Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents in California
Based in San Jose, California, the experienced attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP assist people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area who have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident. Below are answers to questions we often receive about bicycle accidents. For further information, or to speak with an experienced attorney, contact us today.
Q: If a defective road caused my accident, can I sue the government?
A: You can sue the governmental body in charge of maintaining a roadway if your bike accident occurred because the road was dangerous as a result of poor maintenance, defective construction, poor signage or other unsafe conditions. There are, however, greater limits on suing the government than a person or business. California law generally gives you two years after an injury to file suit against a person or business. To sue the state government, however, you must provide written notice of your claim within six months and then wait another six months before filing the lawsuit to give the government time to try to settle your case.
Q: Do bicyclists automatically have the right of way?
A: No. Unlike pedestrians, bicycle riders must follow the same rules of the road as cars, such as obeying traffic lights and stop signs, and yielding to pedestrians. There are additional Vehicle Code regulations bicyclists must follow.
Q: If I violate a traffic regulation, can I still recover for my injuries?
A: Under California’s comparative negligence law, you can still recover, although your damages will be reduced by the percentage you were at fault. For example, if you failed to yield and that failure was 20 percent responsible for the accident, your recovery would be reduced by 20 percent. After a crash, contact a bike accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our California bicycle accident lawyers will investigate the causes of your accident.
Q: What are the helmet requirements in California?
A: California requires bicyclists younger than 18 to wear helmets. Even though adult riders are not required to wear helmets in most of California, a properly fitting helmet can greatly reduce the risk of serious head injuries if you are involved in a crash. Some cities and counties extend the helmet requirement to riders of all ages.