In California, drivers must legally ensure there is at least a three-foot buffer between their vehicle and someone on a bicycle when passing the bike. Drivers, however, do not always provide this much space and can come dangerously close to the cyclist when passing by. One study actually found that drivers tend to keep their vehicles closer to cyclists wearing helmets and other protective gear. The presence of such gear can subconsciously make a driver feel the bicyclist is somehow safer than he or she really is in the presence of a heavy, fast-moving vehicle!
Driver’s Duty to Leave Enough Space for Bicyclist
When a driver in California cannot give this much space, he or she must slow down to a reasonable speed and only pass when it is safe to do so for the cyclist. Any failure to follow these traffic laws certainly makes the driver negligent and can make him or her liable for the damages of a bicyclist suffers in an accident. It is important for bike riders to remember, however, that bicycles are considered a vehicle in California, so cyclists must follow all the same traffic safety laws as motorists.
Driver’s Duty to Use Reasonable Care
Drivers frequently underestimate just how fast a bicycle is traveling on a street. When this happens, it is common for a car or truck to cut off a cyclist, which can result in a collision or an accident as the cyclist swerves to avoid the turning vehicle. Drivers might not check their side mirrors when getting out after parking on a street. This can lead to the door being opened directly into a bicyclist or immediately in front of the bike’s path, resulting in serious injury.
If a driver’s negligence resulted in you or a loved one being seriously injured, he or she may be liable for your pain and suffering. Call NordstrandBlack PC today at (805) 962-2022 to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.