What are Common Causes of San Diego Bicycle Accidents?

California Bicycle Accident Attorney Offers Tips to Avoid Common Crashes

Cyclists biking in the city

San Diego is a cycling-friendly city, but bike riders may still be at risk for severe crash injuries in certain situations. Motorist negligence and error are among the most common causes of San Diego bicycle accidents, which means that cyclists may not always be able to avoid a crash. However, following California bike laws, practicing bicycle safety and understanding the cause of the most common accident types can help minimize your risk of injury.

As an avid cyclist himself, San Diego bicycle accident lawyer Frederick M. Dudek understands the dangers that cyclists face on the road every day. If you are injured in a San Diego bicycle accident, he is prepared to investigate the accident immediately to determine the cause and liability.

What Causes Different Types of San Diego Bicycle Accidents?

While a cyclist may not be able to avoid all bike crashes, understanding the cause of different types of wrecks can help you avoid being hit, even if the motorist would have been completely at fault. In many cases, bicycle accidents and injuries result from negligent motorists. These types of accidents include:

  • Right hook accidents occur when a car makes a right turn, striking a cyclist on the right side of the road. Right hook crashes happen most commonly due to a driver’s failure to notice the cyclist. To determine liability, courts consider how much time elapsed between the car passing the cyclist and the car making the turn, among many other factors.
  • Left cross accidents happen when a car and bicyclist approach an intersection from opposite directions. The vehicle turns left and strikes the cyclist coming from the other way. These accidents are often caused by the driver’s failure to yield or when a driver misjudges the cyclist’s speed.
  • Dooring accidents are common when cars parallel park along the street. In these cases, a driver opens the door of his or her vehicle without making sure it is safe to do so. Cyclists riding alongside the cars then have little to no time to react. If a cyclist strikes the open door, then he or she can be thrown into traffic or otherwise hurt.
  • Drunk driving accidents may involve cyclists as well as motorists. Alcohol impairment reduces focus and reaction speed, meaning that drunk drivers are less likely to notice cyclists. Additionally, drunk drivers are also more likely to speed and/or fail to yield to the right of way, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Distracted drivers are unlikely to notice a cyclist and are prone to swerving and other erratic driving. This increases the risk of serious cycling accidents, especially if the bike rider is crossing the car’s path while the driver is not paying attention.

How Can I Avoid These Common Bicycle Accidents?

In addition to being aware of common accident causes, cyclists in San Diego can avoid bicycle accidents by taking certain safety precautions. Some tips for safe riding include:

  • When riding along a line of cars on the road, use caution. Avoid dooring accidents by riding three feet from parked cars. If there is not enough room for vehicles and bicycles, then “take the lane” so vehicles go around you. You have the right to take up as much space as necessary to avoid hazards.
  • Never assume you have the right of way at intersections or turns. Always double check and assume the cars may not follow the rules.
  • Obey all laws of the road, including stop signs and lights.
  • Stay alert for turn signals and slow down if possible to avoid a right hook crash.
  • Be aware of a vehicle slowing down as it approaches an intersection from any direction. It may be slowing down to turn.
  • Use bike lanes whenever possible.
  • Always use hand signals before stopping, turning or changing lanes. This lets drivers behind you know what you will do.
  • Stay alert to avoid road hazards.
  • Increase your visibility by wearing bright clothing.
  • Follow all bike light laws to ensure others can see you. This is especially important at night. California laws require multiple lights and/or reflectors for cycling at night.
  • Always wear a helmet to protect against brain injury.

Hurt by a Negligent Driver? Our Law Firm Offers Free Initial Consultations

San Diego bicycle accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek is a bicycle enthusiast. He has thousands of miles of cycling under his belt and is a regular presence in the city’s cycling scene. As an active member of the Blind Stokers Club, an organization supporting vision-impaired cyclists, he is particularly conscious of California bicycle laws and safety.

Our goal is to educate the public about bicycle safety. Additionally, we advocate for those who have suffered injuries in bicycle accidents. To schedule a free consultation, call our offices at (858) 530-4800 or fill out our online form. Our law firm operates on contingency fees. This means that we will cover the upfront legal costs of your case. If we are unsuccessful in obtaining recovery for you, then we will not charge you anything.