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Bakersfield Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Around 260 miles of existing bikeways wind through metropolitan Bakersfield. The city plans future infrastructure improvements to provide additional safety and comfort to riders who use the shared-use paths, routes, and bicycle lanes.

Unfortunately, despite the physical and environmental benefits of using a bicycle for transportation in Bakersfield, there is an extreme risk on the busy roadways around the city of bicyclists becoming injured in accidents with motor vehicles.

If a bicycle accident injured you, a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer from The May Firm can help you understand the process of obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury through California’s personal injury claims process.

We are dedicated to ensuring that anyone who needs answers to their legal questions and information about the process has access to it, and we provide it without cost or obligation through a free case evaluation. Come learn why our clients trust us like family, and how our award-winning team has helped garner tens of millions of dollars in compensation for them.

How Do Bicycle Accidents Occur in Bakersfield?

Researchers from CarInsurance.org analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics to compile a list of the 20 most dangerous cities for cyclists. California, despite its beautiful weather, scenery, and an active bicycling community, has several cities on the list including Bakersfield at number 11. Bakersfield had nine bike fatalities in the past four years, with the number of bike commuters listed as 768 out of a population of 372,680.

Accidents occur in Bakersfield because:

  • Lack of separation between bicycle lanes and motor vehicle travel lanes that can cause vehicles to injure bicyclists by passing them too closely, tailgating when they turn, or who enter the bicycle lane due to distraction, alcohol impairment, or fatigue.
  • Lack of visibility. The greatest risk for bicyclists who ride during hours of darkness is that other roadway users can’t see them. Bicycles have a narrow profile and fewer lights than other vehicles, and many drivers state they can’t see them.
  • Inattentional blindness. Lack of visibility is not the only visibility issue facing cyclists in Bakersfield. Inattentional blindness also causes drivers to be unable to see bicyclists. This condition is actually not a condition, but rather the way that the human brain processes information in highly chaotic scenarios such as heavy traffic, prioritizing information about the biggest risks the driver faces such as commercial trucks and other large vehicles while letting the details of smaller hazards such as bicyclists or pedestrians go unnoticed.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way. All roadway users are required to yield the right-of-way in certain circumstances, such as at stop signs, red lights, or when driving or riding through a crosswalk. Bicyclists must follow the same right-of-way rules as motor vehicles and have the same rights as other roadway users.
  • Dooring, which occurs when the occupant of a motor vehicle that is parked on the side of the road opens their door into the path of an oncoming bicycle, forcing the cyclist to either collide with the door or swerve into another travel lane to avoid it.
  • Left-turning drivers, which pose one of the most dangerous circumstances for a bicyclist. A left-turn accident happens when the driver attempts to complete a left turn on a solid green light rather than a green arrow. Because the light is solid green, the driver is required to yield the right-of-way to roadway users approaching from the opposite direction. Whether due to inattentional blindness, lack of ability to see the bicycle approaching, or distraction, the driver fails to yield the right-of-way and turns into the cyclist.

The Most Common Scenarios Involved in Bakersfield Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are a major source of injury and death, resulting in more than 800 fatalities on U.S. roadways each year, and causing serious injuries to thousands more. Bicyclists along with pedestrians and motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users, as they lack the protective vehicle features such as airbags, seatbelts, and an enclosed metal frame that other roadway users have. There is no such protection afforded to the bicyclist, despite the proximity that bicycle lanes have to travel lanes used by cars.

Bakersfield bicycle accidents can occur at any time of the day or night, involving riders of any age and either gender. However, according to NHTSA, there are some common features in this type of accident.

Here is a look at where and how bicycle accidents are most likely to occur and to whom:

  • Considering a night ride? Most bicycle accidents occur between the hours of 6 to 9 pm.
  • You’re at a significantly higher risk of a bicycle accident if you’re riding on the city streets than you are if you’re riding in rural locations 78 percent of bicycle accidents occur on rural roadways.
  • Males are not only more likely to be in bicycle accidents, but they are six times more likely than females to suffer a fatal injury.
  • Alcohol impairment is a common factor in bicycle accidents. Alcohol impairment affects the skills that both drivers and riders need to operate their vehicles safely, including the ability to maintain a travel lane, perceive hazards that could result in an accident, multi-task, or exercise good judgment.

While many believe bicycle accidents generally involve children riding their bikes to school, a recent study revealed that most bicycle accident victims are middle-aged. In previous decades, children were the most common victims of bicycle accidents, as more children rode bicycles. In 1969, about half of school-aged children rode their bikes or walked to school. Currently, only about 10 percent do.

However, as fewer children relied on bicycles for transportation to school and the number of children getting injured in bicycle accidents also decreased, the number of adults becoming injured in accidents increased. Most often, the victim of a bicycle accident is now between the ages of 50 to 54.

