Can a driver hold a bicyclist liable for a crash?
One of the many challenges of driving in Southern California is sharing the road with bicyclists. Whether it’s a single cyclist out for a bit of exercise or a cycling club of at least a dozen people, you probably do your best to leave a comfortable distance between you and them while not veering into another vehicle.
This can be particularly difficult on some mountain and coastal roads where there are no designated bike lanes. With electric bikes (e-bikes) becoming more popular, it’s now easier for cyclists to ride in areas they may not be able to manage on a traditional bike. E-bikes can also go faster than traditional ones.
Negligent and reckless cyclists can cause catastrophic crashes
Unfortunately, even though a car vs. bike crash generally leaves the cyclist in worse shape, not all cyclists are as cautious as they should be. They can get distracted, careless and just plain reckless – just like some drivers can.
If a sudden move by a cyclist causes a driver to swerve into the next lane – particularly if the traffic in that lane is coming from the opposite direction — the results can be catastrophic to those in that car. The same is true if they end up driving into a tree or other object. A cyclist could escape physically unscathed – but not those in the vehicle.
Negligent or reckless cyclists can be held responsible financially and potentially legally for their actions. The state has laws that bicyclists must follow, and they must follow the same rules of the road as drivers. Some cities, including Carlsbad, have their own laws as well. In fact, Carlsbad was the first city in the area to enact laws for electric bikes and scooters.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed because of a cyclist’s reckless or illegal actions, you have a right to hold them liable, either through their insurance company (if their carrier covers them for bicycle accidents) or through a personal lawsuit. It’s wise to seek legal guidance to help ensure that you gather the evidence you need (including bike and helmet camera footage, if available) and get the compensation you deserve.