8th Street Buffered Bike Lane—Does SoMa Feel Safe?

New Buffered Bike Lane on 8th Street in SoMa – Do Bicyclists Feel Safe?

Bicycle Lane

For years, 8th Street in the South of Market district has been a bane to bicyclists. Until recently, a skinny bike lane alongside four speed-inducing lanes made bicycle travel on 8th Street treacherous. The bike lane was recently reconfigured, widening the bike lane and removing bicyclists from the door zone. The upgrade came about after bike advocates and D6 Supervisor Jane Kim urged reconfiguration as a way to slow down motor vehicle traffic, reduce crossing distances for pedestrians, and create a safer and more comfortable space for bicycles and bicyclists.

Kim acknowledges that the 8th Street project received priority because of its history of pedestrian injuries, but notes that the changes will offer significant benefit to bicyclists as well. She also believes that the changes will make it easier and safer for people to walk or ride bikes for short trips, further reducing congestion in the area.

Leah Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, stressed that the original proposal for 8th Street was to provide more room for motor vehicles and less for bicycles. However, due to successful lobbying by pedestrian and cycling interests, the area now offers safer passage for un-motorized traffic. Shahum notes, however, that the new configuration is far from ideal. She concedes that the traffic still moves at a pretty rapid pace for a neighborhood street, and that motorists often drive in the bike lane. In addition, public transit vehicles must cross the bike lane and parking lane to get to bus stops.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a personal injury, including people hurt in a bicycle accident. Call our office toll free at 1-866-288-6010 or send us an e-mail to set up an appointment.

Bicycle Crash Victim Was Renowned Scientist

Famed Scientist Killed in Bicycle Accident in Berkeley

Helmet & Gloves

In July, 2012, renowned scientist Shlomo Bentin was killed when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a dump truck in downtown Berkeley, California. A neuropsychologist known for his research and insights into how the human brain works, Bentin was a professor of psychology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He was visiting Berkeley to conduct experiments with professors at the University of California.

Details of the accident were sketchy, but witnesses say Professor Bentin was riding his bicycle in the 2100 block of Bancroft Way when he collided with a dump truck. The truck driver initially left the scene of the accident, apparently unaware that he had struck Bentin. A passing motorcyclist followed him and he returned to the scene of the accident, where he was interviewed by police. Law enforcement officers confirmed that Bentin was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, but that the helmet was shattered in the collision.

Bentin’s death only illustrates the challenges that bicyclists face when traveling on the roadways in California. Though there have been national campaigns to increase awareness of the presence of cyclists, the fact that the driver of the dump truck was unaware that he had struck a bicyclist is all too familiar. Many bicyclists follow all appropriate safety procedures, and still incur serious and catastrophic injury, or even death, because of the carelessness or recklessness of motorists.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a personal injury, including individuals who have been hurt in bicycle accidents. Call our office toll free at 1-866-288-6010 or send us an e-mail to set up an appointment.

Parents Sue Strava Social Media Bike Racing Company

Bay Area San Francisco Bicycle Accident Attorneys

King of the Mountain Accident

On June 19, 2010, William Flint was traveling at roughly 40 mph down a road in Grizzly Peak in an effort to maintain his “King of the Mountain” title he earned on the amateur online racing website, Strava. The San Francisco-based company hosts virtual races by allowing cyclists to track their time using GPS technology. Cyclists compete by tracking their time along stretches of road, providing other Strava users with the time to beat along certain roadways.

William Flint lost his life while trying to reclaim his “King of the Mountain” title. Mr. Flint held his title for the time he posted along South Park Drive in Berkeley’s Tilden Park. When he learned another Strava user had beaten his time, he headed back to the hill to regain his title. Although the posted speed limit along the hill where Flint was killed is 30 mph, he was clocked going over 40 mph moments before his accident. According to reports, Mr. Flint was forced to brake suddenly in order to avoid hitting a car. As a result, his bike flipped over and Mr. Flint sustained fatal injuries.

Negligence, Strava, and Liability

In the wake of Mr. Flint’s death, his family is suing Strava, the social media website they believe enabled the fatal accident that killed William. According to the Flint’s family attorney, Susan Kang, Strava is liable for failing to check roads for potential dangers: if a road is dangerous, Strava has a duty of care to remove it from its website.