The Types of Injuries Sustained in a Bicycle Accident

In addition to hundreds of deaths, bicycle accidents result in about 23,000 hospital admissions, 580,000 visits to emergency departments, and 1.2 million physician visits every year in the U.S. Bicycle accidents rank second only to riding animals among sports and recreation activities most likely to lead to injury.

Some of the types of injuries commonly sustained in bicycle accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: Only bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet in California. Adults who choose not to wear a helmet do not violate the state’s helmet law but could reduce the compensation they can claim for their injuries. The brain is an extremely important and complex organ that controls all the body’s functions and involuntary responses while having only a limited ability to heal from injury. Because of the limited healing ability, brain damage often results in permanent disabilities such as being unable to control one’s emotions or impulses, memory loss, the inability to speak or to understand spoken communication, the inability to move in a coordinated manner, blindness, or even a consciousness disorder such as a vegetative state that results from the body’s sleep/wake cycle and awareness of surroundings being impaired by the injury.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves encased in the spinal vertebrae. The cord along with the brain makes up the body’s central nervous system, with the spinal cord serving as a message system between the brain and the rest of the body. However, certain violent types of accidents can damage the spinal cord, which commonly causes a lost connection between the brain and the body, leading to a loss of function and sensation below the injury. This is called paralysis.
  • Road rash: While traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries one can experience in a bicycle accident, road rash is one of the most common. Road rash is a type of skin abrasion that occurs when an individual’s skin grinds against the rough surface of an asphalt or gravel road. Road rash requires medical assistance because of the risk of infection caused by the introduction of bacteria into the wound.
  • Broken bones: Because the body has such little protection, a bicyclist involved in an accident with a motor vehicle faces a risk of extreme impact with the vehicle, the road, or other obstacles in the area. This impact is often strong enough to break bones. Broken bones in the lower extremities, including the hips, legs, and feet are often the result of contact with the vehicle during the collision. Broken arms and wrists are also common in bicycle accidents due to the body’s instinctive urge to outstretch the arms when falling to catch itself.
  • Internal injuries: While internal organs are relatively well protected by the ribcage and skin, a collision with a motor vehicle can cause internal injuries that result in organ damage and dangerous internal bleeding.

“My number one goal is to help others. When you step foot into our firm, you’ll be treated like family, period.”
Robert May, Attorney | Founder

bicycle accident attorney in bakersfield

Seeking Compensation after a Bicycle Accident

If a reckless or careless driver injured you in a bicycle accident, California allows you to use the civil court system to seek compensation for your injuries. However, the claims process does not generally start with the filing of a lawsuit in court, but a demand package sent by your attorney to the at-fault party’s insurance provider.

This package provides details of the accident, proof of expenses, and a demand for payment of the stated value of the claim.

Upon receiving and reviewing the package, the insurer has three options:

  • They can admit to the liability of their insured and pay the claim as submitted.
  • They can reject the claim and notify the claimant with a written reason for the rejection.
  • They can admit the liability of their insured but offer a settlement for an amount that is less than the value of the claim.

If the insurer chooses to pay the claim as submitted, the case resolves without a legal claim in court. If the insurer denies the claim, your attorney can attempt to negotiate or provide further needed evidence to convince them to offer a settlement or can file a claim in court on your behalf and begin preparing to prove your claim at trial.

If the insurer offers a settlement, this often begins the settlement negotiation process, where your attorney will attempt to convince the insurer to offer you a fair settlement amount.

Read on for answers to some of the questions our Bakersfield clients most frequently ask about bicycle accidents. For answers to questions about your specific case, be sure to contact us for a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions— about Bakersfield Premises Liability

In a five-year timeframe, around 700 bicycle accidents took place in the Bakersfield area, killing 28 people and injuring hundreds more. If a bicycle accident injured you, here are answers to some of the general questions our Bakersfield clients often ask about seeking compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers provided by Bakersfield Premises Liability Lawyer courtesy of The May Firm
to some frequently asked questions we receive from clients.

Researchers from CarInsurance.org analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics to compile a list of the 20 most dangerous cities for cyclists. California, despite its beautiful weather, scenery, and an active bicycling community, has several cities on the list including Bakersfield at number 11. Bakersfield had nine bike fatalities in the past four years, with the number of bike commuters listed as 768 out of a population of 372,680.

