Last month California passed a new traffic law that aims to reduce high rates of bicycle accidents, injuries, and fatalities across the state. Under this new law – which is set to take effect on September 16, 2014 – motorists will be required to keep at least a three-foot distance away from bicycle riders as they pass them of the road.
Although the law has stirred up differing views, it is a significant step toward addressing the overwhelming dangers of auto accidents involving bicyclists. In Palmdale, Lancaster, the Antelope Valley, and communities throughout California, bicycle accidents record some of the highest rates of injuries, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities of any traffic accident. This is because bicycle riders are extremely vulnerable.
Drivers who fail to adhere to the three-foot rule when passing cyclists may face a ticket and $35 dollar fine. In situations in which a three-foot space is not possible, drivers must past bicycle riders at a "reasonable and prudent" speed. If they violate the rule and cause an accident that injures a cyclist, drivers may face enhanced penalties, including $220 in fines.
While bicyclists can play a role in reducing risks of accidents by obeying the rules of the road, it is often the case that negligent or careless drivers cause bicycle accidents when they fail to obey traffic laws or otherwise drive negligently. Given the fact that bicyclists have little protection against largest passenger carrying vehicles, injuries – bicycle accident commonly result in injuries – including catastrophic injuries – and wrongful death.
Although the three-foot rule will not officially become law until September of next year, injured bicyclists may still have a right to hold negligent motorists responsible for causing preventable accidents and injuries. If you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, our Palmdale bicycle accident attorneys can review your case to determine if you may be eligible to recover compensation.
To learn more about filing a personal injury claim and how Accident Attorneys can help, call a Palmdale personal injury lawyer at (661) 268-6275 for a free consultation.