Using your bicycle as your primary mode of transportation in California is quickly becoming more popular. There are several good reasons for this, such as decreasing your environmental impact while improving your health. Yet doing so requires you to take to the state’s main roads (traditionally dominated by motor vehicles).
Ask many of our past clients here at Max Draitser – Southern California Bicycle Attorneys, and they may attest to the fact that trying to share the road with cars while on your bike can be a dangerous proposition. If and when you collide with a car while riding your bike, your chances of sustaining a serious (and costly) injury are extremely high. Compensation for injuries incurred in a bike accident often relies on you knowing your rights as a bicyclist.
Your rights on the road
When on the road on your bike, you have every right afforded to motorists and motorcyclists. You may find, however, that these rights constitute a double-edged sword. This means that not only might another have liability for hitting you on your bike, but you could also share responsibility for causing an accident.
Do your part
Therefore, you should ensure that you are doing everything you can to travel on the road responsibly on your bike. This includes indicating your intentions. While on your bike, you do this with your hands. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distinct hand signals indicate the following:
- Left-arm extended outward: a pending left turn
- Left-arm bent upward 90 degrees (or right arm extended outward): a pending right turn
- Left-arm bent downward 90 degrees: an intention to slow or stop
Taking these actions takes away the excuse of a motorist not knowing your intent to turn towards them.
You can find more information about bike accident liability on our site.