Accidents occur in Bakersfield because:

  • Lack of separation between bicycle lanes and motor vehicle travel lanes that can cause vehicles to injure bicyclists by passing them too closely, tailgating when they turn, or who enter the bicycle lane due to distraction, alcohol impairment, or fatigue.
  • Lack of visibility. The greatest risk for bicyclists who ride during hours of darkness is that other roadway users can’t see them. Bicycles have a narrow profile and fewer lights than other vehicles, and many drivers state they can’t see them.
  • Inattentional blindness. Lack of visibility is not the only visibility issue facing cyclists in Bakersfield. Inattentional blindness also causes drivers to be unable to see bicyclists. This condition is actually not a condition, but rather the way that the human brain processes information in highly chaotic scenarios such as heavy traffic, prioritizing information about the biggest risks the driver faces such as commercial trucks and other large vehicles while letting the details of smaller hazards such as bicyclists or pedestrians go unnoticed.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way. All roadway users are required to yield the right-of-way in certain circumstances, such as at stop signs, red lights, or when driving or riding through a crosswalk. Bicyclists must follow the same right-of-way rules as motor vehicles and have the same rights as other roadway users.
  • Dooring, which occurs when the occupant of a motor vehicle that is parked on the side of the road opens their door into the path of an oncoming bicycle, forcing the cyclist to either collide with the door or swerve into another travel lane to avoid it.
  • Left-turning drivers, which pose one of the most dangerous circumstances for a bicyclist. A left-turn accident happens when the driver attempts to complete a left turn on a solid green light rather than a green arrow. Because the light is solid green, the driver is required to yield the right-of-way to roadway users approaching from the opposite direction. Whether due to inattentional blindness, lack of ability to see the bicycle approaching, or distraction, the driver fails to yield the right-of-way and turns into the cyclist.

The Most Common Scenarios Involved in Bakersfield Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are a major source of injury and death, resulting in more than 800 fatalities on U.S. roadways each year, and causing serious injuries to thousands more. Bicyclists along with pedestrians and motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users, as they lack the protective vehicle features such as airbags, seatbelts, and an enclosed metal frame that other roadway users have. There is no such protection afforded to the bicyclist, despite the proximity that bicycle lanes have to travel lanes used by cars.

Bakersfield bicycle accidents can occur at any time of the day or night, involving riders of any age and either gender. However, according to NHTSA, there are some common features in this type of accident.

Here is a look at where and how bicycle accidents are most likely to occur and to whom:

  • Considering a night ride? Most bicycle accidents occur between the hours of 6 to 9 pm.
  • You’re at a significantly higher risk of a bicycle accident if you’re riding on the city streets than you are if you’re riding in rural locations 78 percent of bicycle accidents occur on rural roadways.
  • Males are not only more likely to be in bicycle accidents, but they are six times more likely than females to suffer a fatal injury.
  • Alcohol impairment is a common factor in bicycle accidents. Alcohol impairment affects the skills that both drivers and riders need to operate their vehicles safely, including the ability to maintain a travel lane, perceive hazards that could result in an accident, multi-task, or exercise good judgment.

While many believe bicycle accidents generally involve children riding their bikes to school, a recent study revealed that most bicycle accident victims are middle-aged. In previous decades, children were the most common victims of bicycle accidents, as more children rode bicycles. In 1969, about half of school-aged children rode their bikes or walked to school. Currently, only about 10 percent do.

However, as fewer children relied on bicycles for transportation to school and the number of children getting injured in bicycle accidents also decreased, the number of adults becoming injured in accidents increased. Most often, the victim of a bicycle accident is now between the ages of 50 to 54.

Collisions with motor vehicles are among the most common ways for bicycle accidents to occur, and unfortunately are responsible for producing the vast majority of fatalities in Bakersfield bicycle accidents. As with all types of traffic collisions, bicycle accidents are commonly the result of human error.

Some common human driving errors capable of resulting in an accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Alcohol or drug impairment
  • Driving fatigue
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper lane changes

To show that a driver is liable for causing your accident, you must show:

  • The at-fault driver had a duty to take reasonable actions to protect the physical safety and property of others on the roadway. This duty included operating their motor vehicle safely and legally.
  • There was a breach in this duty when the driver failed to safely and legally operate their motor vehicle.
  • This breach resulted in a bicycle accident that injured you and caused associated expenses and impacts on your quality of life.

Bicycle accident claimants in California are permitted to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages.

In bicycle accident claims:

  • Damages refer to compensation for harm. Recovering damages means you obtain compensation.
  • Economic damages refer to the compensation you can receive for the expenses of your injury. Commonly claimed expenses after a Bakersfield bicycle accident include medical expenses, wage loss, loss of future earning capacity, and the cost of repairing or replacing your property that the accident damaged, such as your bicycle and helmet.
  • Non-economic damages refer to the compensation you can receive for the psychological impacts of your injury. Common impacts that bicycle accident victims seek compensation for include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of the enjoyment of life.

