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I got hit by a car while riding my bike. Can I Sue? What you need to know:

Issue:

A motor vehicle hit a bike rider, can the bike rider sue the driver?


Law/Rule:

The vehicle code applies to bicyclists. This means that bike riders are considered motor vehicle drivers for purposes of accidents on the road. What does the vehicle code say?


A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division‚ including‚ but not limited to‚ provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs.

What does this mean?


Bike riders must follow all of the road rules as drivers. This includes the following:

  • obey traffic light laws- bike riders cannot cross an intersection during a red light just because there are no cars on the road

  • stop at stop signs

  • yield to emergency vehicles

  • signaling for turns

  • always use bike lanes

  • bike riders must flow with traffic

  • bike riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet

  • bike riders cannot wear headphones covering both ears or have ear buds in both ears

  • bike riders cannot attach their bikes to the back of motor vehicles

  • bikes in California must have functioning brakes, lights, reflectors and handlebars

  • It is illegal to ride a bike on a public street with handlebars that are above the rider's shoulders

  • bike riders must have at least 1 hand on the handlebars at all times

  • bike riders must stop at crosswalks and always give pedestrians the right of way.

Riding your bike at night- the rules:

  • bikes must be able to be seen from 300 meters away

  • there must be a white light on the front of the bike

  • there must be a red reflector or flashing red light on the rear of the bike that can be seen from 500 meters away

  • there must be a white or yellow reflector on each side of the bike


Analysis: What are your rights?


If you have followed all of the California Bike road rules and got injured in a vehicle collision, you likely have a claim against the at-fault driver and can obtain a full recovery for your medical expenses, bike damage, and future settlement money.


If you haven't followed all of the California Bike road rules and got injured in a vehicle collision, you still likely have a claim, however, you may not be able to collect a full settlement recovery.


If you were riding your bike and a car hit you while running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign, then that driver is "negligent per se." Negligence per se is a legal doctrine that basically says when a person violates a law, you don't need to prove "causation" or "fault" because it is assumed by the fact that they broke the law in the course of injuring you. In this case, you could likely recover a full settlement, provided that you did not break any bike laws also.


If you violated a bike law in the course of your bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, than your settlement will be reduced by the percentage you have been determined to be at fault.


For example: If you are under 18 years old and riding a bike without a helmet and fall and hit your head when a car ran a stop sign, the driver will argue that your injures could have been prevented partially if you were wearing a helmet. Your settlement money could be decreased by the percentage contributed to your fault.


What to do if you get in a bike collision with a motor vehicle:

  • call the police and get a police report!

  • If you can't get a police report for whatever reason, get the driver to sign a piece of paper in writing admitting fault.

  • exchange information with the driver of the vehicle

  • seek a medical provider asap EVEN IF you DON'T THINK you have any severe injuries (I know it sounds obvious, but a lot of people skip this step).

  • call an accident attorney ASAP.

Conclusion:


If you have gotten into a collision with a motor vehicle while riding your bike, speak to an experienced accident attorney today! You can call or text us for a completely free case evaluation. 858-800-2458


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