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California Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or elsewhere in the state of California, an Advocate can help you recover.

A Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case

When a car collides with a bicycle, the consequences are often tragic and life-altering, particularly for the bicyclist. A biker’s relative vulnerability compared to a motorist means they often suffer serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash.

If you or a loved one is dealing with the aftermath of a bicycle crash, you don’t have to do it alone. The bike accident lawyers with The Advocates are committed to helping you recover physically, emotionally, and financially.

Our experienced attorneys are standing by. Contact our San Diego office for a free consultation today.

The Next Steps In Your California Bicycle Accident Case


Immediately after your accident, check for injuries

Hire Attorney

Contact The Advocates as soon as possible to begin the road to recovery


Seek medical treatment as soon as you can

Property Damage

Get the damage on your bike assessed and repaired

Completed Treatment

Once you’ve completed treatment, your attorney will compile your medical records


Your Advocate will send a demand letter to the other party

Frequently Asked Questions

You will pay nothing out-of-pocket when you hire an Advocate.

Your initial consultation with us is always 100% free. There are never any upfront costs or hidden fees.

Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that our attorney fees are calculated as a percentage of your settlement. We don’t get paid unless we win your case and you receive a settlement.

For more information on how settlements and payment work, please see our contingency fee information page.

Not every accident requires an attorney. However, if the accident resulted in injuries or significant property damage, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process, which can be lengthy and complex.

Your attorney will build your case, keep track of your medical records, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Studies have shown that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer can receive settlements up to 3.5 times larger than if they settled on their own.

The best way to know if you have a case is to speak with an attorney. The Advocates offer free consultations—you can speak with a qualified legal team to understand what your case is worth without paying a dime. Once you have decided to hire an Advocate, we will investigate your accident to firmly establish liability.

Every personal injury case is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to accident claims. The length of the claims process will depend on the severity of your injuries, the willingness of the other party to settle, the court’s caseload, and more.

In general, personal injury cases can take anywhere from several months to a few years. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to get your case started. Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, after which you will lose your right of action.

When you hire The Advocates, we will begin investigating your accident immediately while you finish medical treatment. Once all evidence and medical records have been compiled, your attorney will send a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. At this point, negotiations will begin.

In many cases, a settlement can be reached during negotiations. If the other party refuses to make a fair offer, you may choose to file a suit. In the litigation phase, your attorney will represent you in court in front of a judge, jury, and/or arbitrator.

A Team of Legal Professionals Assigned to Your Case 

For nearly 30 years, The Advocates have helped thousands of personal injury victims receive the compensation and care they deserve after their accidents, and we are prepared to do the same for you. 

We can help you:

  • Understand the claims process
  • Access medical care
  • Investigate your accident
  • Build your case
  • Negotiate with insurance adjusters
  • Take your case to court if necessary

We only get paid if we win your case!

Talking to a Professional

Talk to a professional

California Bicycle Accident Statistics

Father rides a bicycle with his daughter on the back.

California state bicycle accident statistics  

  • In the years since 2010, bicyclist fatalities have increased by nearly 60%.
  • An average of 142 cyclists are killed in accidents in California each year, though the number of fatalities has declined each year since 2018.
  • Bicycle accident victims aged 15-34 are most likely to be injured in an accident, but those aged 45-64 are most likely to be killed.
  • Los Angeles accounts for around one-quarter of all bicycle accidents in the state each year.
  • Southern California, specifically Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, regularly account for 40-50% of all bicyclist fatalities in the state.
  • September and October are consistently the deadliest months for bicyclists in the state.
  • In the United States, bicyclists die at a rate of about 2.6 per 1 million residents, but in California, the annual rate is around 3.2 bicycle deaths per one million residents.

Bicycle helmet statistics 

  • In most fatal bicycle accidents, the most severe injuries are to the head.
  • Around 90% of bicyclists killed in accidents were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
  • More cyclists check into emergency rooms for head injuries every year than participants of any other sport.
  • According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), helmet use has been estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by 50%.
  • In recent years, only around 15% of fatally injured cyclists were known to be wearing a helmet.
bicycle helmet on a light blue background
Bicyclist gets hit on the side by a car making a right turn

Common causes of bike accidents

  • Speeding: If a motorist or bike rider is traveling too quickly for the conditions, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Distracted driving: Bicyclists are already harder to see than motor vehicles. If a driver is distracted by a cell phone, a passenger, or something else, they may fail to notice the biker and hit them. Using a handheld device while bike riding is not illegal in California, but it is still a risky action to take.
  • Impaired driving: Alcohol use is reported by either the bicycle rider or motorist in more than one-third of bike crashes.
  • Dooring: When a motorist in a parked car opens their car door, a cyclist traveling at speed may not be able to react in time to avoid hitting the door. Drivers should always check their side mirrors before opening their door when parked on the side of the road.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way: If motorists or cyclists are unfamiliar with the traffic laws in the area, they may enter intersections when it is not safe to do so, endangering those around them.

Common bicycle accident injuries 

Bicycle accident victims may face a number of injuries, ranging from scrapes and bruises to life-threatening conditions. Some of the most common injuries following a bike accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
  • Neck, back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Face injuries and broken teeth
  • Broken bones
  • Road rash
  • Ligament tears or strains
Female Patient Being Reassured By Doctor In Hospital Room

California Bicycle Laws

Road cyclist takes a turn

Does a bicyclist have to use the shoulder of the road in California?

