Oakland has always been bicycle-friendly, both in terms of climate and infrastructure. In 2018, the city was designated as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. It honors the efforts of Oakland bike shops, public agencies, City departments, and bicycle-related organizations to promote bicycling, offer education programs, and implement policies that promote bicycling.
While bicycles can be a fun and efficient means of exercise and transportation, their lack of protection leaves riders vulnerable to catastrophic injuries. Motorists don’t always look out for cyclists sharing the road with them and when they are drunk or distracted, they can cause disabling injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
If you were severely injured in a bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. An Oakland personal injury lawyer at the Kuvara Law Firm can help you get your life back on track. Let us help you protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Most Oakland Bicycle Accidents?
Several situations can cause bike accidents in Oakland, including:
- Speeding: When motorists are speeding, they have less time to stop or react, which can result in devastating injuries for cyclists.
- Driving Under the Influence: Many auto-bicycle accidents result from drunk driving, causing serious injuries and death.
- Distracted Driving: Cyclists are at risk when drivers are distracted by their phones, GPS systems, or even eating which can divert their attention from the road.
- Drowsy Driving: When a driver is drowsy, they may fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of the vehicle. As with drunk drivers, drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and may be unable to avoid cyclists in an emergency.
- Aggressive Driving: Motorists who exhibit aggressive driving behaviors endanger other people. When a cyclist is targeted by aggressive driving, or “road rage,” it can be fatal.
- Negligent Left Turns: When making a left turn, motorists may fail to look around and hit a cyclist riding close to them.
Most bike accidents are caused by negligent motorists. In cases where cyclists are injured due to no fault of their own, the Kuvara Law Firm is committed to holding the responsible party accountable.
Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?
According to the NHTSA, the majority of fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas, with death counts being higher between June and September. Not yielding the right of way is one of the leading causes of fatal bike accidents, followed by failure to see bicyclists.
In terms of location, most bicycle accidents happen at intersections. In Oakland, the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists include:
- Telegraph Avenue and 42nd Street
- 35th Avenue and International Boulevard
- 64th Avenue and International Boulevard
- Fruitvale and Foothill Boulevard
- 77th Avenue and Bancroft Avenue
- D Street and 98th Avenue
Cyclists face higher risks at intersections due to a number of factors:
- Drivers often fail to notice bicyclists at intersections because they do not expect them to be there.
- In some cases, drivers don’t see bikes because they are smaller and can blend into the background.
- When approaching an intersection, drivers often underestimate the speed at which a cyclist is riding.
Steps to Take After an Oakland Bicycle Collision
If you have been struck by a motor vehicle while riding your bicycle, follow these steps:
- Get Off the Road: Further injuries can result if more traffic comes along. Getting to a safe area should be your top priority if you’re able to move. If not, ask witnesses for assistance.
- Call 911: Ask the dispatcher to send the police and, if you appear to be injured, an ambulance. The police will make a report that you’ll need to file your bicycle accident claim.
- Take Pictures: If your smartphone isn’t damaged and you’re able to move, take pictures of the accident scene. Ask for help if necessary.
- Exchange Contact Information: Get the driver’s license, insurance, and contact details. If there were witnesses, get their names and phone numbers: their statements may be needed later. During all conversations, do not admit or deny fault.
- Seek Medical Attention: If you’re visibly injured, go to the hospital by ambulance. If not, see your doctor as soon as possible for a thorough medical evaluation. You may have hidden injuries that you don’t feel yet.
- Retain a Personal Injury Attorney: Call an Oakland bicycle accident lawyer as soon as you know you’ve suffered injuries and property damage. An attorney can assist you with any legal steps necessary to safeguard your right to compensation.
What is My Oakland Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
The type of compensation you might receive and how much you might recover will depend on the severity of your injuries and the details of your bicycle accident. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will evaluate your case and explain your legal options.
Bicyclists who are injured by the negligence of others may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages due to the accident
- Loss of future earnings (if disabled)
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Wrongful death claims may be available to surviving family members of cyclists who die in accidents. Funeral expenses, final medical bills, financial loss, and loss of emotional support can all be recovered through this type of lawsuit. Our team of experienced, compassionate attorneys can assist you with a bicycle accident claim in Oakland, CA.
What if I Was Partly Responsible for My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Both cyclists and drivers have a duty to obey the rules of the road, as well as to exercise care for other drivers and pedestrians. Bicyclists are subject to state and local traffic laws and must adhere to them. Therefore, if the bicyclist contributed to the accident, their financial recovery may be reduced by their share of fault under California’s pure comparative fault law.
For example, if you are struck by a distracted motorist but assigned 40% of the blame because you weren’t wearing reflective gear at night, you would get 60% of the total settlement or award. If your damages totaled $40,000, you would get $24,000 instead. Your Oakland car accident lawyer can explain how comparative fault may affect your compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bicycle Accident Claim in Oakland?
In general, you have up to two years to file a personal injury claim in California. If you miss this deadline, your claim may be barred unless an exception applies. For example:
- You did not discover your injuries within the two-year time period. This is known as the ‘delayed discovery’ rule.
- You were under 18 or impaired by mental illness at the time of the accident.
- The at-fault driver left California after the collision but before the lawsuit could be filed.
These are situations that can extend or otherwise impact the two-year statute of limitations. If any of them apply to your case, your bicycle accident lawyer will explain how to proceed.
Injured? Get a Free Consultation From an Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Following a devastating bike accident, victims and their families often struggle to make ends meet. Getting back on your feet can be challenging when you are dealing with mounting medical bills, lost wages, and other issues. At the Kuvara Law Firm, we understand and are here for you.
Most bicycle accident victims are unaware they can get experienced legal representation at no cost upfront. We represent injured clients on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you won’t have to pay us anything until we win compensation for you. We offer a free initial consultation, and if you hire us, you won’t have to pay a single penny until we win.
If you have questions or would like to get started, call our office at 510-839-0400 to schedule a free consultation with an Oakland bicycle accident lawyer. You can also fill out our online contact form and we’ll be in touch!