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.

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