Bicycle accidents are unfortunately common in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. Because bike riders have little protection—especially against motor vehicles—victims often suffer severe or even life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you need an experienced San Francisco bicycle accident attorney to help get you the justice you deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights and fight to get you compensation.
The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart represents bicycle accident injury victims, providing exceptional service and customized legal strategies. We provide a free consultation and case evaluation, so you can get the answers you need to get started with your claim.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bay Area Bicycle Accidents?
San Francisco residents take advantage of our excellent climate and beautiful city, riding bikes for leisure as well as for transportation. Riding your bicycle is not only healthy and relaxing, but it’s excellent for helping reduce our impact on the environment. The one significant downside is the risk for accidents.
Bicycle accidents can occur due to poorly maintained roads, obstructions, flat tires, or even because bicycle riders get distracted or make mistakes. Most often, however, San Francisco bike accidents occur when others on the roadway—primarily motorists—get careless, reckless, or even negligent.
Some of the most common causes of motorist-caused bike crashes are as follows.
- Impaired driving,
- Distracted driving,
- Fatigued driving,
- Failure to yield,
- Excessive speed, and
- Improper passing.
Accidents also occur when drivers open their door into the path of oncoming cyclists (called “dooring”) or when they pull out into traffic without noticing a rider is approaching. You could be hit by a car that backs into you or doesn’t notice you before making a turn.
You could also sustain injuries in a crash that occurs due to poor traffic control signage, impaired visibility, or unmarked hazards in the road. In some cases, riders sustain serious injuries due to a manufacturing defect in their bike or some of its components.
Even if you might have contributed to a crash, you still might have a valid case for recovering compensation. Talking to a San Francisco bicycle accident attorney is the best way to determine your options for pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault party.
San Francisco Bicycle Accident Stats & Safety Considerations
Along with the high popularity of biking in and around San Francisco comes an increased risk for accidents. Not surprisingly, the entire state of California is a hotbed for bicycle-related accidents and injuries.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proves that fatal bicycle accidents in California are on the rise. Although southern California experiences a higher number of serious bicycle accidents overall than we do here in San Francisco, our rate of bicycle fatalities is significantly higher, based on the population.
You can help improve your odds for staying safe by always wearing a helmet and other safety gear. Keep your bike well-maintained and inspect it before and after every ride to look for problems. Keep a small repair kit and first-aid kit with you when you ride. Use lights and wear reflective clothing when riding at night or in less-than-perfect weather conditions. Always follow the law, stay aware, and don’t ride if you’re fatigued or if you’ve been drinking. You can see even more bike safety tips on the NHTSA website.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you simply cannot control the actions of other motorists.
What Are the Most Important California Bicycle Laws?
In San Francisco and throughout California, bicyclists must follow the common rules of the road that apply to motor vehicle drivers. Bike riders also have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Some of the most important California bicycle laws contained in the California DMV driver handbook indicate that cyclists must always do the following.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals;
- Signal all lane changes and turns;
- Yield to pedestrians;
- Use turn lanes;
- Ride with the direction of traffic; and
- Wear a helmet.
It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk. Riding at night requires using a headlight on the front of your bike along with reflectors on the back, the tires, and each pedal. You must also have a working brake on your bike at all times.
The handbook also lists several bicycle-related laws that apply to motorists. For example, drivers can pass bicycle riders only at a safe speed. Motorists cannot crowd or squeeze cyclists, nor can they pass so closely that riders get pushed off the road or into roadside obstructions. Drivers are not allowed to use designed bike lanes except to make turns, at which time they cannot enter the bike lane more than 200 feet before the turn.
Finally, motorists are required to look for bicycle riders prior to changing lanes, making turns, merging into traffic, or opening the door to their vehicle.
Unfortunately, as anyone who rides a bike in San Francisco knows, many motorists forget or ignore these directives. Drivers who fail to exercise appropriate care on the roadways can put cyclists in harm’s way. When that happens and, as a result, someone is injured, the victim may have a valid claim for pursuing compensation for their damages.
What Are the Most Common Bicycle Accident Injuries in San Francisco?
In the event of a minor accident, cyclists might get knocked over or take a tumble. In that case, the rider might be lucky enough to walk away with cuts, scrapes, or abrasions. The chance of walking away from a bike crash unscathed increases significantly if the rider was wearing a helmet and the right safety gear.
In more serious accidents, however, victims can sustain severe or life-threatening injuries. These are some of the most common types of bicycle accident injuries:
- Broken bones,
- Dislocated joints,
- Neck injuries,
- Spine injuries,
- Nerve damage,
- Internal injuries, and
- Loss of digits or limbs.
Some victims suffer long-lasting or permanent damage and scarring. Serious nerve and head injuries can leave the victim paralyzed or in a coma. In the most serious cases, victims might not survive their injuries.
What Is My San Francisco Bicycle Accident Injury Claim Value?
Every case is different, so we can’t accurately estimate the average San Francisco bicycle accident claim value. However, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
At the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart, we identify all damages that you suffered as a result of your accident and document them for your claim. This helps ensure you get the maximum compensation possible for your economic and non-economic damages. We submit a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance company and negotiate aggressively to get you the best possible settlement. If we cannot negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, we will discuss with you the possibility of filing a lawsuit and fighting for you in court. As an experienced litigator, Chuck Geerhart understands how to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. He will fight tirelessly to get you the results you deserve.
Do I Need a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyer to Handle My Case?
Legally, you are not required to hire an attorney. In some cases, it might not make sense to have a lawyer. For example, if your injuries were not serious or if the insurance company is cooperative and willing to compensate you appropriately.
Unfortunately, most personal injury accident victims aren’t familiar enough with this complex area of the law, and as a result, they may not know what their claim is actually worth. Talking to an experienced attorney is the best way to determine whether you have a viable claim and what your claim’s value might be.
Having an attorney means that you don’t have to worry about any of the details or handle any of the legal matters involved in pursuing a claim. Your attorney will handle everything on your behalf, so you can relax and focus on your recovery.
After an injury accident, you may get a call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. They will likely ask you to give them a recorded statement, and they may even want to discuss a potential settlement with you. Do not provide any statements or discuss any potential settlement offers until you talk to an attorney. The insurance company will use anything it can from your statement as a potential reason to deny your claim or to reduce your claim’s value.
The sooner you talk to an attorney after your accident, the better. You have only two years to file a lawsuit under the California statute of limitations. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that period, you could sacrifice your legal right to compensation.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney Who Gets the Job Done for You
For more than 30 years, Attorney Chuck Geerhart has fought to protect the rights of Bay Area injury accident victims. The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart has helped countless clients and recovered millions of dollars on their behalf. You can read more about the awards and settlements we have achieved for past clients to see our results.
Although your case results will vary, we believe that this impeccable track record demonstrates our commitment to your case and proves that we have what it takes to get the job done for you. In addition to our past results, you will see the proof of our commitment to justice by reading through some of our client testimonials. You can rest assured that we will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Bicycle Accident Attorney in San Francisco Today
To learn about your potential options for pursuing legal action, contact the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart today. We can consult with you by phone, video conference, or in person—at your location or at our San Francisco office. You don’t have to face this challenge alone.
Contact us online or call our office now for help from San Francisco bicycle accident attorney Chuck Geerhart.
- A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.
As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.
A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.Susan
- Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.
I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.
During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.
I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.Denise
- Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.
I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.Frank
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.