Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can occur in a wide variety of ways, and they often lead to significant injuries. Here, we want to discuss some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in California, as well as issues of liability. If a bicyclist sustains an injury caused by the negligence of another, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses.

Bike Accident Data in California

Data presented by the California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that there were 129 bicyclist fatalities during the latest reporting year across the state. Additionally, there were nearly 8,000 total bicyclist injuries reported during that same year.

Bicycle accident injuries occur to those across the age spectrum, and they occur in a wide variety of ways.

Distracted Driving

Drivers distracted by their phones, other people, or anything else when they are behind the wheel are much more likely to collide with bicyclists on the roadway. Distracted driving is a major hazard for every type of motorist, pedestrian, and bicyclist.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is a continual leading cause of traffic injuries and fatalities in California and throughout the US each year. When other drivers are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they are much less likely to notice a bicyclist on the roadway around them.

Failing to Yield

Did you know that bicycles are considered vehicles under California law? This means that other drivers must treat the bicyclist with the same respect and follow the same traffic laws that they do any other vehicle. Unfortunately, drivers often fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists in the same way that they would other motorists.


Speeding is the leading cause of vehicle accidents in California and is also a major contributor to bicycle accidents. When drivers operate too fast for the conditions, they will be much less likely to be able to slow down or stop before colliding with a bicyclist.

Poor Roadway Conditions

Hazardous roadway conditions are a major issue for bicyclists. Individuals on bicycles are much more affected by poor roadway conditions, such as potholes, debris, gravel, slick surfaces, and more. In many cases, hazardous roadway conditions are the fault of government entities or third parties responsible for roadway maintenance.

Preventing Bicycle Accidents in California

Bicyclists in California must be aware of the hazards around them. Defensive driving is the name of the game when it comes to operating a bicycle. Knowledge is power, and bicyclists should know that bicycle deaths and injuries are highest during the summer months between June and September, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, approximately 75% of all bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas.

Preventing bicycle accidents can often be done by following a few simple steps:

  1. Bicyclists must remain visible, and this includes ensuring there are lights and reflectors on the bike and wearing brighter clothing, particularly when the rider is out in the evening, night, or early morning hours.
  2. Bicyclists must follow traffic laws just like any other vehicle on the roadway. This includes stopping at stop signs and stop lights, yielding the right of way, and using appropriate turn signals.
  3. Distractions must be kept to a minimum, and this includes not wearing earbuds that obstruct the sounds around a bicyclist and not continually looking add a phone or other type of GPS device. Bicyclists must remain aware of their surroundings at all times.