According to California Vehicle Code Section 21202, a bicyclist who is moving slower than the flow of traffic should ride as close as is practicable to the right side of the road. If a bike lane is present, they must ride in the bike lane. This does not necessarily mean they must always ride on the shoulder, as it may not always be practical or safe to do so.

If there is a hazard on the ride side of the road or in the bike lane, such as a parked car or a pedestrian, the cyclist may move away from the right side. 

A cyclist may also move away from the right side of the road or bike lane if they are preparing to make a left turn.

If no bike lane is present and the regular lane is not wide enough for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side within the lane, the biker may “take the lane.”

If the bicyclist is moving at the same speed as vehicular traffic, they may use the full lane.

Can I ride a bicycle on the sidewalk?

Cities and towns set their own laws regarding riding on the sidewalk in California. Some cities prohibit the practice entirely, while others allow it except for in certain districts. College campuses may also have their own rules about sidewalk riding.

You should always check local laws and ordinances in any area you plan to ride before setting out. Motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists in the area will be expecting you to follow the law—if you do not, you may take them by surprise and an accident may occur.

Delivery bicyclist rides on the sidewalk in a city
Stop sign with blue skies in the background

Do bicyclists have to obey stop lights and stop signs?

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles when traveling on roadways. This includes obeying traffic signs and signals, yielding to pedestrians within crosswalks, and sticking to posted speed limits.

Follow bicycle safety practices like wearing a helmet, keeping one hand on the handlebars, and riding in a predictable manner.

What are the four types of bikeways in California?

California identifies four classifications of bikeways. Each provides a different level of protection and responsibility for bikers.

  • Class I bikeways: Bike paths and shared-use paths are considered Class I bikeways. Motor vehicles are not allowed, but bicyclists must be aware of pedestrians and other human-powered vehicles like scooters and wheelchairs.
  • Class II bikeways: These bikeways share the roadway with motor vehicles. Bike lanes fall into this category.
  • Class III bikeways: These are roads shared between bicycles and motor vehicles. These roads provide certain protections for bicyclists, such as lower speed limits for motor vehicles.
  • Class IV bikeways: These bikeways share the road with motor vehicles, but they are separated from the actual roadway by barriers.
A group of bicyclist ride down a road in the desert.
Man riding bicycle signals a left turn on a city street.

What responsibilities do motorists owe cyclists on the road?

Motorists should treat bicyclists just as they treat other motor vehicles. Drivers should avoid passing or following bicycles too closely and should yield the right-of-way when appropriate. They should allow bikers full use of a lane when needed. 

Additionally, drivers of motor vehicles should always assume bicyclists could be in the area—always look twice before changing lanes or turning.

What reflectors and lights have to be on a bicycle in California?

The following lights and reflectors are required on any cycle riding on California roadways when it is dark outside:

  • A white light attached to the front of the bike
  • A red reflector or light visible from the rear
  • A white or yellow reflector on each pedal or each of the cyclist’s shoes
  • A white or yellow reflector on each side of the front of the bike (reflectorized tires count)
  • A red or white reflector on each side of the back of the bike (reflectorized tires count)
Bicycle reflector on a white background
final notice of a medical bill

What damages can I seek in a bicycle accident claim?

Every personal injury claim is different, so there is no way to know exactly what damages you can seek without speaking to an attorney. Some of the most commonly sought damages in personal injury cases include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages, including loss of future earnings
  • Bicycle repairs
  • Physical and emotional distress
  • Funeral expenses (in the case of the wrongful death of a loved one)

A personal injury attorney can help you understand what your case is worth. Contact The Advocates for a free consultation.

What should I do after a bicycle accident in California?

The aftermath of an accident is an incredibly stressful time. It’s easy to panic, but do your best to remain calm. Everything you say and do after your accident can either help or harm your potential accident case.

Take the following actions to protect yourself after a bike crash:

  • Move out of traffic if possible.
  • Check for injuries and call 911 if anyone is seriously hurt.
  • File a police report.
  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information with the driver.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you do not believe you are hurt.
  • Keep track of your medical records and experiences after the accident.
  • Consider contacting a bike accident attorney.
Lawyer and client discuss a lawsuit

Why Should I Hire a California Bicycle Accident Attorney?

If you were in an accident with a negligent driver, you will need to compile evidence, file a claim, and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company in order to get a settlement. If the insurance company refuses to settle, you may need to take your case to court. You must do all of this within two years—the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California.

Two years may feel like a long time, but you may be surprised by the length and complexity of the claims process. Some cases take months or years to settle. After the statute of limitations expires, you will lose your right to recover any damages.

A personal injury lawyer with The Advocates can help. Our experienced attorneys will build your bicycle accident case, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. We’ll take on the stressful parts of the legal process so you can focus on feeling better.

With an Advocate on your side, you and your family can rest easy knowing that your best interests are being put first. We will provide personalized care based on your unique needs. Your Advocate can help you understand your medical bills or find a local repair shop for your bike. We are available 24/7 throughout the entirety of your case.

Contact The Advocates personal injury law firm for a free case evaluation. You deserve legal representation and personal care tailored to your individual circumstances. You deserve an Advocate.


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