As a San Francisco personal injury law firm, the team at The Brod Law Firm knows that it is vital for all individuals who travel on our roadways to exercise care and obey the law. We have experience as attorneys in San Francisco bicycle accidents and we know the importance of safety on two wheels as well as four. We represent bicyclists harmed by automobiles and believe in helping riders recover when they are harmed by a careless driver and helping families recover when the cyclist’s life is lost in the collision. However, a recent story in The San Francisco Chronicle reminds us that bicycle riders also have a duty to obey the law when they ride and that the failure to take care while cycling can have dire consequences.
On July 15, sixty-eight year old Dionette Cherney was crossing Mission Street. She was in the crosswalk, along with her husband, when she was struck by Randolph Ang who was riding his bicycle north on the Embarcadero. Cherney suffered head wounds and died in the hospital a few weeks later. Ang faces misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges pursuant to allegations that he ran a red light, causing the crash. Although the prosecutors do not believe Ang intended harm and have not suggested he acted with gross negligence, the district attorney’s office felt it was important to prosecute Ang for failing to obey traffic laws and to remind the community that bicyclists are not immune from legal obligation.
In California, as in most areas, bicycle riders are subject to all the rules and regulations that apply to automobile drivers. This includes the duty to obey traffic signals and the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Bicycles should be ridden in bicycle lanes where available. Otherwise, with limited exceptions involving single-direction traffic and cyclists preparing for a left turn, bicycles travelling below the speed of automobile traffic should remain toward the rightmost side of the roadway. Cyclists are required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Helmet use is mandatory for bicyclists under age 18 and strongly recommended for all riders.
There are many resources available for Californians interested in bicycling for both transportation as well as fitness. Bike Safe California (http://bikesafecalifornia.org/) is a great place to start if you are interested in learning about safe cycling. The organization provides safety information, details on classes for cyclists, and links to other resources for California bicycle riders. As always, we believe that preventing accidents is better than trying to recover after one occurs.
We have represented many individuals involved in Northern California bicycle accidents. Often, we represent a cyclist harmed by the negligence of an automobile driver who failed to show proper care for others on the road. We also recognize that bicycles themselves can cause harm when the cyclist fails to follow the law and to ride with caution. While the criminal courts can punish offenders, we act as civil attorneys for San Francisco accident victims and help them recover for their losses. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a vehicle accident, please call for a free consultation. We can help.