You may be able to recover compensation even if you were at fault for the bicycle crash. Make sure you are following the rules regarding legal operation on roadways and sidewalks; and make sure you have the required bicycle equipment for safety. Fortunately, California law says you can recover compensation for your injuries based on the percentage of fault placed on the opposing driver. So if the car driver was 40% at fault, for example, you can theoretically recover compensation for 40% of your injuries. Bicycle accident injuries are all too often substantial…so 40% can still be a large number and worth pursuing. A bicycle accident attorney is needed to get you full compensation. Here are some of the rules that you should be following when riding your bike on California roadways:
California Rules of the Road for Bicycles in California Vehicle Code and Local Rules
Basically, bicycle riders must follow the same rules as cars, and thus the same rights of way also apply. CVC 21200
Bicycles must try to ride as far to the right side of a roadway as can be done safely. The exceptions to this general rule are: passing, left turns, hazard avoidance, turns, narrow roads. CVC 21202 One danger caused by this rule, is the likelihood of car doors opening into bicycle traffic. However, driving in the middle of a roadway is often inherently dangerous due to oil and grease buildup in the middle of heavily traveled roads.
Los Angeles and other California cities are building more bike lanes and better bike lanes. Some streets are marked with “Sharrows” for bike and car sharing special rules. These improvements are great, but car drivers still are not courteous to bike riders and often downright mean. As a bike rider, I have experienced intentional buzzing ( cars passing as close to the bicycle as possible and just barely missing the bicycle ). Bicycle riders must use the bike lane, but can go outside the bike lane legally for left turns, passing, road hazards, right turns. CVC 21208
Bicycle riders must use the right side of roadways, and travel in the same direction of travel as automobiles, with some limited exceptions. CVC 21650
Special rules apply to motorized bicycles. This includes bicycles powered by gas motor engines, and electric motors. These are increasingly popular alternatives to the traditional bikes and motorcycles. They have less motorized power than a motorcycle, and are much slower. They may be used on paths, trails, and bike lanes, depending on local rules. CVC 21207.5 The motorized bicycle can even be used on some sidewalks, but not when under motor or electric power.
Bicycles and motorized bicycles can be used on some city sidewalks. That depends on the individual city’s rules. Most cities have websites that contain the local ordinances. CVC 21206
Here is a list of the Sidewalk Riding Ordinances and Codes for many California cities and counties, including City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County: California Bicycle Sidewalk Riding Ordinances Codes
The Los Angeles Sidewalk riding ordinance says you can ride on most sidewalks unless you create a danger to persons using the sidewalk. All sidewalk riding is prohibited on sidewalks in some specified neighborhoods. Los Angeles City Bicycle Sidewalk Ordinance.
Riding your bike on the sidewalk may be legal in many California cities, and it may seem safer than riding on the road with cars; but many bike crashes occur on the sidewalks because cars using driveways and parking lots are not expecting fast moving bikes on sidewalks; and sometimes an uneven and negligently maintained sidewalk causes the bike crash.
Obstructions on the bike path are illegal. So don’t park your bike on a bike path or stop on the path. CVC 21211
No bicycles can be legally operated on California freeways, even motorized bicycles. CVC 21960 Riding on freeway also is simply not safe.
Call an experienced bicycle accident attorney if you are injured in a bicycle accident crash.
California Bicycle Accidents and Crashes
California Wrongful Death Law