Many traffic laws pertaining to Bakersfield bicyclists include many of the same ones that apply to other roadway users, including yielding the right-of-way at stoplights, stop signs, and crosswalks; riding in the same directional flow as other vehicles; avoiding the use of headsets or headphones that cover both ears and prevent the rider from hearing approaching traffic; and the use of a headlight at night to improve visibility. Additionally, riders under 18 are required to wear a helmet.

More than a quarter of auto vs. bicycle accidents in the U.S. features a hit-and-run driver. Depending on whether the driver can be found and identified, being involved in a hit-and-run accident can have a major impact on your claim.

The at-fault driver’s liability insurance compensates the vast majority of traffic accident injury claims. Without knowing the driver’s identity, you don’t know whether they have insurance, the name of their carrier, or the number of their policy.

Your attorney can explain your legal options in a Bakersfield hit-and-run bicycle accident, including filing a claim on your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist policy or having your medical expenses paid in part by your employment-based health insurance policy. We will also be in contact with the police responsible for investigating your accident to determine if there has been any success in finding the hit-and-run driver.

Yes. In California, children under the age of 18 can’t file lawsuits.

However, two options exist for obtaining compensation for the injuries your child after a Bakersfield bicycle accident:

  • You can file a lawsuit on behalf of your child. To do so, you must file the claim within two years of the date on which the accident occurred.
  • Your child can wait until they turn 18 and seek compensation from the at-fault party through their own lawsuit. In cases involving minors, the two-year statute of limitations is tolled until their 18th birthday, meaning they have until their 20th birthday to file their claim.

Generally, adult claimants have two years from the date on which the accident occurred to file a bicycle accident claim in Bakersfield. However, if your accident involved a government employee or agency—if a government employee who drove carelessly while performing job-related tasks struck you—you only have six months to file a claim.

The best way to ensure that your claim meets the statutory deadline is to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

While it is impossible to determine liability without knowing all the details of the case, generally dooring accidents are the fault of the vehicle occupant who opened the door into the path of the bicycle. California’s Vehicle Code 22517 states that no person is permitted to open a door of a vehicle on the side closest to moving traffic without ensuring that it is reasonably safe to do so and does not interfere with traffic movement.

Part of a driver’s duty of care is to ensure that they operate their vehicle according to law, so a violation of the law is strong evidence when proving liability.

You can seek to recover compensation for the financial and emotional losses incurred by your husband’s death through a wrongful death claim. Similar to a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs must file wrongful death lawsuits in California within two years of the accident.

Yes. In many instances, you can file a claim against the government agency tasked with maintaining the roadway. However, speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your case so that they can begin working on your claim quickly, as claims against government entities have a significantly shorter statute of limitations than claims against non-government individuals or entities.

Injured individuals are often reluctant to speak with an attorney due to fears about how much it will cost. The legal team at The May Firm understands this concern, but we urge you to contact us, as we can provide immediate assistance without requiring any money upfront from you.

Those services include:

  • A free case evaluation. This is time that you have with one of our attorneys to share details about your Bakersfield bicycle accident, obtain answers to questions you have about your specific case, and learn more about the claims process and our services.
  • A contingent-fee billing method. Contingent-fee billing means that you do not have to pay for our services unless we secure a positive outcome in your claim.

Be assured, the availability of legal counsel without an upfront investment is not the only benefit a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer can provide as you seek compensation.

We can also:

  • Determine the value of your claim, based on the expenses and impacts you have already incurred, as well as those you will likely face.
  • Establish the identities of all sources of liability and locate all sources of insurance to provide your compensation.
  • Prepare your demand package and enter into settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
  • In lieu of a fair settlement offer, file your bicycle accident lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction within the statute of limitations.
  • Represent you at all pre-trial conferences and hearings.
  • Obtain witness testimony and evidence to prove your claim in court.
  • Prepare for trial, even while continuing to entertain settlement offers. It is important to remember that a settlement offer can be made and accepted at any time during the process up until the point where the court has made an award decision.
  • Litigate your case.
  • Collect your court-ordered award or negotiated and approved settlement.

Of course, one of the most important benefits an attorney can provide to your claim is the experience of understanding the legal ins and outs of the process and the compensation you need based on the severity of your injuries.

Our award-winning Bakersfield attorneys are comfortable and confident with working on even the most difficult cases that other attorneys shy away from while offering you the compassion and trustworthiness you would expect from a family friend. For your free case evaluation, contact The May Firm online or by calling (661) 244-9712.

Call Us for a Free Consultation

Our award-winning Bakersfield attorneys are comfortable and confident with working on even the most difficult cases that other attorneys shy away from while offering you the compassion and trustworthiness you would expect from a family friend. For your free case evaluation, contact The May Firm online or by calling (661) 244-9712.

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