Merced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
As the city and county seat of Merced County in the San Joaquin Valley, Merced is a unique city filled with friendly and warm people, eager to make any visitor feel welcome. With a variety of attractions, restaurants, historic sites, and just an hour and a half drive to Yosemite National Park, residents and visitors alike can find plenty of things to do and see.
Merced also has one of the best city bikeway systems in the country. The city recently added new bike lanes and routes to the system where bicyclists can follow a path to any area within the town. While biking in Merced is a great way to get around the city, the activity is not without its risks. Bicycle accidents are not uncommon and have caused severe injuries and even deaths.Bicycle Accident Statistics
As the weather in the Central Valley gets warmer, more and more people are bicycling to work, for exercise and for fun. Bicycles, by law, are considered vehicles with the same rights and rules as motor vehicles. However, when an accident happens between a bike and a motor vehicle, it is most likely the cyclist who is injured. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Nearly 900 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016.
- Bicyclists accounted for more than 2 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2016.
- Bicyclists fatalities happened most often between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm.
- About 84 percent of bicyclists killed were males.
- The most substantial number of males injured were between the ages of 55 and 59 years old.
- About 29 percent of bicyclist accidents involved alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration (BACs) of .08 or higher.
Bicycle accidents are widespread in Merced especially when bikes are sharing the road with motor vehicles. Although the city of Merced has come a long way in fostering bicycle safety, it is ultimately the drivers’ responsibility to obey the laws. The majority of bicycle accidents in Merced are due to careless drivers. A negligent driver is someone who is either distracted or violates a traffic law. Some of the common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Cutting off cyclists
- Motorists driving in the bicycle lane
- Motorist or bicyclist who is driving or riding while intoxicated
- Failing to brake in time
- Failing to yield to cyclists
- Improper turns
- Texting or talking while driving
Aside from driver’s carelessness, bicycle accidents can also occur due to local government’s failure to upkeep roads and bicycle lanes properly. Some typical examples include:
- Bumps or cracks on the street or sidewalk
- Lack of adequate lighting at night time
- Lack of bicycle lanes
- Lack of proper signage
- Poorly configured intersections
Bicycle accident injuries are usually severe and often deadly because cyclists don’t have adequate protection from other vehicles on the road. Although a cyclist can wear protective gear such as a helmet, there is no actual protection between the cyclist and the car or the pavement. Some common injuries that can occur in a bicycle accident include:
- Broken bones
- Chest injuries
- Head or brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Road rash, abrasions, and cuts
- Spinal cord, back and neck injuries
There are two types of bicycle accidents. The most common is a fall, and the most serious is a collision with a vehicle. No matter what the reason is, prevention is key to decreasing your chance of an accident. Before you head out on the road, make sure to:
- Ride a bicycle that is the right fit for you. If a bike is too big, it may be harder to control.
- Ride a bicycle that works. Being a great rider doesn’t matter if the brakes don’t work.
- Wear the right size helmet. Wearing a helmet is a must, but it’s equally important that the helmet fits appropriately to ensure the best protection.
- Be visible. Wear protective gear that will make you more visible to other drivers. For example, wear bright clothing during the day, and reflective equipment or reflectors on your bike at night.
- Double check for loose shoelaces or pant legs to avoid getting caught in the bike chain.
- Ride with both hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn.
- Plan your route ahead of time. If you are riding with other vehicles on the road, choose a route with lower speeds and less traffic. It may be safer to ride in a bike lane or bike path and away from traffic altogether.
Watch YouTube Video: Bicycles Rules of the Road. This educational video provides some basic rules of the road for bicycles.Drive Defensively
While on the road, drive defensively by staying focused and alert. Expect what other drivers may do before they do it. The quicker you notice a potential problem, the sooner you can act on it to avoid an accident. Some ways you can drive defensively include:
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Obey signs, signals and road markings.
- Look for situations or avoid hazards like potholes, rocks, and train tracks that may cause you to fall.
- Don’t listen to music or use other devices that may distract you from the road and traffic.
When you ride predictably, drivers will see your intentions and can react to prevent an accident. Ride where you are expected to be seen. Avoid riding on the sidewalk. Cars don’t usually expect to see moving traffic on a sidewalk and can hit you when turning or backing out of a driveway. If riding on a sidewalk is unavoidable, be sure to:
- Watch for pedestrians and pass them with care on your left side.
- Use hand signals or look over your shoulder before turning.
- Slow and look for traffic, especially when crossing a street.
- Slow down and look for cars turning or backing out of a driveway.
A lot of accidents can be avoided if bicyclists and drivers watch out for each other. Following the rules of the road can help reduce injuries and deaths.Merced Bicycle Accident Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Merced bicycle accident attorney. Bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries. If you or a family member has been injured in a bicycle accident, call me today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
I’ve helped numerous clients in the Merced community with personal injury and wrongful death cases for the past 36 years.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of top trial attorneys who have won over one million-dollar verdicts and settlements for a client.
You are welcome to read through some of our verdicts and settlements cases.
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