Here, Mr. Flint’s death may raise an issue of foreseeability: are there hazards and dangers a reasonable person should foresee, given the purpose and use of Strava? Can a case be made that by providing a forum for the “King of the Mountain” title, Strava encourages or promotes cyclists breaking speed limits and taking risks on Bay Area roads?

As others have pointed out, this isn’t the first time Strava has been involved in a death involving a cyclist and the use of its website. A pedestrian in the Castro District was hit and killed by a cyclist tracking his time on Strava.

Contact Bay Area Personal Injury Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian knockdown, bicycle accident, or negligence on the part of a company, contact Bay Area personal injury attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Hit-and-Run Bike Accidents

Legal Information Regarding Your Rights and Options Following Bike Accidents

Hit-and-Run Bike Accidents

When two cars collide, legal follow-up steps are simple: Insurance information is exchange and claims are filed. When a bicyclist is struck by car, though, legal steps are less clear. Whose insurance company is responsible for damage? Which types of insurance apply? And what can you do if the automobile driver leaves the scene?

The San Francisco law firm of Weber of Weber & Nierenberg can quickly and effectively handle the full legalities of your hit and run bike accident case or other type of bike accident. Attorney Joseph S. Nierenberg have handled hundreds of accident claims and have accomplished a track record that includes countless six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts.

One common challenge in bike accidents is a driver who leaves the scene. It is difficult to resolve complex insurance issues, especially when you are recovering from a serious injury.

We have a broad and comprehensive understanding of insurance policies as they relate to bicycle hit-and-run accidents. Even if the vehicle driver fled the scene, we can work aggressively to identify avenues of financial recovery for your loss, including health insurance policies and automobile policies.

Whichever insurer is responsible for your injuries, it will have a vested interest in minimizing its exposure to costs, and claim denials are common. Once we identify the responsible insurer(s), we can build a strongest-possible claim and work to recover your full and fair compensation.

For more information regarding a hit-and-run bike accident or any other type of accident, email us or call 1-866-288-6010.

Involved in a Lawsuit? Think before You Post on Facebook

San Francisco Personal Injury Car Accident Attorneys

Even though privacy experts have warned people to be careful about what they post on Facebook, hard lessons are still being learned regarding the consequences of using social media. While most of us have heard of creditors and collection agencies using information gathered from social media websites to locate and go after debtors, insurers are doing the same regarding personal injury lawsuits.

In fact, in a 2010 personal injury case, a judge ordered a woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings on her Facebook page. The woman was in the process of suing a furniture store for injuries she claimed she sustained after falling off one of their chairs. The furniture company (Steelcase) claimed the publicly accessible areas of her Facebook page indicated the woman led an active robust life inconsistent with her injury claims.

Surprisingly, the judge agreed and ordered the woman to turn over materials she had protected with privacy settings.

Social Media Privacy – A False Sense of Security?

Most people are under the impression that if they have photos of themselves or other documents set aside behind privacy settings, their privacy is protected. While Facebook sided with the woman in the case above, arguing that the Stored Communications Act protected her from having to turn over the information, the judge argued users do not have an absolute expectation of privacy since in creating a Facebook or MySpace account, the woman consented to sharing information with others – regardless of her privacy settings.

While the judge’s Fourth Amendment reasoning seems less than convincing, it does indicate the degree to which nothing posted online is ever absolutely private.

Personal Injury Lawsuits, Facebook and MySpace

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian knockdown, the insurance company responsible for settling or paying your claim might be interested in what you have posted on your Facebook or MySpace page. Pictures of you able-bodied, participating in sports, or hiking along a ridge may be enough to convince a judge the insurer has a right to see what else you have on your Facebook account. While it may not ultimately change the outcome of the case, it could lead to unnecessary delays and the need to spend more time and money on establishing the seriousness of your injuries and prognosis.

