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Personal Injury Law Blog | Bicycle Law Blog | Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycle Accident Lawyer’s Lawsuit Center

Woman hitting cyclist
Woman driving and texting, not paying attention and about to hit a man on a bicycle.

Thanks for stopping by. First, let us introduce our lead counsel. Michael Ehline. Since 2005, he has actively led Ehline Law Firm in aiding victims of bicycle accidents.

Bicycling is a common form of portage, amusement and fitness from one end to the other in California State. But bicycles afford minimal protection from the day to day perils facing bicyclists on the roadways of the Golden State. Riding bikes can, and often do pave the way to moderate injuries to riders on the small range. But it also leads to death and tragedy on the high scale.

Are Children More at Risk From Bicycle Accidents?

Yes. Catastrophic injuries to bicyclists from roadway accidents are tragically higher among kids. As a matter of fact, school-aged children face great risks due to their smaller height. Because of this, they are less visible to a distracted driver.

Victims of bicycle smash-ups face unique challenges. Notably, this remains the case both medically and legally. As they convalesce, they also seek payment from the person(s) who caused their injuries. Plus, due to the laws of California and local municipal codes, their legal representatives must have specialized training and experience. Skills must include knowledge of the duties, rights, and obligations of bicyclists throughout the state.

What are the Types of Fact Patterns Most Often Arising Bicycle Accidents?

The vast majority of bicycle accident claims Ehline Law faces, comprise of fact patterns where there is contact between riders and passengers. Others involve drivers guilty of failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection.

For example, cyclists can get cut off due to a un-telegraphed turn by a vehicle directly into the path of an oncoming bicyclist.

  • Poor Judgment By Car Drivers.

Typically car drivers misjudge the speed of the bike or do not see the bike. So they overestimate the safe space they should allocate for safe passage. Often, motorists fail to share the road equitably. On other occasions, a large vehicle like a bus or truck is not paying attention to smaller objects like bikes.

  • What About the Blind Spots of Big Rigs and Bicycle Accidents?

In particular, larger vehicles can kill anything that remains unseen in their blind spots. This failure to see the bike has forced many a rider into a curb, or onto a sidewalk, or fixed object, and to their doom as the truck turns right at a signal, for example. This visibility issue is a massive danger to passengers. So we advise riders to avoid buses and big rigs like the plague.

What are the Forces In Bicycle Wrecks?

Bicycle mishaps can be due to other forces. And many of them remain particular to the utilization of this unique machine for transportation. Bicycle accidents may become exacerbated by coincidental factors. These include poorly designed roads, negligent repair, signage or maintenance.

These factors often lead to a limited or severely impaired vision of the poor road and path conditions. Other adverse conditions riders face things like loose gravel, trash, oil spills, potholes, and other road debris. Riders make easy targets for loose dogs, and many a fallen rider has fallen victim to packs of dogs pulling them down and tearing them to pieces.

One of the atypical twists facing California riders occurs after an unreasonable motorist negligently opens their car door into the path of a bicycle rider. Another stroke of bad luck common in the major cities like Los Angeles are people on foot getting slammed by bicycle delivery riders. Examples include process servers, legal messengers, and food delivery services. These service businesses hire out bike riders for tasks.

Other Facts About Rider Injuries.

In California, bicycle riders are subject to the same obligations and restrictions as cars, except where expressly provided for by law, such as bicycle lanes. In fact, some municipalities allow bikers to ride on the sidewalk, such as parts of Los Angeles. LA County may also allow sidewalk riding, subject to the restrictions laid out in the Vehicle Code here, and County Code here.

But as discussed, riders need to obey the rules of the road just like operators of all other traditional motorized conveyances. (See safety tips here). But there is no rule requiring a cyclist to have liability insurance.

Bicyclists under age 18, are also subject to helmet laws codified in California Vehicle Code §21212. In California, children under four-year-old, or weighing 40 pounds or less, remain prohibited from being passengers on bicycles.

But they can ride if in a seat which holds the child in place. No matter what, it must protect the youngster from moving parts. The child must also wear an approved helmet. (Source CHP “Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents.”).

But helmets are not designed to stop all injuries. Rider awareness is the key to staying safe. Speeds and impacts of 15 to 20 miles per hour or under, may allow a helmet to lessen or prevent serious head injuries. But that isn’t always true. And it does next to nothing at higher speeds.

Helmets are a Mere Implement not a Guarantee of No Head Injury?

It is just a safety implement, not a guarantee or insurer of safety. Bicycle helmets are tested in 2-meter drops under U.S. benchmarks. In fact, they travel at drops of approximately 14 miles per hour (or 22.5 kph) on a flat, anvil.

However, the New England Journal of Medicine said in a famous piece, that individuals wearing a bicycle helmet had at least an 85% lessened chance of a serious head injury. In fact, it says there was an 88% reduced chance of brain injuries. (See also, “A Case-Control Study of the Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets,” Robert S. Thompson, M.D., Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., and Diane C. Thompson, M.S. N Engl J Med 1989; 320:1361-1367, May 25, 1989).

The experts have concluded that inconsequential skull and brain housing group injuries, typically arise from linear acceleration. Linear acceleration occurs when the head impacts with another physical barrier to free movement. Wearing a bicycle helmet helps prevent and mitigate serious, or traumatic head injury. This mitigation is because a helmet can reduce of spread the inertia through the device.

What is Rotational Acceleration?

Alternatively, more significant, and more devastating types of harm, typically arise from angular as well as rotational acceleration. This rotation can result in a diffuse axonal injury (DAI) or even subdural hematoma (SDH). Above are the standard head injuries afflicted upon unfortunate riders. And these have been known to set the stage for the loss of life upon spill victims.

Bicycle helmets are not engineered to reduce rotational injury. And the available scientific research does not look promising in a helmet’s safety capacity improving anytime soon. (See also “Curnow WJ. The efficacy of bicycle helmets against brain injury.” Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2003,35:287-292.)

Ehline Law Firm is a legal advocate. And its attorneys are also riders of all types of cycles. We put ourselves in the shoes of victims, and we feel their pain. When victims become our clients, they can take pleasure in the confidence they have that we are fighting for them. We go the extra mile to get them a comprehensive financial recovery.

Can You Get Windfall Results in a Bicycle Wreck Case?

Maybe! We fight for the windfall like results that’s for sure. Mostly, we do this by putting fear in the hearts of the opposition by showing them we are the real deal. But we hire the right experts, investigators and legal researchers to seek out the strengths of your case, and the weaknesses in the defendant’s case.

Let Ehline meticulously prepare your case for settlement, mediation, and trial. If you or a wage earner are devastated and feeling the pain of severe loss or death from a spill on a bike, call us. Why not get a detailed analysis of your potential injuries claims with a real lawyer? Call now at (213) 596-9642.

Michael Ehline, Bicycle Lawyer

Michael P. Ehline, the bicycle lawyer, takes cycling sports like mountain biking, seriously. As a tort attorney, he specializes in protecting the rights of riders hurt by another’s fault.

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Los Angeles, CA 90071

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