Throughout San Francisco, you’ll find dedicated bike lanes on many streets and roads. These lanes are in place, obviously, to accommodate the many bicycle riders that travel around the city. However, even with these lanes, many bicyclists in San Francisco still have to watch out for drivers who either aren’t paying attention or try to get around you while you’re in a bike lane. Other times, you might not be able to stay in the bike lane.
All of these situations, unfortunately, can lead to accidents. And as you’re well aware if you spend any amount of time on a bike in San Francisco, these accidents often lead to serious injury and other damage.
Experienced Legal Guidance From San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you care about suffers an injury due to a bicycle accident in San Francisco, it’s vital to seek experienced legal guidance. The Law Office of Matthew J. Quinlan is here to offer the necessary support. Our committed team of San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers has the expertise and skill you need to get through such difficult circumstances.
Contact us now to set up a free consultation and learn more about your options.
Do Bike Lanes Keep Accidents From Happening in San Francisco?
While it’s certainly an added plus, just being in a bike lane doesn’t necessarily make it possible for you or any other bicyclist to avoid an accident. The reason for this is frustrating: even if you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, you can’t account for the actions of other drivers you share the road with–and other bicyclists you share the lane with. In fact, it’s often these actions that lead to accidents even if you’re in a bike lane. Some of the more common causes of bike accidents that happen in bike lanes in San Francisco include:
- Driver negligence – Motorists failing to yield to cyclists, making sudden turns without signaling, or not checking blind spots can lead to collisions in bike lanes.
- Dooring – Opening car doors without checking for approaching cyclists can result in dangerous collisions.
- Poor infrastructure – Inadequate road design, unclear markings, or lack of proper separation between bike lanes and vehicle lanes can contribute to accidents.
- Cyclist errors – Cyclists not following traffic rules, running red lights, or not using proper hand signals can create hazardous situations.
- Distracted driving and biking – Both drivers and cyclists being distracted by phones, navigation devices, or other factors can lead to accidents.
- Road conditions – Potholes, debris, or poorly maintained bike lanes can cause cyclists to lose control.
- Aggressive driving/cycling – Aggressive behavior from both motorists and cyclists can escalate situations and lead to accidents.
- Weather conditions – Rain, fog, or slippery roads can reduce visibility and traction, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Lack of awareness – Both drivers and cyclists not being aware of each other’s presence or rights on the road can result in collisions.
- Inadequate lighting – Poor lighting during night hours can make it challenging for drivers and cyclists to see each other clearly.
- Impaired driving/cycling – Operating a vehicle or bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair judgment and coordination, leading to accidents.
- Turning conflicts – Cyclists and drivers not anticipating each other’s movements at intersections and while making turns can result in collisions.
As you can see, there are numerous causes of bicycle accidents in bike lanes in San Francisco. Although unfortunate, there are strategies that you and fellow cyclists can adopt to reduce the likelihood of such incidents.
How Can You Reduce the Chances You’ll Be Involved in a Bicycle Accident in San Francisco?
Given the widespread popularity of bicycling in San Francisco, it becomes crucial to take steps to protect your health and safety. To help you, here are some ways you can reduce the chances you’ll be involved in a bike accident in a San Francisco bike lane:
- Stay visible – Wear bright or reflective clothing and use lights, especially in low-light conditions, to make sure you’re easily seen by other road users.
- Obey traffic rules – Treat the bike lane like a regular lane and follow traffic signals, signs, and rules, just as you would in a car.
- Watch for open car doors – Be cautious when passing parked cars. Always ride far enough from the parked cars to avoid getting hit by suddenly opened doors.
- Avoid blind spots – Stay out of the blind spots of vehicles, especially larger ones, to ensure drivers can see you.
- Incorporate hand signals – Use hand signals to show where you’re turning or stopping. This helps others know what you’re doing.
- Watch intersections – Slow down at intersections. Be ready for cars turning right. Look at drivers to make sure they notice you.
- Avoid distractions – Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions like using your phone while riding.
- Keep a safe following distance – Leave enough space between you and the cyclist in front of you to react to sudden stops or obstacles.
- Check for debris – Bike lanes can sometimes have debris or obstacles. Keep an eye out for anything that might cause you to lose control.
- Stay attentive – Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Watch for pedestrians, other cyclists, and unexpected changes in traffic.
- Ride predictably – Ride in a straight line and avoid sudden swerving or unpredictable movements. This helps other drivers anticipate your movements.
Accidents can always happen, but following these steps can help lessen their impact. If you’re ever in an accident, though, it’s important to understand how the legal process works in San Francisco and what your options are.
What Happens If a Driver Hits Me in a San Francisco Bike Lane?
A bicycle accident is always unfortunate, no matter what the circumstances are. However, if you’re in a bike lane in San Francisco and get hit by a driver, there are a few things you’ll need to do to protect your legal rights and safety:
- Ensure your safety – Your safety is paramount. Check yourself for injuries and move to a safe area if possible.
- Seek medical attention – More than likely, you’ll be injured, so seek medical help immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to get checked by a medical professional.
- Call the police – Report the incident to the police. They will create an official report detailing the accident, which could be essential for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
- Get information – Get the contact details of the driver, their insurance information, and the license plate number. Also, ask for contact info from any witnesses.
- Take notes about the scene – If it’s safe, take pictures of where the accident happened, the vehicles involved, your bike, and any injuries you have.
- Tell your insurance company – Let your insurance company know about what happened. If the driver is responsible, their insurance should pay for your damages.
- Keep proof – Save all the papers about the accident, like medical bills, reports from the police, and letters from the insurance companies.
- Tell the city – If there were dangerous things on the bike path that caused the accident, tell the right part of the city. Usually, it’s the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA).
Your safety is the top priority. Follow these steps to safeguard your rights and have the right records if you choose to take legal action or make insurance claims. If you’re seriously hurt or think the driver is responsible, talk to our skilled bicycle accident lawyers. They’ll help you navigate the legal process and know your rights.
Damages in a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Claim
If you’ve been in a bicycle accident in a San Francisco bike lane and gotten hurt, you can take legal action against the responsible party. Usually, this will be against the driver of the vehicle that caused your accident, especially if you were in a bike lane. There are two main ways to do this: filing an insurance claim or going for a personal injury lawsuit. Each has its pros and cons, but both let you seek financial support for your injuries and losses.
What you can actually recover depends on your accident’s specifics. Generally, you might get support for:
- Medical costs and treatment
- Physical therapy bills
- Lost wages from missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Missing out on time with loved ones or enjoying life
Keep in mind, every situation is unique. The right actions for your case hinge on the specifics of your case. Having a conversation with our skilled bicycle accident lawyers can provide you with insight into your rights and offer the assistance you need throughout the legal process.
Put Your Trust in Our San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Bike accidents are never good, no matter how they occur. Biking should be fun, especially in a beautiful area like San Francisco. But it’s important to know the risks that come with cycling, many of which you can’t control.
If you got hurt in an accident, don’t wait to contact our reliable and experienced team of San Francisco bike accident lawyers at MJQ Law. We’re here to help you handle your claim and give you the emotional and legal support you need. To set up a free consultation with our team, contact us today.