Protect Yourself after You’ve been Injured – Contact Weber & Nierenberg

There are a number of things that need to be taken care of after a serious car or bicycle accident. For more information regarding the steps you need to take to protect yourself, contact San Francisco car accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Uninsured Lexus Driver Strikes and Injures San Francisco Bicyclist

A recent auto – bicycle accident in San Francisco illustrates a number of the legal and practical problems that can follow in the aftermath of the crash. As reported last month in the San Francisco Examiner, a 45-year-old bicyclist ran a red light on Sixth Street and was struck by a Lexus traveling on Mission Street. The bicyclist was hospitalized with an undisclosed injury.

Bicyclist Ran Red Light, Suspended Driver Uninsured: Who Wins?

Because a San Francisco police sergeant witnessed the accident in its entirety, both the bicyclist and the Lexus driver will need to consider the police eyewitness version of the accident as the operative story unless other credible witnesses can be found to contest any of the main details. Because the bicyclist ran the light, at least as far as the police witness saw it, the driver could develop a strong comparative negligence defense. In other words, if the accident was held primarily to be the bicyclist’s fault, his claim for damages could be seriously weakened.

On the other hand, the driver might have had a clear opportunity to avoid the accident, even though the bike rider did not belong in the intersection. If forensic analysis of the accident scene turns up no evidence of braking or evasive maneuvering by the driver prior to impact, he might still be found liable for negligence.

An important complication that will very likely come up in any litigation of the accident concerns the driver’s suspended license and lack of insurance. He also had false registration information on his license plate. Although the bicyclist can try to collect any damages he can prove from the driver directly, there will be no liability insurance available to cover his claims.

Experienced personal injury lawyers know better than to give up under these facts. The bicyclist’s injuries might very well be covered under his own auto policy’s uninsured motorist provisions, and his own health insurance or even home-owner’s insurance might also cover certain expenses, lost income or other losses.

Call 866-288-6010 in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael

At the Bay Area law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys have focused on bicycle accident claims for many years, and we know how to find sources of compensation even in cases where an uninsured driver was responsible for the bike rider’s injuries. We also know how to meet and overcome comparative negligence defenses under a wide variety of circumstances.

Contact us for a free consultation at any of our four office locations if you need advice about your rights following a serious bicycle accident. To learn more about our practice, visit our website.

Bay Area Bicycle Accidents

San Francisco Bay Area Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Regardless of whether you’ve driven in downtown San Francisco or biked along the Embarcadero, it’s clear the combination of cars, buses, and streetcars can make for a confusing mix that puts bicyclists in danger. As a result, most people aren’t surprise when they learn that from 2005 to 2009, there were roughly 2,200 bike accidents in San Francisco. But what about the suburbs – shouldn’t they be safer?

Bicycle Accidents and Bay Area Suburbs

According to data gathered by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the number of bicycle accidents in some suburbs is alarmingly high. For example, from 2005 to 2009 there were 1,179 bicycle accidents in San Mateo, 3,564 in Santa Clara, 1,144 in Contra Costa, and an alarming 3,444 in Alameda. In areas with relatively little population, numbers were high as well: Napa saw 335 bicycle accidents while Solano witnessed 472. As a percentage of bicycle commuters in both areas, these numbers mean that 12.8% and 16.1% of all bicycle commuters in Napa and Solano respectively were involved in accidents.

Car Drivers must be to Blame – Rights? Not Necessarily . . .

Most bicyclists have a few horror stories to tell about car drivers who yell at them, pass too close, or don’t pay attention at intersections and nearly hit them. So, it must be car drivers who are responsible for most of these bicycle accidents, right? Think again – according to the data collected, 52% of the 14,000 bicycle accidents from 2005 to 2009 in the Bay Area were the fault of bicyclists. Car drivers were responsible for 34%. Even if solo crashes are taken out of the mix, in car-bicycle accidents, bicyclists were still responsible 48% of the time compared against 37% for motorists.

Bicycle Accidents in the Bay Area – Considering the Numbers

While it may be difficult to determine why the counties surrounding San Francisco have witnessed such a large number of bicycle accidents, perhaps the numbers themselves are due to the increasing numbers of cyclists on the road. As more and more people bike to get to and from work, cycling is no longer the province of sports enthusiasts. As a result, the increase in bicycle accidents is only to be expected, as there are now more cyclists on the road.

Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? Contact Weber & Nierenberg

If you’ve been hit by a motorist, it’s important to consult an experience personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the specifics of your case, it may be important to investigate the scene of your accident, gather evidence, and track down witnesses. At the San Francisco personal injury law office of Weber & Nierenberg, we have the resources and knowledge needed to investigate the cause of a bicycle accident and hold those responsible financially liable.

To schedule an appointment and discuss your case, contact Bay Area bicycle accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Who’s Liable when Defective Parts Contribute to a Bike Accident?

San Francisco Concussion and Bicycle Accident Attorneys

While bicycle accidents are often the result of inattention on the part of car drivers, defective or malfunctioning bike parts can be a contributing factor as well. Problems with quick-release mechanisms, poor alloys, defective carbon fiber parts or weakened frames and forks can make bicycle accidents worse than they might otherwise have been. The issue is not unimportant since, in California, bicycle manufacturers, designers, distributors and retailers can be held liable for injuries caused by defective products. The same holds for bicycle safety helmets that fail to perform as indicated.

Retailers and Defective Products from a Bicycle Manufacturer

If a bicyclist was unable to stop in time or avoid a car headed for him or her due to an improperly assembled or manufactured bicycle, the retailer and bike maker may both be liable for some of your losses. Here, a cracked fork, brake malfunction, pedals that snap off or handle bars that aren’t secured properly can act as a contributing factor to an accident.

The Importance of Investigating a Bicycle Accident

Due to the damage suffered to most bikes in bicycle accidents, it may not be obvious at first if a defective bike part was a contributing factor to your accident. However, if you remember having difficultly stopping, if your pedal or chain snapped, or if part of your fork or frame bent unexpectedly, you may have legal grounds for holding others beside the driver who hit you financially liable for your injuries.

Bike Recalls Are More Common than People Realize

Bicycles are not immune from manufacturing and design defects. You may have had a bicycle accident made worse by an already defective bike and not realized it. In fact, in the past year there have been a number of bicycle recalls —

• October 2010: 200 bicycles with the EC90 Zero seat posts were recalled by Easton Sports.

• November 2010: 370 Model Year Anthem Giant Bicycles were recalled by Newbury Park, California-based Giant Bicycles due to risk of a frame crack.

• November 2010: 9,300 BB30 Gossamer crank sets were recalled by Full Speed Ahead due to concerns pertaining to the bolt shoulder.

• December 2010: 200 Redline D640 bicycles were recalled by Seattle Bike Supply due to concerns regarding the head tube and frame.

• January 2011: 6,500 Salsa Handlebar Stems were recalled by Salsa Cycles due to concerns regarding cracking and breaking.

• February 2011: 160 Novara Fusion bicycles were recalled by REI due to concerns regarding the alloy steerer tube.

• February 2011: 1,550 Felt Adult bicycles link to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11139.html were recalled due to concerns regarding the integrity of the bicycle’s fork.

Head and Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Bicycle Accidents

If you’ve been seriously injured in a bicycle accident on the streets of San Francisco, Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto or Mountain View, contact San Francisco bicycle accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today. We can evaluate your case and determine if an investigation into possible defective parts is needed to recover the damages you deserve.

Respect for Bicyclists on the Road

Understanding Your Rights as a Bicyclist — Bay Area Bicycle Injury Attorney

On the Fourth of July in 2008, in what has become know as the “bicycle road rage heard around the world,” Christopher Thompson was driving his car along a steep road in Los Angeles’ Mandeville Canyon. Eventually he came upon two cyclists, Christian Stoehr and Ron Peterson, riding side by side along the road. Angered that Stoehr and Peterson were taking up more than what he thought was their fair share of the road, Thompson rolled down his window and words were exchanged.

Thompson then accelerated around the cyclists, pulled in front of them and slammed on his breaks. Stoehr and Peterson were unable to stop and crashed into Thompson’s car, resulting in serious injury to both Stoehr and Peterson. Thompson was found guilty of six different felonies and sent to prison for five years.

