Bicycle Accident Liability Explained by a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Anyone who regularly bicycles on city streets knows that it can be an unfriendly place. By law, cyclists are required to stick to the far right side of the road or bicycle lane where available. However, this behavior makes them particularly vulnerable to three types of accidents: running into a car door as the driver is opening it, being struck or brushed by passing vehicles, and being hit by a vehicle as it makes a right turn. Although a bicyclist generally has much right to use a roadway as a full motor vehicle, determining liability in an accident can be tricky as a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer can tell you. Here is some more information on how liability is determined in certain accidents.
“Right Side of the Road” Laws
If a bicycle lane is not drawn on a roadway, and a cyclist is riding slower than current motor vehicle traffic, the cyclist is generally required to stay as far to the right as possible. This can lead to an accident where a driver parked on the right opens his or her door without looking, and the oncoming bicyclist does not have enough time to avoid it. Because the law requires the cyclist to stay in that lane, a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer could argue that this accident could be the fault of the door-opener for not checking to see if it was clear.
Avoiding Passing Traffic
When sharing the road with cyclists, vehicles are required to maintain a safe space while passing. However, what determines a “safe space” can be vague. Three feet is a good rule of thumb, although whether the vehicle followed it can be difficult to reconstruct in an accident. Nevertheless, a vehicle coming up on a cyclist has a responsibility to stay a safe distance behind and only pass when it is safe to do so.
Making Right Turns
Our San Diego bicycle accident lawyer has seen many cases where a bicyclist collides with a car while making a right turn. In almost all of these cases, the motorist is liable for the accident because they are responsible for only turning when safe, and cyclists have the right to continue straight without yielding.
Contact a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
For more information on how to determine liability for a bicycle accident, contact San Diego bicycle accident lawyer George Charles Heppner at (619) 235-4300.