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Right-Hand Turn Bicycle Accidents and Motorists Liability

Tuesday, April 17, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Bicycle riding has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, especially in California. The percentage of people who rode bicycles to commute to work grew by 105 percent between 2000 and 2013. This is good news for riders, for the public, and for the environment. But the increase in bike riding has also led to an increase in injuries, as bike riders are substantially more likely to have serious injuries resulting from collisions than other motorists.

Negligence Claims in Bike Accidents

Motorists owe bike riders a duty to exercise reasonable care when sharing the road. Exercising care includes following all relevant traffic laws, such as signaling when turning, driving at the speed limit, yielding to cyclists, and driving free of distractions. Failure to abide by any of these rules may indicate that the motorist was driving negligently and expose him to liability. If a driver has a right-hand collision with a bicyclist and the accident was caused by the violation of a traffic law, this violation be evidence that the driver was negligent per se. Negligence per se is negligence arising from the violation of a statute or regulation.

Right-Hand Turns and Accidents

A common cause of injury for bike riders is right-hand turns by car drivers. Certain types of right hand turns are more likely to result in an accident. First, when the car and a bicyclist are both waiting at a red light and the light turns green, the motorist may turn right and hit the cyclist. This occurs because cyclists are typically positioned in the driver’s blind spot. This danger is especially pronounced when the vehicle stopped at the light is a truck or large SUV. Second, a car and cyclist may be driving toward an intersection and the car makes an unexpected right turn and collides with the cyclist. Third, a cyclist may attempt to pass a slow-moving vehicle on the right as they are both heading toward a right turn. The car may then turn right and collide with the cyclist.

California Laws for Bicycle Riders

Bicyclists and drivers must abide by the same rules of the road when traveling in California. The default rule is that bicyclists should ride as far to the right as possible. However, the state’s vehicular law provides that cyclists can veer into a lane when they are passing, getting ready to turn left, attempting to avoid a dangerous condition on the right side of the road, or approaching an intersection where right turns are permitted. Many accidents occur because drivers are not aware that the law permits a cyclist to take a lane under one of these conditions.  

If you or a member of your family was injured in a bicycle accident, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.

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