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As gas prices increase and traffic congestion seems to get worse, more Californians are choosing to use other modes of transportation besides cars to get to work. One of the more popular options is bicycling. Those who choose to bike to work should know the risk of getting into a bicycle accident and what rights they have if they get into an accident.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
Bicycle fatalities make up about two percent of all fatalities and two percent of all injuries in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2009, NHTSA data showed that 630 bicyclists died and another 51,000 were injured in accidents involving motor vehicles. The number of fatalities that the NHTSA recorded for 2009 is 12 percent lower than the number of fatalities in 2008.
The NHTSA reported that 70 percent of bicycle accidents occurred in urban areas in 2009. Most of those accidents did not occur at intersections, so bicyclists should note that the most dangerous parts of their journeys are when they are travelling down the road next to cars. Additionally, most of the accidents occurred between the hours of four a.m. and eight p.m. Those who bike to work should note this statistic, as those are the times when most people would be commuting to and from work.
Like the national bicycle accident statistics, the bicycle accident data for California also reveals a positive trend. The number of bicycle fatalities in California dropped 9.2 percent from 109 deaths in 2008 to 99 deaths in 2009.
Options for Injured Bicyclists
While the number of fatal accidents in California may be declining, it is still important for those who bicycle to know what their options are if they get into accidents with motor vehicles. Bicyclists who are injured in an accident with a car have all the rights to reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance as if they were driving cars. The other driver’s liability insurance should pay for the bicyclist’s medical bills, lost wages and damaged property.
Getting into an accident while on a bicycle can be a scary and traumatic experience. Bicyclists are more vulnerable than those travelling by car and more likely to face injury in an accident. If you have been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, contact an experienced attorney who can help you recover for your injuries.