On September 16th, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1909 (AB 1909) into law. The statute initially took effect last year. However, an additional provision that affects the rights and responsibilities on bicyclists officially took effect in the state on January 1st, 2024. The bill allows bicyclists to follow a pedestrian “walk” signal instead of the official traffic signal when crossing a road unless there is a dedicated bike control signal that indicates otherwise. Here, our Stockton personal injury lawyer explains how a new state law could impact the rights of bicyclists hurt in a collision.
A Comprehensive Overview of the Law (New AB 1909 Provision)
As noted previously, AB 1909 has been the law in California since the beginning of 2023. However, an additional provision of the law officially took effect on January 1st, 2024. Here is an overview of the key points to understand about how the new law impacts the rights and the responsibilities of cyclists in California:
- Old Law (Bicyclists Must Only Follow Traffic Signal): Prior to the recent changes in California, the law for bicyclists at intersections was relatively straightforward. The same as for cars and trucks, bicyclists had a duty to strictly follow the traffic signals. For example, if a bicyclist came to a red traffic light, they had to stop and wait, just like a car, until the light turned green to proceed. Cyclists did have the authority to follow pedestrian signals.
- New Law (Bicyclists Now Permitted to Follow Traffic Signal): Starting January 1, 2024, California introduced a change that gives bicyclists a bit more flexibility at intersections. Now, if a bicyclist is at an intersection with a pedestrian signal showing the “WALK” sign or the “walking person” symbol, they can cross the intersection—even if the main traffic light is red. The change recognizes that bicyclists often use both roads and pedestrian pathways and can safely follow pedestrian signals in many situations.
- The Exception (Bicyclists Must Still Follow Any Bike-Specific Signal): There are some intersections that have bicycle-specific traffic signals. Cyclists must always obey that traffic signal at intersections—even if that signal contradicts the pedestrian “walk” signal. In other words, if a bicyclist sees a bike signal showing red, they must stop, even if the pedestrian signal is green. The signals exist at certain limited intersections that state or local traffic officials have determined that it is not safe for bicyclists to follow pedestrian signals.
Understanding How AB 1909 Could Impact Your Personal Injury Claim Through an Example
How the new provision of AB 1909 could impact a personal injury claim of an injured cyclist in California can best be understood through a hypothetical example. Imagine a situation where a bicyclist is injured in a crash at an intersection after being struck by a car. The driver of the vehicle—who had a green light—was making an unprotected left turn at that intersection. The bicyclist was crossing the intersection following the pedestrian “walk” signal. Under the old law, the cyclist would not have the right-of-way and could potentially bear liability for their crash.
However, the new law changes the situation. It would be the driver who was making the left turn who would likely be liable for the accident. Since the bicyclist was following the pedestrian signal—which is now their legal right under California law—they were not acting in a negligent manner. A motorist must take the same care at intersections for bicyclists as they do for pedestrians. Unless marked otherwise, cyclists in California can now cross through an intersection based on the instructions of a pedestrian “walk” signal.
Every Bicycle Collision at an Intersection Requires a Thorough Investigation
Bicycle accidents remain fault-based personal injury cases in California. Who is legally liable for a bike accident? It depends on how and why the accident happened. Every bicycle accident occurring at an intersection demands a detailed investigation. Remember, each crash has unique factors that must be considered. Further, the introduction of the new provision AB 1909 in California adds a new layer to these cases. Many motorists and even some law enforcement officers may not yet be fully aware of the law. It is important to know your rights as a bicyclist. In the unfortunate event that a collision does happen, it is imperative that there is a detail-focused investigation. A Stockton, CA bike accident lawyer will investigate your case, gather evidence, and help you take action to get justice and the financial support that you need to pay your bills.
We Help Injured Cyclists in California Secure the Absolute Maximum Financial Compensation
Were you or your loved one hurt in a bicycle accident at an intersection in Stockton or elsewhere in the San Joaquin Valley? California law allows you to pursue financial compensation for economic damages and non-economic losses from the at-fault party. With that being said, the large insurance companies that handle these claims are always focused on paying out as little as possible to victims. At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, we are always prepared to go the extra mile to help injured cyclists obtain the maximum settlement or verdict. Along with other types of damages, our Stockton personal injury attorney can help you pursue financial compensation for:
- Property damage (bike repairs or replacement);
- Ambulance costs and emergency room care;
- Hospital bills and other medical costs;
- Loss of wages and loss of future income;
- Pain and suffering & mental anguish;
- Long-term disability and physical impairment; and
- Wrongful death of a close family member.
Contact Our Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Review
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling bicycle accident claims. Hurt in any type of bike accident? We are here to help protect your rights. Contact us right away for your free, no commitment case evaluation. With a law office in Stockton, our personal injury lawyers fight for the rights of injured cyclists throughout the region, including in Sacramento, Galt, Lodi, Sutter Creek, and Manteca.