Spring is here and in Orange County, people are enjoying the gorgeous weather this area is famous for. Getting outside, playing at the park, biking to the beach are all activities that become more popular in the warm weather months. What do you do if the worst happens while you are out biking and are hit by a car? How can you avoid this? Read on for the answers to both.
In Orange County in 2011, there were 199 bicycle related accidents that resulted in death. This is a tragic statistic, but one that can be reduced or prevented altogether by adhering to the following tips:
- Follow all regular traffic rules; just because you are on a bike does NOT mean that you don’t need to stop at stop signs, and lights, and stay in the bike lane, unless you are making a left hand turn.
- SIGNAL – Bikers are supposed to use hand signals, but many do not. Make sure you know the proper hand signals before you or your children take to the streets on your bikes.
- Use the “3 feet for safety act” space that was newly implemented in California that requires drivers to leave a 3 foot buffer between their vehicle and cyclists. In the event that there is less space than 3 feet, drivers are required to slow to a speed that is “reasonable and prudent” so as to not injure bikers.
- Always wear a helmet and appropriate reflective lights/gear if biking at night.
What if you have done all of these things and you still find yourself or a family member involved in an auto/bicycle collision? First and foremost, WAIT for law enforcement to arrive, even if you are not certain there are injuries; often a biker doesn’t realize they are injured until hours later when it is too late to make a report. Secondly, in the event the driver has not waited, try to obtain some type of identifying information (car make and model, snap a picture of their license plate with your phone). Next, do not attempt to negotiate with the driver. When it comes time for an insurance claim, they may misrepresent the facts; which is why you should make certain an official accident report is taken and filed. Even if an accident report is not recorded, make sure you have the driver’s personal information. Review the details of the police report to ensure it accurately reflects the incident. Make certain to seek immediate medical attention for any injuries, as this is further proof of the collision. Do not make any changes or fixes to your bicycle; it should be left in the state it was in after the accident. Finally, talk to a bicycle accident l injury attorney, such as Jeffrey Dawson of Irvine, to make sure your rights are protected.