According to a report from ABC 10, a bicyclist was killed in a tragic motor vehicle collision in Stockton. The incident occurred on the evening of July 5th, near the intersection of Lower Sacramento Road and Hammer Lane in the northern part of the city. The victim—a 73-year-old woman—was transported to a local hospital but unfortunately succumbed to her injuries.
The terrible incident underscores the risk that bicyclists face in Stockton and throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Traffic collisions remain a serious safety concern for riders. Here, our Stockton auto accident lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of the key things that cyclists need to know about motor vehicle collision injury claims in California.
Automobiles Pose a Serious Risk to Cyclists
The infrastructure in our region is not always the most friendly for bicyclists. Unfortunately, too many motorists also fail to safely share the road with riders. Automobiles pose a significant risk to cyclists. As traffic volume continues to rise in the Stockton area, streets can be perilous for cyclists. A person on a bicycle is vulnerable. They are too often overlooked due to blind spots or driver distraction. This disregard leads to collisions causing serious injuries, even fatalities. The National Safety Council (NSC) cites data showing that bicyclists make up approximately 2 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities nationwide. For reference, that means nearly 900 bicyclists are killed in car crashes in the U.S. each year. Tens of thousands more suffer serious injuries.
A Negligent Driver Can Be Held Legally Liable for a Collision With a Bicycle
California is an at-fault bicycle accident state. Fault is based on negligence—which is roughly defined as the failure to exercise due care. The party deemed responsible for a bicycle collision can be held legally responsible for the damages. In many cases, drivers are the parties that bear the blame. Some of the most common examples of driver negligence that contribute to bicycle accidents in California include:
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a serious public safety hazard. Some of the most common examples of distracted driving include texting and driving, talking on a cell phone and driving, eating, or using a navigation system while driving. These distractions cause a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving, increasing the chances of a collision with a cyclist.
- Speeding: Not only does speed make a crash more likely to happen, it makes any resulting collision all the more severe. Drivers who exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for the conditions may not have sufficient time to react to a cyclist’s presence on the road. This often results in high-impact collisions, causing severe injuries to cyclists.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication impairs a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. Impaired drivers may fail to notice cyclists or misjudge their distance and speed, leading to accidents. An intoxicated driver must be held accountable for a bicycle accident.
- Failure to Yield: Drivers must yield to cyclists, especially at intersections or when making turns. Failure to do so can lead to sudden, unavoidable collisions. Many bicycle-vehicle collisions that are reported in California happen at intersections.
- Ignoring Traffic Signs and Signals: Neglecting stop signs, traffic lights, or other road signs is a common form of negligence. It can lead to catastrophic accidents if a cyclist is in the driver’s path. Drivers must comply with traffic regulations.
- Incorrect Lane Changes or Turns: Abrupt or reckless lane changes without signaling or checking blind spots can easily result in a cyclist being hit. Similarly, making a right turn without checking for a cyclist riding in the bike lane is a common negligence scenario.
- Opening a Door In Front of an Oncoming Bike (Dooring): “Dooring” happens when a driver or passenger opens a car door without checking for approaching cyclists. It can cause the cyclist to crash into the open door, leading to serious injuries.
- Tailgating: Drivers who follow too closely may not have enough stopping distance if a cyclist slows down or stops suddenly. This often results in rear-end collisions, throwing cyclists off their bikes.
It should be noted that California operates under a comparative negligence standard of liability. An injured cyclist in Stockton can still recover financial compensation even if they are partially at fault for their own crash. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and you were deemed 30 percent at fault, your recovery would be reduced by a proportional 30 percent. The precise degree of fault matters. Every bike accident should be thoroughly investigated by a Stockton auto accident lawyer.
We Help Injured Cyclists in Stockton Fight for Full and Fair Compensation
Following a serious bicycle-traffic collision in Stockton, it is imperative that the victim and their family is able to secure the full and fair financial compensation due under the law. California allows injured bicyclists to seek financial relief for out-of-pocket economic losses as well as intangible damages. That being said, getting a full and fair recovery can often prove to be challenging. Defendants and their insurers try to limit payouts for victims.
Our Stockton car accident attorneys have the skills and experience to represent injured cyclists. We fight hard to help our clients get justice and the maximum compensation. You may be able to recover for:
- Property damage (bicycle repairs);
- Ambulance costs & emergency medical treatment;
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses;
- Long-term physical therapy or rehabilitative care;
- Loss of wages or loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering & emotional distress;
- Physical disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Consult With an Auto Accident Attorney in Stockton, California
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockon car crash lawyers have the professional skills and legal experience to protect the rights and interests of cyclists. Hurt in an accident? We can help. Call us now or contact us online for a free, no obligation initial consultation. Our auto accident lawyers handle bike accident claims in Stockton and throughout the wider region.