San Diego County is bicycle friendly, in the sense that bike trails with magnificent views are abundant. Riders with mountain bikes can explore off-road trails, while beach cruisers are a popular way for vacationers to explore coastal communities. Tourists enjoy scenic bicycling at the Mission Beach Boardwalk and Sail Bay, and Silver Strand Bikeway is a favorite of bicycle enthusiasts who ride for exercise.
Unfortunately, bicycles and cars are not a good mix. Part of the Silver Strand Bikeway is very close to Route 75. While recreational riding on bike trails is relatively safe, riders who commute to work on their bicycles know that San Diego drivers are not always watching for bicyclists.
Bicyclists who are injured in an accident that is caused by the driver of a motor vehicle are entitled to pursue compensation. The Law Office of Michael Rehm represents bicycle accident victims throughout San Diego County, including El Cajon, Chula Vista, Carlsbad and Oceanside. Contact our office for advice about bicycle accidents in San Diego and surrounding communities.
Dangers of San Diego Bicycling
In 2015, about 2.3% of all traffic accident deaths nationwide involved bicyclists. In San Diego, however, 3.2% of fatal traffic accidents involve bicycle riders.
Bicycle lanes are helpful, but they may also provide a false sense of safety. When lanes are not separated from traffic by barriers, a distracted driver can easily drift into a bike lane and cause an accident.
Many of the most dangerous roads for bicycle riders in San Diego include bicycle lanes. The bike lane on Friars Road is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous places in San Diego to ride a bicycle, thanks to its proximity to on-ramps and 50 mph traffic. An analysis of San Diego bicycling determined that Nimitz Blvd. and Sunset Cliffs Blvd. at the end of I-8 is dangerous because the northbound bike lane ends, forcing riders to dodge heavy traffic.
Other San Diego County locations that have been identified as dangerous for bicycle riders include:
Some roads are dangerous because they are filled with potholes or littered with glass and debris. Riders who try to avoid road hazards might find themselves veering into traffic, or might be catapulted into traffic after hitting a pothole. Other dangerous roads for bicyclists include:
Some bicyclists contribute to their own injuries by riding carelessly, but most collisions between a car and a bicycle are the fault of the driver. Unfortunately, those accidents are too common.
Causes of San Diego Bicycle Accidents
More than a quarter of all bicycle accidents occur at intersections. Drivers cause those accidents when they fail to yield to an oncoming bicycle or when they hit a bicycle that stopped for a red light. Drivers should treat bicycles like any other vehicle, but drivers often fail to notice bicyclists or misjudge their speed.
More than 80% of bicycle collisions involve bicycles that are hit by the front of an oncoming car. While cars sometimes back into bicyclists or sideswipe them during lane changes, the bicycle makes contact with the front of the car in an overwhelming majority of collisions.
That statistic suggests that most collisions with bicycles are caused by driver distraction. Rather than watching the road, drivers are looking at cellphones, texting, or programming a GPS. Except for the rare accident in which a bicycle suddenly veers into a traffic lane, drivers should always be able to see a bicycle in time to avoid a collision.
Speeding also contributes to collisions with bicycles. Drivers who exceed the speed limit increase their stopping distance. By the time speeding drivers notice a bicycle, they may not be able to react in time to avoid a collision.
San Diego Bicycle Accident Injuries
Injuries that commonly result from bicycle accidents include:
Bicycle helmets offer some protection against head injuries — it is better to wear one than not — but no helmet can shield against the forces produced by a collision with a two-ton car. The catastrophic nature of brain damage and paralysis is life-changing.
Even when an injury is not catastrophic, however, bicycle accidents have serious consequences. It often takes weeks or months to recover from bicycle accident injuries. Some injuries lead to long-term or permanent impairments and lasting pain.
Bicycle Accident Injury Compensation
Compared to the safety belts, airbags, and crumple zones that protect occupants of a passenger vehicle, bicyclists have little protection when they ride. Death is therefore a grim possibility when cars collide with bicycles. In California, certain surviving family members, including spouses and children, are entitled to seek wrongful death compensation when a careless driver kills a loved one in a bicycle accident.
Compensation for injuries to a bicyclist caused by a negligent driver may include:
Compensation depends on the facts of the case. Every case is different. No case should be settled until all the facts are known. For a free evaluation of a bicycle injury claim by a San Diego personal injury attorney, contact The Law Office of Michael Rehm at (619) 787-3456. Our firm represents bicycle accident victims throughout San Diego County, including El Cajon, Chula Vista, Carlsbad and Oceanside.
The Law Office of Michael Rehm
402 W Broadway
San Diego , CA 92101
Phone: (619) 787-3456