Bicyclists and Their Right to the Road

While bicyclists are required to adhere to the same rules of the road as motorists, car drivers don’t always appreciate the presence of cyclists along the road. In fact, motorists are required by law to afford a safe distance between themselves and bicyclists when passing them. Cyclists can also enter into traffic to make a left-hand turn so long as they do so in a manner that is safe and consistent with existing traffic laws. All too often, however, car drivers grow impatient with cyclists and may try to intimidate them by passing too close or speeding around them.

Bicycle Accidents and Liability

When bicycle accidents happen, a key factor in determining fault will be the bicyclist’s actions. While a car driver may share the majority of fault, if a cyclist entered into traffic without signaling, ran through an intersection, was carrying items that prevented him or her from keeping both hands on the handlebars, failed to wear proper reflective clothing or violated other requirements, the cyclist may share a large portion of the fault as well.

Injured in a Bike Accident? Contact Bay Area Bike Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to the unsafe or aggressive actions of a car driver, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to investigate bike accidents and hold negligent motorists liable. To discuss your case and learn how we can help you, contact San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Bicycle Accidents – What Every Cyclist Should Know

When an Insurance Agent Calls after a Bike Accident

If you’ve been hit by a car while riding your bicycle, very likely a claims adjuster will try to contact you shortly after your accident. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, any fault assigned to you will reduce the amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive by that percentage amount. For example, if you suffered $10,000 in losses but are deemed 40% at fault, the most you could recover would be $6,000. Insurance companies know this and hope that by getting you to talk, you’ll say something they can use to shift more fault onto you. What, then, are they hoping you’ll say?

Bicyclists and Rules of the Road

Bicycles are vehicles and are expected to adhere to the same rules of the road that govern cars, trucks, and motorcycles. For example, the California Vehicle Code (CVC) lists the following requirements bicyclists are expected to follow:

  • CVC 21201 lists a number of equipment requirements including reflectors that must be seen from a distance a certain distance, mounted lights for cycling at night, brakes, handle bars of a certain height, and a permanent seat
  • Under CVC 21212, people under 18 must wear a helmet when riding a bike
  • Under CVC 27400, bicyclists cannot wear headphones while riding a bike
  • Under CVC 21205, a bicyclist cannot carry items if they prevent him from keeping at least one hand on the handle bars
  • Under CVC 21202, bicyclists are required to ride on the far right side of the road to allow the flow of faster moving traffic
  • Under CVC 21208, bicyclists are required to use bicycle lanes when they are available (except when making a left turn)

When an insurance claims adjuster calls, he may ask you where you were riding, if a bike lane was present, did you use hand signals to turn, were you listing to an iPod, do your pedals have reflectors on them, etc. Here, the intent is to determine if you failed to comply in some way with California’s Vehicle Code regulating bicycles. If you say something that indicates you were not in compliance with the CVC, attorneys for the insurance company may use that as a justification for finding you at fault, thereby reducing the amount of damages you are eligible to receive.

Cars and Bicycles

While bicyclists are expected to use common sense when riding in traffic, approaching and stopping at intersections, and signaling turns, car drivers are expected to exercise common sense as well. For instance, motorists are required to establish a safe passing distance between themselves and bicyclists – roughly a distance of four or five feet. The operative idea here is that the distance established should not create the impression that a cyclist will be – or could be – hit. Further, bicyclists have a right to enter into the left lane of traffic when making a turn. Motorists are required to establish a safe distance between their vehicle and the cyclist and must yield sufficient time and space for the bicyclist to make his or her turn.

Injured in a Bike Accident? Contact Weber & Nierenberg Today

Insurance companies want to pay you the least amount possible. Even if you were not in full compliance with the CVC at the time of your bicycle accident, the driver who hit you may still be completely at fault. To protect your rights and learn how we can help you, contact San Francisco, California bicycle accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today. Our personal injury attorneys provide free consultations and are happy to evaluate whether or not you have a case.

We understand the tactics of insurance companies and how to investigate bicycle accidents – let one of our bike accident attorneys help you – call 415-788-3900.

 
 
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1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
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P. 415-788-3900

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P. 510-663-6000

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