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, California was the second state with the most bicyclist deaths in the country. In a 2017 annual report conducted by the California Highway Patrol, the city of Los Angeles experienced a total of 1,918 bicycle accidents that resulted in 17 fatalities.
Among bicyclist deaths in the U.S., 37 percent had alcohol involvement either for the motorist or bicyclist. Some more shocking facts regarding bicycle accidents in the country compiled by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
- Adults aged 50 to 59 years old have the highest bicycle death rates.
- Children and teenagers have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for more than one-third of all bicycle-related injuries seen in the U.S. emergency departments.
- Men die 6 times more often and are injured 4 times more often on bicycles than women.
- Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations.
Another issue that bicyclists may endure while on the road is air pollution. According to a 2015 study referenced by the Washington Post, bike commuters inhale about 3 times as much air pollution as drivers. Researchers at the Colorado State University found that cyclists, due to their heavier breathing and longer commute time, ended up huffing far more pollution than drivers.
With all of this said, driving a car isn’t inherently safer than riding a bike, given drivers and bicyclists both run their own set of dangers. However, together with motorcyclists, bicyclists are more vulnerable to injuries and death in the event of an accident over automobile drivers.
Moreover, the number of bicycle deaths and injuries don’t actually tell the entire story, nor does it account for all the people who commute on bikes. The truth is that if you take cars out of the equation, biking is entirely safe. So even though bicyclists can take precautionary measures like wearing a helmet, fluorescent clothing, and have active lighting on their bikes, the best bet is for the person behind the wheel of the car to drive with precaution. The precautions a bicyclist can take are second to that since they’re not driving the more dangerous machine.
Due to the fact that a bicyclist has little protection in comparison to a multi-ton vehicle, resulting injuries will not only be severe, but potentially fatal. According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2017 Annual Report, 9.7 percent of vehicle collisions either injured and/or killed bicyclists.
California Vehicle Code 21209 prohibits all drivers from driving within a bike lane. Any driver who injures a bicyclist in a bike lane will most likely be held liable for the accident. All motorists have a legal duty of care while operating a vehicle. This means that a driver who behaves irresponsibly and does not use reasonable care while operating a vehicle may be found liable for causing a bicycle collision.
If you were injured or suffered property loss in a bicycle accident, the party or parties responsible for your losses will have to pay for your damages. The first step towards recovering damages owed to you can be accomplished by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
An injured bicyclist can generally sue for the following compensatory damages:
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Property Loss
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Consortium
- Pain and Suffering
Available damages will typically vary depending on the seriousness of your injuries. The most common types of bicycle accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Dental fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injury
- Strains or dislocations
- Head and neck injuries
In very rare cases, a bicyclist may also seek punitive damages. In order to be entitled to punitive damages, a bicyclist needs to prove that the defendant engaged in extreme behavior, such as intentionally trying to run them over. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a wrongdoer for his or her deliberate acts of malice.
Please consult with an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit and claim damages for your injuries.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s carelessness, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. A bicycle accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call us today at (888) 243-1195 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.